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WBM Archives: Climatologists Say Cabernet's Days as King in Napa are Numbered

August 19, 2019

For those who do not wish to relocate or cannot, there are alternatives: Changing varieties or proportions of blends is less expensive than changing location. There is a wide range of heat tolerance between grape varieties. In the case of a Bordeaux style blend, this may involve lowering or eliminating less heat-tolerant Merlot and increasing portions of Malbec and Petite Verdot. Rhône blends can shift to more heat-tolerant Grenache from Syrah-based blends. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay usually made as single varieties do not offer the same flexibility. ... Unfortunately, most "International" varieties are in the range of cold- to warm-tolerant. They will not be a big part of longer-term solutions. Varieties found in southern Italy, Greece and Spain are candidates for planting in warming terroirs. These varieties have longer phenological cycles and the ability to retain acidity and color in hot conditions. ... but there will be existing growing areas that become so hot that they will be outside of the range of winegrowing entirely ...