Saving Wine Grapes: How The International Wineries For Climate Action Are Working To Decarbonize The Global Wine Industry – Forbes

December 29, 2021 by No Comments

Increasing Number of Wildfires One Aspect of Global Warming

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A recent 60 Minutes episode, entitled “Weather and Wine,” portrayed the vast devastation that global warming wrought on vineyards in Europe during the 2021 vintage. With extreme heat, flooding, and killer frosts, an estimated $2 billion dollars in wine sales were lost due to damaged wine grapes. In California, massive wildfires in August 2020 prevented many wineries from harvesting the highly valuable cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir grapes of Napa and Sonoma, because they were tainted with smoke. While one answer is to try to adapt to global warming by planting more heat resilient grape varieties, or moving vineyards further north, there is another group of wineries that are trying to fight global warming by decarbonizing the wine industry. Launched in 2019, the International Wineries for Climate Action (IWCA), include some of the world’s most powerful wine corporations, and have developed a very clear process of how they plan to have zero carbon emissions by 2050.

IWCA was founded by wine giants, Jackson Family Wines (owner of 40 wine brands, including Kendall-Jackson, La Crema, and Verite) and Familia Torres (Spain’s largest high quality ‘DO’ wine producer, exporting to 140 countries). Both family-owned wineries, they had started progressive sustainability programs years ago, but realized that they needed collective action from wineries around the world in order to reduce the growing devastation.

“The wine industry is like the canary in the coal mine,” says Dr. Greg Jones, renown climatologist with a specialty in viticulture, “because as an agriculture crop, wine grapes are very susceptible to climate changes.” In other words, loss of wine grapes is an early warning system of the devastation that could come if action is not taken to combat rising temperatures and extreme weather patterns. Other agriculture crops could also be negatively impacted by global warming, and some already are.

Extreme Frost in the Vineyard Another Aspect of Global Warming

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How IWCA Members Plan to Decarbonize Wine

In just a short time, IWCA has developed a membership roster of 25 member wineries from 7 countries. Interestingly, a good number of these wineries are also certified B Corps. As part of their communications platform, Jackson Family Wines has sponsored a 5-part series of YouTube webinars entitled ‘Rooted for Good,’ to explain best practices that wineries are taking to combat climate change. Moderated by wine writer and educator, Elaine Chukan Brown, the series also includes global experts on climate change.

One such expert is Dr. Kimberly Nicholas, Professor of …….



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