Sunday, May 20, 2018 at 1:28PM
Linda Johnson-Bell

In much the same way that climatologists follow the grapevine because of its sensitivity to climate changes, I consider wine to be the “Organoleptic Oracle”. I am certain that viticulture is the perfect “poster child” for transitioning other crops, both luxury and staple, to embrace and transition to dry farming. If it can work in this sector, the methods could be super-imposed and adapted to others. The more I research, the more I am learning that there is almost no crop that cannot be sustained with a minimum winter rainfall and under desert-farming conditions – the issue is always the need for obtaining higher yields than this will allow. Still, I think that the wine sector is a good place to start because wine is a known and “safe” industry to all international stakeholders. It’s a “famous” product. There also exists valuable historic climate data recorded by winemakers and a strong, coherent network between the players (producers, shippers, retailers, etc.), not to mention all of the international marketing and media and communication structures that are already in place. Grape farmers already have experience in adaptation techniques for long-term resilience and on the whole, the industry has a strong sustainability mind set. The wine industry is also investment-friendly, possessing the magic trilogy of economic viability, technical possibility and political acceptability. It is an industry with a very long value-chain, which means that it offers more opportunities for adaptation products. And most importantly, it is a highly-visible, consumer market: wine producers must be seen to be taking action for reasons of brand protection. All of these factors make the wine industry a natural leader in the global struggle against climate change.

Article originally appeared on The Wine Lady & The Wine and Climate Change Institute (
See website for complete article licensing information.