Collapse in wine production was to be expected

This is what happens during Grand Solar Minimums

Collapse in wine production was to be expected

By. J.H. Walker

Grape vines are incredibly intolerant of harsh spring frosts during the budding season. Without buds, no flowers, and then no grapes.

Major cooling events, such as those which accompany a Grand Solar Minimum can be seen throughout history.

For example, prior to the Late Antique Little Ice Age, 585-640AD and after 50AD, it was sufficiently warm to grow grapes and harvest on south facing slopes in the English Roman province.

Equally, during the Medieval Warm period between the Oort Grand Solar Minimum (GSM) and the Wolf GSM, the grape was able to be cultivated in the central midlands of Scotland.

During the Little Ice Age period covering the GSMs from Wolf to Dalton, English grape cultivation on a commercial basis retreated to the South East Coast of England.

During the recent modern warm period English grape cultivation has been re-established as far North as Birmingham in the English Midlands, again on South-facing slopes.

With the effects of the modern Grand Solar Minimum only just starting, and with 30 to 70 years of climate effects to experience, the English grape industry may well once again shrink back to the English South East coast, with significant losses to commercial investors.


Editor’s note:

The Late Antique Little Ice Age (LALIA) was a long-lasting Northern Hemisphere cooling period lasting from 536 to about 660 AD.[1] This period followed three immense volcanic eruptions in 536, 540 and 547.

Late Antique Little Ice Age linked to the plague and fall of empires

“In AD 536, the first of three massive volcanic eruptions ushered in a mini ice age,” writes Penny Sarchet in New Scientist. “It coincided with an epidemic of the plague, the decline of the eastern Roman Empire, and sweeping upheavals across Eurasia.”

“It wasn’t just the Romans who suffered,” says Sarchet. “The eastern Türk empire around modern-day Mongolia and the Northern Wei and Sui dynasties in China also fell during this time.”

9 thoughts on “Collapse in wine production was to be expected”

  1. Our normally productive grapevines were frosted in the spring and produced precisely one handful of small grapes! This is in North Central Victoria in Australia.

  2. in the last few years a whole lot of aussie winemakers bought land in Tasmania many sold up their mainland sites and moved entirely i gather from reports some time ago
    they were all suckered by flimflannery and the when tassies summers drop to way below the avg 23c or so and crops get mildewed and cannot ripen i wonder who they will be looking for to hang draw n quarter?
    recent scandals in aussie banking world/superannuation areas- and people taking legal action for bad advice..
    roll on lawsuits for bad climate advice:-) !! endangering life and income, just for starters

    • Just saw a newsflash on Aljazeera TV: “Australian government pledges $379 million to help save the Great Barrier Reef.” Researchers on the GBR will make a killing again! Research warrants are a lucrative industry.

  3. “Late Antique Little Ice Age linked to the plague and fall of empires”

    This sounds about right given what I have learned from documentaries on the period. Past is prologue as they say in the JFK movie. Famine, plague, war, social and political upheaval and depopulation is in our future. In this there is danger and opportunity. It is a crappy deal but it is coming like it or not.

  4. is not drinking wine a problem? here in west-EU it is as cold as it was in my childhood now and then. so nothing exceptional.

    • The point I was making is the UK is marginal at the best of times for wine growing to due to its cold wet climate, even in a stunted Warm Period like the one just finished in 2008 and the 10 year pause which followed the start of SC24.
      The other point I also making was, the climate line for plant species, particularly frost tender vines, the Vine “tree line” is moving south again.
      Already, NA vintners are replanting with more hardy stocks, particularly in favoured south facing warm locations. But many will pay the price as the GSM cooling gathers pace and be forced out of business.
      The continent has always enjoyed cold winters and warm summers; this is replicated to an extent in the UK South East regional micro climate and improves the further east away from the Atlantic South Westerlies you move.
      I’m not sure of your age but following the cool cycle during the seventies which contain a few warm SAW events, particular 1976, this period may account for you childhood memories. Equally other warm SAW events have taken place particularly during the minimum period between cycles.
      Drinking wine is not a problem to me, it goes down very well!


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