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Climate change could be good news for UK wine industry

While residents of coastal communities and Pacific island nations worry over how rising seas could change their lives, others are trying to find the bright side of climate change – like the UK wine industry.

If weather patterns in England, Wales and Scotland change as climate scientists are predicting, it could soon be prime real estate for vintners looking to grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

A new study by University College London and Laithwaite’s Wine found that rising temperatures and increased rainfall, which climatologists are suggesting could be in the UK’s future if climate change isn’t curbed. In that case Britain becomes wine country.

The researchers looked at climate models through 2100, as well as the ideal growing conditions for a number of grape varietals. These models suggest temperatures will rise by 2.2º C and rainfall could increase up to 5.6% by 2100.

According to the researchers, this would provide excellent growing conditions for Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Malbec, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Merlot in various locations throughout the UK. There would still need to be studies of soil quality and other variables, the researchers admitted.

England’s wine industry is already growing quickly, with the number of vineyards doubling over the past 10 years.

It’s not just new possibilities in the UK wine industry – a study earlier this year found the effects of climate change appeared to be improving French wine.

The research is a silver lining for a climate change future that has looked stormy for the UK. Computer models have predicted a wet future for the country, with more winter rain, more intense downpours, and a loss of coastline due to sea levels rising. Hotter, drier summers may also become the norm, if climatologists’ predictions play out.

The researchers shared their findings through Laithwaite’s blog and with a number of news outlets.

By Olivia Harvey, Staff Writer

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