World wine travel map of 2050

Could this Burgundy chateau and vineyard become a thing of the past?
Could this Burgundy chateau and vineyard be a thing of the past?

Warning to wine trail travellers: Say bye bye to Napa Valley and hello to Chateau Russia and more of southern New Zealand because that’s where the wine regions of the world are forecast to shift to. The latest climate change data predicts the production of traditional vineyards will fall by up to two-thirds and by 2050 the following regions will be in major decline:

  • Tuscany in Italy – will decline by 85%
  • Napa Valley in California – 70%
  • Rhône and Bordeaux regions of France – 85%
  • Most of Australia – 74%
  • Parts of Chile – 40%
  • The Cape region of South Africa – 55%

I know it all sounds like a weird future disaster movie, but a few years ago the effects of climate change seemed a bit far fetched as well. The new findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America,  and published worldwide today, predict growers will look for cooler, higher ground:

World wine travel map of 2050

  • More of New Zealand – its suitable area will more than double
  • The mountains of China
  • Northern Europe stretching from Brittany to northern Germany
  • The Netherlands
  • Parts of Russia
  • and parts of the UK.

It’s the first-ever worldwide analysis of climate change’s impact on wine production and conservation. In short, the wine map of the world is being redrawn, and if you’re a wine trail traveller or have any intention of exploring the current great wine regions of our world, don’t leave it too long.

Grapevines at Amisfield Winery

Here’s what media report:

Josh Richman for the Mercury News: According to the study, the greatest area of increasing wine production suitability is in the Rocky Mountains near the Canadian-US border, putting at risk species such as the grizzly bear, grey wolf and pronghorn.

Suzanne Goldberg for The Guardian: The industry is already scoping out potential new territory such as Tasmania (in southern Australia). The findings could lead wine growers to strike out for wilderness areas around Yellowstone Park… Some newly identified wine growing regions of the future are wilderness areas such as that around Yellowstone Park in the US, where there are already clashes between ranchers and wolves. In China, the suitable wine growing regions of the future lie squarely in the hill habitat of the endangered giant panda. With pressure on water supply already a major concern in parts of Australia, this country is also expected to witness a decline in suitable vineyard area, while an increased number of regions area expected to open up in New Zealand.

World wine demand and supply:

Bloomberg: “Global wine production dropped 6 per cent to 250.9 million hectoliters  in 2012, the lowest level in at least 37 years. The world faces a wine shortage of at least 10 million hectoliters, the equivalent of 1.3 billion bottles.”

Cycling through Provence
Vineyards of southern France could be a fraction of their glorious selves

Just found this wine cruise deal (suddenly seems like an urgent mission): A wine-themed cruise along the North American west coast with an 11-night fly, stay and cruise. The package departs September 12 and features a 9-night voyage aboard Celebrity Cruises’ 5-star ship Celebrity Millennium from Vancouver visiting Victoria, Nanaimo, Seattle, San Francisco, Monterey and San Diego. Each stop features an optional excursion to a winery. Will this still be running in 2050, I wonder.

Or has tours which include French, Italian and Spanish vineyards. You may like my post about the southern region of New Zealand where wine production will increase: Happy as a cheese roll in Otago

On that sobering note I’m off to have a glass of Rhône Valley red wine, and I will doubly appreciate it. Gulp.

*Additional images courtesy of TravMedia

5 thoughts on “World wine travel map of 2050

  1. Only one of the most depressing travel stories. Ever. Just the thought of all those countries gutted of the cultures and traditions of centuries is bad enough. New Zealand and Russia must be cheerful though. Climate change – we did this


  2. Yes, Peter, we are to blame, indirectly or directly we are all responsible. I haven’t even touched on the other aspects of the shift – it will have a corrosive impact on communities and economies.And of course the impact on cultures and traditions will be huge.


  3. Travel as we know it will be entirely changed in less than 50 years? Destinations we want to visit will be in a state of deterioration because of the earthy’s warming, low-lying islands will be in danger of being swamped by rising sea levels. I had never thought about what would happen to the beautiful wine-growing regions of the world. I understand why people put their heads in the sand and don’t want to deal with this. But it’s too awful not to. Climate change deniers live in a little blind bubble. I kinda envy them on some stupid level.


    1. The whole world of travel will be dramatically different in just under 40 years, it seems, Wendy. The whole world will be different.


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