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Climate Change Decouples Drought from Early Wine Grape Harvests in FranceAcross the world, wine grape phenology has advanced in recent decades, in step with climate-change-induced trends in temperature - the main driver of fruit maturation - and drought. Fully understanding how climate change contributes to changes in harvest dates, however, requires analysing wine grape phenology and its relationship to climate over a longer-term context, including data predating anthropogenic interference in the climate system. Here, we investigate the climatic controls of wine grape harvest dates from 1600-2007 in France and Switzerland using historical harvest and climate data. Early harvests occur with warmer temperatures (minus 6 days per degree Centigrade) and are delayed by wet conditions (plus 0.07 days per millimeter; plus 1.68 days per PDSI (Palmer drought severity index)) during spring and summer. In recent decades (1981-2007), however, the relationship between harvest timing and drought has broken down. Historically, high summer temperatures in Western Europe, which would hasten fruit maturation, required drought conditions to generate extreme heat. The relationship between drought and temperature in this region, however, has weakened in recent decades and enhanced warming from anthropogenic greenhouse gases can generate the high temperatures needed for early harvests without drought. Our results suggest that climate change has fundamentally altered the climatic drivers of early wine grape harvests in France, with possible ramifications for viticulture management and wine quality.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Cook, Benjamin I. (NASA Goddard Inst. for Space Studies New York, NY, United States)
Wolkovich, Elizabeth M. (Arnold Arboretum Boston, MA, United States)
Date Acquired
June 7, 2017
Publication Date
March 21, 2016
Publication Information
Publication: Nature Climate Change
Volume: 6
Issue: 7
ISSN: 1758-678X
Subject Category
Meteorology and Climatology
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits