Viticulture and Adaptation to Climate Change


The aim of this article is to lay out a series of issues of current concern to researchers in the social sciences, regarding the impact of climate change on the vine and wine sector. The challenge lies in evaluating the cost of transition from one system to another through an integration of the direct and indirect effects of climate change. This adaptation, whether reactive or anticipatory, combines technical and organisational innovations with localisation strategies and institutional changes. Such actions could either try to maintain the existing situation as much as possible or could try to bifurcate towards deep changes, entailing very different costs. Given the multitude of uncertainties at play, not to mention the necessity for continuous adaptation to an ever-changing climate, these costs are hard to quantify. This article will illustrate two sets of measures for wine cultivation adaptation: ‘no regrets’ measures, which offer immediate benefits, and ‘reversible and flexible’ measures, which limit the inertia of wine-cultivating systems. In spite of the challenges, what stands out is the evident re-enforcement resulting from the collaboration between researchers and political and economic actors. In the field of wine cultivation, these collaborations can follow two paths: the study of the diversity of existing wine-growing systems and genetic resources or the possibility of more radical technological and social experimentation.

Journal International des Sciences de la Vigne et du Vin