Wine & Climate Change – Paige’s Documentary Film-in-Progress

These questions were submitted by reader Sara Coppola to Paige Donner, Writer-Director of the documentary work-in-progress, Wine And Climate Change:

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Q: Sara Coppola: Paige, you’re embarking on a new important and insightful project, Wine And Climate Change, the documentary film:  

 It’s a project that stems from your great interest and involvement in environmental causes and your previous research on issues concerning global agricultural security.
When did you first start to get involved with environmental projects and how?

A: Paige Donner: My enthusiasm for protecting the environment stems from having grown up on a Pacific Island and in California, alternatively. Continue reading

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Panda Bears Climate Change, Wine And Conservation

by Paige Donner

What do panda bears and wine have to do one another? Now that’s a question I never imagined I’d be posing here on myLocal Food And Wine blog. But, according to the recently released (April 8th, 2013) study from the Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences (Lee Hannah, lead scientist) panda bears will be one more species that is affected by adaptations humans will likely undertake in response to global climate change impacting wine-producing regions.

Let me explain…

Local Food And Wine climate change and wine and conservation giant-panda-cub-china4

In the PNAS.org study of 4/8/’13, Wine, Climate Change and Conservation, several scenarios are outlined as to how our current trajectory of global warming i.e. climate change is impacting the earth’s wine regions by 2050. In one scenario they state that the,

Area suitable for viticulture decreases 25% to 73% in major wine producing regions by 2050.

Alarming? They seem to think so. The 6-page report further reports that the areas most affected will be wine regions in a Mediterranean or Mediterranean-like climate zone. That means parts of southern Europe, Australia, parts of Chile and Northern California. The study does state that the areas that will suffer least, at least by 2050, will be higher elevation zones, coastal zones, and more Northern latitude areas – areas like New Zealand, Northern Europe and Canada’s British Columbia.

OK… so what about the Panda Bears?

This PNAS report includes discussion of how adaptation can mitigate some of these climate change effects on wine regions. Adaptation can take the form of tailored viticultural practices, adaptive irrigation techniques, and also planting at higher elevations to name a few.

Wine and Climate Change raisin-vigne-climat_Laures

In China, where viticulture and the planting of vineyards are firmly in a development phase, this could mean rapid adaptation so as to anticipate regional climate change. In plain English what this means is that some of the areas that are most suitable for high-quality wine grape cultivation in China are the same areas that are the natural habitat for giant panda bears.

… China is not known for its European-style wines, but it
is among the fastest growing wine-producing regions in the
world. It has significant areas suitable for viticulture (Fig. 1), and these areas are in the same mountains that are habitat for the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Future conservation efforts for the giant panda need to incorporate consideration of viticulture as a potential land use and viticultural suitability trends in response to climate change. – PNAS.org April 8, ’13 Hannah

It seems that we may be seeing pictures of Panda Bears popping up everywhere in the coming decades as the new poster child of climate change, just as we’ve seen polar bears and melting ice caps in the past decade.

For more information about this topic go to PNAS.org or take a look at this short (3′) doc film preview. You can also LIKE Facebook.com/wineandclimatechange.

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Sirius XM Satellite’s Green Is Good Radio Features Paige Donner, Founder Local Food And Wine


Paige Donner, journalist, blogger, eco-activist, actor/filmmaker and more, returns to the show from Paris to discuss her passion for local food and wine. Donner became more interested in the marriage of regional wines and local food when she was in British Columbia to cover the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Three and a half years later, her Local Food and Wine media platform and blog has spanned the globe, covering the world’s great winemaking and local food producing regions. As her knowledge of the globe’s wine regions grew, so too did her concern for how climate change could potentially impact viticultural areas.

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Paige Donner

Filmmaker & Founder, Local Food And Wine

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“Wine grapes have long been recognized by scientists as being the most sensitive agricultural crop in terms of climate change,” Donner reveals. “What you see happening in wine regions [could preview] what is coming down the pike for other agricultural regions.”

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