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Change in the climate conditions of the viticulture in Spain

The impact of climate on grapevine phenology, composition, production and quality is commonly described in terms of air temperature and precipitation. On the Spanish Iberian Peninsula (the region of interest in the present study), there currently exit 89 wine production areas. 67 of them pertain to the “Denomination of Origin”, 2 to “Denomination of Origin Qualified”, 6 are quality wines with geographical indication and 14 are “Wine Appellation”, i.e. strictly follow the EU directives for production, enological practices and quality control. Due to its climatic conditions, soil characteristics, variety in topographic locations as well as the planted grape cultivar, Spain is one of the world's most suitable regions for wine production.

The aim of the present study is to describe the present and expected future climate conditions relevant for the viticulture in Spain: The following working steps are conducted. Firstly, high-resolution 31-year climatological maps for 3 commonly used viticultural zoning indices are generated which cover the whole Spanish Iberian Peninsula. For this specific region, we used a high resolution dataset for daily precipitation and temperature (Spain02). This database is provided on a regular 0.2º grid , spanning the time period 1950 to 2007, and was provided by the Santander Meteorology Group (http://www.meteo.unican.es/en/datasets/spain02). The 3 bioclimatic indices applied here for the purpose of viticultural zoning are the Winkler index (WI), the Huglin index (HI) and the hydrothermic index of Branas, Bernon and Levadoux (BBLI), which, among others, have been frequently applied in previous studies. Secondly, a set of four regional climate models (RCM) from the ENSEMBLES project (http://www.ensembles-eu.org/ ) is used to generate climate change projections for the 3 mentioned viticultural indices until the end of the 21st century. The models considered were BCM-RCA, ECHAM5-RCA, ECHAM5- REMO and HADCM3-RCA at a resolution of 25 km for the A1B scenario. Current conditions were analyzed for the period 1961–1991 and future conditions for the period 2061–2091. With the data obtained from the four models, the Winkler, Huglin and BBL indices and their trends for the period 1961–2091 were calculated.