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Winebits 248: Climate change, grape supply, and grape supply

So long, Napa: W. Blake Gray interviews perhaps the world’s leading wine and climate change expert, who predicts that California’s premier grape growing region could no longer be that by 2050. Gregory Jones of Southern Oregon University told Gray that if if global warming projections are accurate, Napa will be too hot to grow fine wine grapes. Wrote Gray: “[Jones’] says only in the U.S. does he face resistance to the concept of climate change, although he said in many cases wineries deny global warming publicly while admitting their concerns to him privately.”

Yet another bumper harvest: The 2012 California wine grape crop could reach 3.7 million tons, the second-largest ever, according to an estimate from a growers’ group. So much for that grape shortage, eh? That would be a 10 percent increase over 2011 and 13 percent over 2010. If true, and given the near-record number of imported grapes coming into the U.S., wine prices should remain flat again next year.

So long, China: Remember how the Chinese were driving fine wine prices through the roof? Remember how all the top wine producers and the Winestream Media were falling all over themselves to cater to the Chinese? That’s just so 2010. Reuters reports that the biggest Chinese political scandal in decades, which has roiled the country and even threatened to delay a planned change of government, has knocked the top off the Chinese wine boom. Hong Kong Bordeaux wine sales, where many wealthy and apparently corrupt Chinese, buy their wine, are down 25 percent in value and 6 percent in volume.

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