Climate Change transforming British wine

The average temperature in Sussex is a degree warmer than it was for most of the 20th century, with practical implications for the region’s vineyards.

However, anyone who thinks that climate change will provide a simple good news story for English wine-lovers may be deluding themselves. In England, depending on what happens to the gulf stream and other variables, it might become hotter, wetter or, perhaps, even colder. All that climate change really promises is chaos and instability, which are not conditions that are beneficial for grapes or any other crop.

Until relatively recently, the English wine industry tended to rely on high-yield, cold climate Germanic vines with names like tractor manufacturers: Huxelrebe and Dornfelder among others.

Although these are still present in many vineyards, many  Sussex vignerons are now planting the classic “champagne” grapes: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. The sparkling wines produced with those varieties by local producers, such as Nyetimber andRidgeview, among others, have regularly beaten champagne in international competitions and blind tastings. “The temperatures in this area are now pretty much where champagne’s were in the 1980s,” says Mark Driver. “And they made some pretty good champagne in the 70s and 80s.”

Find out more about how Sussex wine growers are already adapting to a shifting climate.

This post was written by:

- who has written 872 posts on My Climate Change Garden.

I am not an experienced gardener - more of an enthusiastic amateur who learns by trial and error and who is keen to "manage" the effects of shifting weather patterns on my garden. Writing this blog is my passion and it has evolved over 12 years to inspire engagement with climate change outside our back doors, in our personal gardens and green spaces. My mission is to fertilise and expand this platform to grow a community of global gardeners communicating about the effects of climate change on our plants and exploring how each individual can make small changes in our lives to become more sustainable. The future of our gardens and #OurPlanet is in our hands - please plant your own seeds for our collective sustainable future.

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Tania thorn Says:

    Thanks for your more sophisticated take on the impact of climate change. Unfortunately too many Brits seem to think that it means hotter summers (yippee!) and don’t appreciate the complexities of climate and the fact that it is hard to predict with confidence both what the impact of climate change may be in future and when these changes will occur. There are some interesting (and alarming) predictions on the Met Office site that suggest 2c or more in the uk in the 2020s. They also seem to predicting greater rainfall both in winter AND in summer. Last time I looked, the 2020s were 4 years away. Given the chaos that our current 0.8c of warming has caused, I think that you are entirely correct to scotch any simplistic ideas of a bit more sun and less snow…although I wish it was that simple.