Source: Tagesschau - MITTENDRIN - viticulture and climate change

Status: 09/22/2022 4:30 p.m

Long periods of drought, extreme heat and heavy rainfall: climate change and its consequences pose major challenges for winegrowers in the Rheingau. Traditional grape varieties in particular are suffering from the extreme weather.

By Jakob Schaumann, HR

Excerpt from the article ….

Save Riesling from extinction

Since 2014, the Geisenheim University of Applied Sciences has been researching what the future of viticulture could look like with a project that is unique in the world. With the FACE experiment, the researchers venture a glimpse into the atmospheric future. The expected CO2 concentration of 2050 is simulated by the targeted addition of around 20 percent carbon dioxide.

Two varieties are examined: the Cabernet Sauvignon, which is more familiar from warmer climes, and the Riesling, which is typical of the Rheingau. "Of course we are interested in how the wine will be in 2050, but above all: How will the plant react?" says Hans Reiner Schultz, President of the university. It is about the water consumption and the structure of the fruit, because the more compact a fruit is, the more susceptible it is to rot.

It is already apparent today that this could become a problem for Riesling. The increased CO2 concentration leads to increased photosynthesis and stronger berry growth; this makes the Riesling vines more compact and therefore more susceptible to mold growth. To ensure that the Riesling does not die out in the Rheingau, the University breeds Riesling vines that can cope better with climate change and have looser berry growth overall.

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