Projections of Climate Suitability for Wine Production for the Cotnari Wine Region (Romania)

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Climate projections have revealed the perspective of changing the climate of the world's wine regions in the coming decades by diversifying heliothermal resources. Research in the Cotnari winegrowing region over the past decade has shown that the local climate has been affected by such developments especially after 1980. This research continues the series of studies on the climate of the Cotnari winegrowing region through projections of the climatic conditions for the 2020-2100 time period based on the RCP 4.5 scenario. Average annual temperature, warmest month temperature, precipitation during the growing season, length of the growing season and the Huglin, IAOe and AvGST bioclimatic indices for the 2020-2050, 2051-2080 and 2081-2100 time periods indicate the evolution of Cotnari area climate towards suitability for red wines and loss of suitability for the white wines. Climatic suitability classes for wine production, shift between 2020-2100 to the higher, cooler zone of the winegrowing region, narrowing down their surface and disappearing successively at the maximum altitude of 315 m asl. They are further replaced from the lower zone by classes specific to warmer climates. The suitability for white wines, specific to wine region, disappears at the maximum altitude of 315 m asl around 2060, being replaced by climate suitability for the red wine production. The average temperature of the growing season will exceed 19.5°C after 2080, becoming unsuitable for the production of red quality wines of Cabernet Sauvingnon variety. After 2050, in the lower zone of the winegrowing region the warm IH5 class, suitable for Mediterranean varieties such as Carignan and Grenache will install, as compared to temperate IH3 class which characterizes today the lower zone and allows the production of white wines of the local Feteasca albă, Grasa de Cotnari, Frâncușa and Tămâioasa românească varieties. The results suggest the need to develop strategies for adapting the viticulture of the Cotnari area to climate change.

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