How young vineyards can survive climate change

It is anticipated that wine grape production like most agricultural activities will be affected by rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, higher average temperatures and decreased rainfall. According to Dr Hanlé Theron, winegrowers can reduce the effects of climate change by:

  • Preparing vineyard soils as deeply as possible. In this way, plant roots can penetrate as deeply into the subsoils in search of moisture. It will help to buffer vineyards in times of drought.
  • Adapting irrigation practices to promote deeper and wider root growth and denser root distribution in young vines. This can be done by scheduling irrigation cycles further apart and then using greater volumes of water per irrigation.
  • Re-evaluating cultivation practices, especially in young vineyards. It would, for example, be better if cover crops did not unnecessarily compete with growing vines for water and nutrients.

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