Listen: How is climate change affecting Australian wine?

Wine vintages in Australia and internationally are maturing earlier, at around one day per year over the last 25 years.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne and around the world have documented this “compression” of wine vintages, says Professor Snow Barlow of the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences.

“But the big question that we haven’t addressed, and it hasn’t been addressed in the literature yet, is ‘What’s happening to the wine?’” he says.

“What do the wines look like? Is the quality the same, or better? Is the style evolving?”

On Monday 13 May, Professor Barlow moderated a panel of wine industry leaders to answer these questions and explore how the Australian industry is adapting to the challenges of climate change.

You can listen below or explore this and other public lectures hosted by the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences on SoundCloud.

The panel consisted of:

  • Professor Snow Barlow, a viticulturist and eminent plant scientist specialising in the physiology of plant responses to environmental cues and stresses
  • Louisa Rose, Chief Winemaker for Yalumba and Hill Smith Family Vineyards, Chair of the Australian Wine Research Institute and one of the world’s most respected winemakers
  • Max Allen, an author and wine writer for the Australian Financial Review, Gourmet Traveller Magazine and JancisRobinson.com, named Wine Communicator of the Year in 2018
  • Wendy Cameron, wine consultant and former Chief Winemaker for Brown Brothers Family Wine Group, now undertaking a PhD at the University of Melbourne where she is researching the effect of climate change on grape varieties.
Around 200 researchers, students, wine industry representatives and members of the community attended the panel.
Around 200 researchers, students, alumni, wine industry representatives and members of the community attended the panel.

You can read about Professor Barlow’s latest research on the effect of climate events on wine vintages, with PhD student Chelsea Jarvis and Professor Richard Eckard, on Pursuit.

Banner image: Professor John Fazakerley, Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, introduces the panel. Story by Stuart Winthrope and photos by Saxon Taylor-Le Page.