Mitigation and Adaptation Practices to the Impact of Climate Change on Wine Grape Production, with Special Reference to the South African Context


In South Africa, environmentally and socio-economically sustainable wine grape production is promoted
by governmental and private initiatives. All the initiatives contribute to establishing a scientifically
based response strategy of agro-systems to ensure sustainable production under future expected climate
conditions. South African wine grape producers would probably have to cultivate their grapevines under
higher atmospheric CO2 levels and in warmer, mostly drier, conditions. Due to the projected increase in
climatic variability, an effort must be made to improve the resilience of vines against these environmental
conditions. Whole-vine functioning and balances should be considered when adjustments are made
to current long and short term cultivation practices. All practices should be aimed at promoting the
development of a deep, dense and buffered root system that is able to support a well-developed canopy
with optimal microclimate that would sustain a high yield of good quality. Mitigation and adaptation
strategies would most likely have to be region specific, and small scale terroir data, (which should include
both climate and terrain/soil information) may play a critical role in decision-making.

Author Biographies

H. Theron, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), Wellington

J.J. Hunter, ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij

ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, Stellenbosch