PROFESSOR LAURIE PROPOSED MEASURES TO ADDRESS THE EFFECT OF SMOKE IN WINES
THE RESEARCHER ALSO MENTIONED SOME HANDLINGS THAT IT IS ADVISABLE FOR PRODUCERS OF VINE VARIETIES TO ADDRESS OR MITIGATE THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE.
March 31, 2017
Recommendations to avoid consequences in wines as a result of the smoke from the fires were provided by the academic from the Department of Agricultural Sciences, Felipe Laurie, during a conference at the Colchagua Valley Campus, addressed to entrepreneurs in the wine industry.
Laurie, a researcher in the area of food and wine, said that this year's harvest is different from the previous ones, due to the effects caused by the smoke from the fires and by the high temperatures which affected the area during the spring and summer, which generated special and different conditions that affected the production of grapes.
"There are more and more droughts and shortages of water availability, the temperature is rising and we see extreme weather events with greater frequency, so that the producers should seek alternatives," he said.
This was the topic addressed at the international seminar on "Management to Tackle Climate Change in Vines for Wine", an activity that was part of a project from the Viña Santa Carolina, financed by Corfo and executed by the Fruit Development Foundation, which brought together Chilean and foreign speakers and gathered a large number of producers.
With regard to the impacts of smoke, Laurie, who has a Master's degree in Viticulture and Oenology and a PhD in Food Science from the University of California-Davis, said that this is able to generate substances that plants can absorb and can be transferred to the wine. "There is a very big concern regarding what is going to happen with the wines, so some preventive measures are advised, like opting for manuals harvesting plus the mechanical one, keeping the leaves from entering the milling machines and the long-time contact between the skins of the berries and juices," he said.
The specialist stressed that the fires were a new situation and it is not known what is the quantity of grapes and wines affected, but fortunately there are some steps that can counter the problem, as already mentioned, in addition to some enological products that are in use and can help in this regard.
On the other hand, given the high temperatures of the recent months, above normal, the researcher said that the harvest this year was extremely short, because the ripening of the grapes was two or three weeks earlier and therefore will end earlier than usual.
Laurie emphasized that climate change poses technical challenges to winemakers and oenologists and he added that it is essential to adopt agronomic strategies to overcome the difficulties. An alternative to the new scenario is to look for new grape varieties and rootstocks adapted to the new conditions and another solution is the change of area, which consider the displacement of the vineyards toward the south.
Other speakers were Andrew Walker, from the University of California-Davis, who talked about to the management of irrigation in high temperatures, and Cecilia Peppi, from the University of Chile, whose presentation summarized the results of pilot orchards with selection of grape varieties and rootstocks, developed within the project.
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