Wine Industry Advisor features Milea Estate

Hudson Valley Wine Project Aims to Help Whole US Wine Industry

We’ve all seen the headlines and read the stark reports: climate change, and the unexpected frosts, hailstorms, droughts, floods, and fires that come along with it threaten to shrink the regions suitable for growing wine by between 56 and 85 percent.

by Kathleen Wilcox

The issue is vast, complex and difficult to tackle without multiple private and public entities working collaboratively together on a set of short and long-term solutions. But one thing that almost everyone seems to agree will be instrumental for a healthier future for wine is an expansion of the varieties of grapes so many are used to cultivating and drinking.

“The environmental challenges we’re facing are creating temperature swings and disease pressures that are causing growers to increase their use of pesticides and fungicides, which is the last thing most of us want to do,” says J. Stephen Casscles, a long-time viticulturalist and author of Grapes of the Hudson Valley and Other Cool Climates of the U.S. “Hybrid grapes are generally more productive and disease resistant than vitis vinifera, requiring fewer inputs and thriving even in extreme weather.”

There are more than 10,000 grape varieties in the world, but only 10 that have been widely cultivated for decades. (Surprising no one, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tempranillo, and Chardonnay are the top wine grapes, according to the International Organization of Vine and Wine)…