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Future scenarios for viticultural zoning in Europe: ensemble projections and uncertainties
Optimum climate conditions for grapevine growth are limited geographically and may be further challenged by a changing climate. Due to the importance of the winemaking sector in Europe, the assessment of future scenarios for European viticulture is of foremost relevance. A 16-member ensemble of model transient experiments (generated by the ENSEMBLES project) under a greenhouse gas emission scenario and for two future periods (2011–2040 and 2041–2070) is used in assessing climate change projections for six viticultural zoning indices. After model data calibration/validation using an observational gridded daily dataset, changes in their ensemble means and inter-annual variability are discussed, also taking into account the model uncertainties. Over southern Europe, the projected warming combined with severe dryness in the growing season is expected to have detrimental impacts on the grapevine development and wine quality, requiring measures to cope with heat and water stress. Furthermore, the expected warming and the maintenance of moderately wet growing seasons over most of the central European winemaking regions may require a selection of new grapevine varieties, as well as an enhancement of pest/disease control. New winemaking regions may arise over northern Europe and high altitude areas, when considering climatic factors only. An enhanced inter-annual variability is also projected over most of Europe. All these future changes pose new challenges for the European winemaking sector.