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Wine industry hurt by insufficient global warming

Posted by Richard on January 3, 2008

Recently, as we approached the end of an unusually cold and snowy December, I scoffed at earlier scare stories about global warming destroying the Colorado ski industry. According to The Rocky Mountain News, another Colorado industry is suffering due to global warming — oh wait, it's due to not enough warming:

Unusually cold weather in late 2006 and the spring of 2007 wreaked havoc on Colorado's grape harvest, especially in Delta County. Vineyards there are planted at elevations as high as 7,100 feet.

The larger grape-growing area around Palisade and Grand Junction in Mesa County – which accounts for about 85 percent of the grapes produced – suffered losses, too.

Experts estimate the damage slashed the state's wine grape harvest by 40 percent to 50 percent last year from 2006's record harvest of 1,515 tons. A final tally will be compiled within a few months. But industry officials agreed the grape harvest took a big hit.

Yeah, I know that one cold year in one place proves nothing about global climate change — but whenever some region is temporarily hotter (or wetter… or drier…) than normal, Al Gore and his acolytes always cite it as evidence for their faith (I mean, scientific theory), so I can't resist turning the same tactic back on them.

Colorado's vintners — who produce some excellent white wines (and OK reds) — should hope the IPCC predictions come true, so that the Earth warms back up to about where it was during the Medieval Warm Period, when grain crops were grown in Greenland and wine grapes were cultivated as far north as Scotland and Nova Scotia.

The proponents of anthropogenic global warming theory dismiss the Medieval Warm Period as a "local" European phenomenon (despite a wealth of evidence that it was global). But they can't have it both ways. If they insist that the retreat of Greenland's ice fields a thousand years ago had nothing to do with global climate change, then they shouldn't point to a similar retreat in recent years as evidence of global warming today.

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