The wine grape is definitely a great climate barometer.
For example, wine grapes were once grown in England as far north as Lincolnshire during the Roman Empire. This would seem to indicate that it was once warmer than it has been in recent centuries. Many web-sites speculate on this.
InfoBritain says, “In Roman Britain, the weather was warmer than it is now, and this warmer climate allowed extensive vine growing throughout Britain’s Roman period, and for a long time after. By 1086 when the Domesday survey was carried out there were thirty nine vineyards officially recorded in England, although the actual figure may have been much higher. Then temperatures began to drop in the second half of the sixteenth century causing a retreat of vine growing from the north and east of Europe.”
Web-sites focused solely on wine (e.g. History of English Wine) ponder whether the decline in British wine grape production was due to cooling climates, or changing political climates, or both. About the same time monasteries that made the wines were destroyed by Henry VIII circa mid-1500s, which could have been a primary cause for the loss of a wine industry in Britain.
In the mid 1900s, key viticulturists revived the British wine industry. Today, the wine industry in the south of Britain is rebounding, which may be attributed to warming climates. It may also be a result of viticulture more suited to the terroir.
In summary, climate and politics change. Agriculture responds.
Reposted from Jan 05, 2015 6:08am Facebook post