September 6, 2006

In Vino, non Veritas?

Filed under: Agriculture

Today’s (September 6th, 2006) Washington Post, features Ben Giliberti’s Wine of the Week—a Tamar Ridge 2005 Pinot Gris from Tasmania. After extolling the virtues of this rich white, peary, with a hint of almond and French oak, Giliberti proclaims it to be “one of the most exciting pinot gris I have tasted from anywhere lately” adding “global warming…appears to working in Tasmania’s favor.”

Let’s guess that there’s a post-it note stuck to the editor’s monitor when it comes to global warming: “No Fact Checks, Please.”

And how hard are the facts to find? Let’s go to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/silo/reg/cli_chg/timeseries.cgi) for Tasmania’s climate history. We’ve plotted the data (Figure 1) for the growing periods of Spring, Summer, and Autumn since 1975—the time when the wine industry first began in Tasmania (http://www.winediva.com.au/regions/tasmania.asp).

Figure 1. Seasonal temperature departures from normal (°C) from Tasmania from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology ( http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/silo/reg/cli_chg/timeseries.cgi ). The Summer and Fall values have been offset by 2 and 4°C respectively for clarity.

So, where’s the warming? There isn’t any. There are some ups and downs, that in combination probably affect the year-to-year quantity and quality of Tasmania’s wine production, but overall, there is no indication that “global warming” could possibly be affecting the wine industry there.

Oh well, just another addition to the bin of off-the-cuff declarations about global warming without any care for the basic facts.




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