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Could Climate Change Kill Off Napa Valley’s Beloved Cabernet Sauvignon?

A photo  shows bottle of wines displayed during the 50th edition of the Vinitaly wine exhibition
A photo shows bottle of wines displayed during the 50th edition of the Vinitaly wine exhibition

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Winegrowers in Napa Valley agree that climate change is real and impacting wine worldwide. This could have serious implications for a region that’s economy depends on producing a world class crop, including Cabernet Sauvignon, which Napa’s identity is wrapped around. Cabernet in Napa is a signature and often pricey type of wine, but growers worry the rising temperatures and increasingly frequent wildfires will eventually mean they won’t be able to produce a quality product. And some believe that critical moment will come sooner rather than later. Does this mean Napa’s future  may not lie solely with Cabernet?

Growers in the area aren’t waiting to find out. Some are now taking matters into their own hands by experimenting with different grape varieties that could potentially thrive in warmer climates. Guest host Libby Denkmann sits down with experts to discuss the issue and what the future holds for developing the at-risk beverage.

With guest host Libby Denkmann


Esther Mobley, a wine critic at the San Francisco Chronicle, she writes primarily about California wine and recently wrote a piece about climate change’s impact on Napa Valley’s signature flavor: Cabernet Sauvignon; she tweets @Esther_mobley

Greg Jones, director of the Evenstad Center for Wine Education at Linfield College in Oregon, he’s also a professor and research climatologist in the Department of Environmental Studies, he focuses on climate variability and how it impacts wine production and quality.