Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Mar 27th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Climate Change…and Wine?

wine_cheeseThe Science Sundays lecture series explains how climate change affects California’s wineries
On a warm and sunny Sunday in this temperamental summer, it’s easy to let your mind wander away from the various environmental problems plaguing the world today. That stuff is depressing—for example, a gulf that seems to be more oil than water, covering its wildlife in a slick, crude sheen while stalling local fisheries and economies to near insolvency. Not to mention the silent moans of countless trees lost to deforestation. And, of course, there are the lovable polar bears and penguins, already on the endangered species list, that see their habitat melt away due to the increase of greenhouse gases and annual temperatures.  

Makes you just want to take a minute to sit down in the afternoon breeze, pop the cork off that vintage California Pinot Noir bottle, and forget about all the world’s troubles with a nice glass of red, right?

Well, not so fast.

As part of a monthly lecture series entitled “Science Sunday,” which is hosted by Katherine Moore and celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, Lisa Sloan and David Graves gave a revealing presentation demonstrating the adverse effects climate change has on California’s vineyards and wine production.

You might want to hold on to that bottle a few more years.

Sloan, a professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences at UC Santa Cruz, displayed a series of models representing potential geologic scenarios in Santa Cruz and the Bay Area while describing the changes in climactic patterns within the next 50 years.

Sloan predicts a three to four degree Fahrenheit temperature increase, a disruption in the delivery of water from snow packs, as well as more fog and upwelling.

“If Greenland were to melt completely,” Sloan stated in her lecture, “we would experience a 21- foot rise in sea level.”

“Antarctica would be 10 times that,” she added.

All this data translated into two slides that became the feature of Sloan’s presentation.

In Santa Cruz, the rise in sea level resulted in some radical geographic modifications. Pacific Avenue would be completely flooded, putting an end to the panhandling problems, lack of parking, and threatening to submerge the Good Times headquarters. Beach Hill would become, as Sloan put it, “Beach Island,” completely surrounded by flooded neighborhoods and looking like the tip of a community iceberg, if icebergs still exist by then. The yacht harbor would score some new real estate.

“Those of you waiting for a boat slip will be in luck,” Sloan joked.

San Francisco would see new Bay Area geography develop with an exceptional rise in sea level. The North Bay’s waters would extend to Mill Valley and all the way up to Napa. In Pittsburg and Antioch, the waters would flow over to the Interstate 5 toward Stockton.

The one person in the room not laughing at the joke going around about the sea level rise creating new beachfront property was Graves, who would see his Saintsbury Vineyard in Napa drown and dissolve.

Part of Sloan’s climactic data came from Saintsbury Vineyard in Napa where Graves, co-founder of the winery, serves as a managing partner and leader in utilizing sustainable agricultural methods, such as 85 kilowatt solar panels and recycling water.

Graves illustrated the fragility of wine grapes in general, emphasizing their sensitivity toward even the most minute weather changes.

“If it’s too cold, the grapes will have lower sugar levels and unripe and unbalanced flavors,” Graves pointed out in his lecture. “If it’s too hot, the grapes become overripe and have lower acidity retention.”

He noted the importance of a “Goldilocks middle” in which the grapes have consistent sugar levels, ripe and balanced flavors.

Pinot Noir, which is one of Saintsbury’s featured wines, is the touchiest of grapes, only having a four-degree spectrum (from 57 to 61 degrees) for proper maturation and flavor. If temperatures continue to rise, not only will Saintsbury’s wine casks run dry, but the whole Napa region’s Pinot Noir producers will find themselves in a climate unsuitable for that particular grape. This would not only disrupt the local economies in Sonoma County, but would also jeopardize California’s ability to continue producing wine.

In the end, it is impossible to predict what the future for the wine industry holds. Any model is only a guess based on conjecture produced from empirical data. The lecturers stressed that what is most important is that people become aware of the problems we face and work toward climate change.

Science Sunday, which is held every third Sunday at the Seymour Center, is one way for locals to become familiar with the environmental and marine worlds around us.

“Science isn’t esoteric,” Moore, manager of Membership and Donor Stewardship at the Seymour Center, explains. “It has an impact on people’s lives. Science Sunday helps people know about the world and how to make it right.”

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Best of Santa Cruz 2015

In 40 years of publishing, Good Times has seen a lot of “bests.”

 

Spring Triangle: Three Spring Festivals—Aries, Taurus, Gemini

The Spring signs Aries, Taurus and Gemini constitute a triangle of force that sets the template for the nine signs that follow and the template for the entire year (Spring 2015 - Spring 2016) ahead. Aries initiates new ideas, Taurus stabilizes the new thinking of Aries and Gemini takes the initiating stabilized ideas of Aries/Taurus and disperses them to all of humanity. It is in this way that humanity learns new things, with the help of Mercury, the messenger. As Spring unfolds, three elements emerge: the Fire of Aries (initiating new ideas), the Earth of Taurus (anchoring the ideas of God through Mercury) and the Air of communicating Gemini. These three signs/elements are the Three Spring Festivals. They are the “triangle of force” forming the template (patterns) of energy for the upcoming new year. After these three we then have the soothing, calming, warming, nurturing and tending waters of the mother (Cancer). Cancer initiates our next season under the hot suns of summer. Planets, stars and signs create the Temple of Light directing humanity towards all things new. March 29 is Palm Sunday, when the Christ, World Teacher, was led into Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (humility). Palms waving above His head, signified recognition of the Christ’s divinity. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before the Easter (Resurrection Festival). Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, the week of capture, imprisonment, passion, sacrifice, crucifixion, death and resurrection of the christ. All events in the Christ’s life represent events (initiations) that humanity experiences through many lifetimes. We turn our attention to these holy events this week. Their concepts portray and reveal to us greater spiritual understanding. Then, Aries, the “light of life itself” shines through us.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

The Magic Touch

Stage magician vs. charlatans in engaging ‘An Honest Liar’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Spring Spirits

Sean Venus’ gin straight up, remembering Rosa’s and a tasting of Hungarian wines

 

What’s your favorite most recent outdoor discovery in Santa Cruz?

A hike that’s across from Waddell Beach. I didn’t realize you could go across the highway and do a super simple loop, and it’s beautiful. You can see the coastline. Liz Porter, Santa Cruz, Community Outreach

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Muscat 2012

 

Front Street Kitchen

Pop-up spot attracts paleo crowd with locally sourced low-carb meals