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Viniculture Italy

Vulnerabilities - Italy

Wine production in Italy will be affected (1,2,3):

  • increases in heat accumulation will reduce the total area available for wine grape production and will shift wine production to warmer climate varieties;
  • while frost constraints will be reduced, the increase in the frequency of extreme hot days in the growing season are projected to reduce wine grape production in many areas of the South of Italy and in many areas where premium wine production takes place.

The Emilia-Romagna region

The impact of climate change on viticulture in the traditional Italian wine region Emilia-Romagna has been assessed for two future periods (2011-2040 and 2071-2100) under a moderate and high-end scenario of climate change (the RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 scenarios, respectively) (5). Emilia-Romagna is located in the northern Italian wine region and comprises about 55,000 ha of vineyards, representing 8.1% of the total Italian vineyard surface. The results from a large number of regional climate model simulations show that under both scenarios most of the Emilia-Romagna region will remain suitable for grape production during the period 2011-2040. By the end of the twenty-first century, the suitability to produce grapes in Emilia-Romagna could be threatened to a greater or smaller extent, depending on the scenario. During the period 2071-2100, the entire Emilia-Romagna region will be too hot for grape production under the high-end scenario. Under the moderate scenario, changes will be milder, suggesting that the Emilia-Romagna region could still be suitable for grape cultivation by the end of the twenty-first century but would likely require certain adjustments (5).

The Abruzzi region

In the wine-growing areas of the Abruzzi region, climate change led to a significant reduction of the period between bud burst and harvest of Montepulciano vines in the period 1974-2013, mainly due to the earlier beginning of harvest date. The earlier harvest date seems to be linked mainly to the increase of heat summation in the period March-June (6).

Province of Trento in the Italian Alps

Trento is a geographically complex region, with a long history of wine production. Wine industry is highly specialized in the region and several grapevine varieties are traditionally grown, both in the valley bottom and in several mountainous areas. Simulations of the effect of climate change on the phenology of grapevines indicate shorter growing seasons, earlier occurrences of phases such as budburst and shorter phase duration in the future (7).

Harvest will occur earlier than current conditions: by one to two weeks in the years 2021-2050 and up to four weeks in the years 2071-2099 as compared to 1961-1990, when a moderate scenario of climate change is assumed (the so-called A1B scenario). Time between bud break and harvest will be one to three weeks shorter. Phenological advance is more pronounced for varieties grown at higher altitudes. Harvest time advance will likely bring a shortening of the harvest time gap between mountain and valley-bottom sites, due to the faster phenological development at higher elevations (7).  

Adaptation strategies

For Tuscany (central Italy) the effect of two important adaptation measures was assessed to counterbalance the effect of warmer temperatures and lower precipitation under climate change on grape yield and quality: (a) relocating the grape production area uphill, where there is less climate impact on wine quality, and (b) using an ‘‘exotic’’ grape variety (e.g. a southern Italian variety), which is drought resistant, to replace the current grape variety. It was concluded that it is generally recommendable to use a combination of these adaptation measures starting with relocating, because the benefit of a new variety is not yet certain (4). These two possible adaptation strategies are also envisaged for Trento (7).  


The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Italy.

  1. Bartolini et al. (2008), in: Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea of Italy (2009)
  2. Bindi et al. (1996), in: Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea of Italy (2009)
  3. Orlandini et al. (2009), in: Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea of Italy (2009)
  4. Zhu et al. (2016)
  5. Teslić et al. (2019)
  6. Di Lena et al. (2019)
  7. Alikadic et al. (2019)