Assessing the adaptive capacity of the Ontario wine industry for climate change adaptation

Author(s): Pickering, K., R. Plummer, T. Shaw, G. Pickering
In: International Journal of Wine Research 7: 13–27
Year: 2015
Type: Journal / article
Theme affiliation: Landscapes
Link to centre authors: Plummer, Ryan
Full reference: Pickering, K., R. Plummer, T. Shaw, G. Pickering. 2015. Assessing the adaptive capacity of the Ontario wine industry for climate change adaptation. International Journal of Wine Research 7: 13–27.


Background: Wine regions throughout the world are experiencing climate change characterized by the gradual alterations in growing seasons, temperature, precipitation, and the occurrences of extreme weather events that have significant consequences for quality wine production. Adapting to these new challenges depends largely on the present and future adaptive capacity of the grape growers, winemakers, and supporting institutions in order to minimize the impacts of climate change on grape yield and wine quality. Accordingly, the objective of this study was to develop a conceptual framework for assessing the adaptive capacity of a grape or wine region and apply it in the context of the Ontario wine industry.

The framework consists of a three tiered structure, comprising eight operational and strategic determinants (financial, institutional, technological, political, knowledge, perception, social capital, and diversity). A comprehensive questionnaire was created from this framework consisting of 26 statements to which participants indicated their level of agreement. A total of 42 Ontario wine industry members completed the questionnaire via an on line survey.

Results: The determinants related to perception, diversity, and knowledge have the highest degree of capacity, while political and technological determinants show the least. Overall, stakeholders are aware of both negative and positive impacts climate change could have on wine production. Results are discussed to explore opportunities to enhance adaptive capacity in the grape/wine community. Many stakeholders have already incorporated new adaptive technologies into present practices and are interested in learning new skills to assist in future adaptation.


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