Is Wine Country the canary in the coal mine when it comes to global warming?

A new, controversial study by a federal agency reports that U.S. temperatures could increase by 2 to 4 degrees by 2020. This, some argue, could lead to a remapping of wine regions, shrinking vineyard land in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

In light of this new study, I’m reposting my point counterpoint blog with two respected winemakers so we can take the pulse of Wine Country. There are, after all, two distinct camps when it comes to this issue — one that spots actual proof while the other doesn’t see a trace. So let the fireworks begin. Remember, you’re just a click away from having your unmitigated say.

So what camp are you in?

Vintner Paul Dolan, who wrote “True to Our Roots,” says: “As a key California agricultural industry we’re uniquely vulnerable to the effects of global warming. Winemakers are experiencing impacts that are changing the face of wine style, structure and composition – I personally can remember as a young winemaker, thirty years ago, struggling to reach maturity in my grapes of 23.5 to 24 degree Brix. Now I have a similar challenge to keep the sugars below 28 to 29 degree Brix each year while waiting for the tannins to ripen. – The greatest challenge we face in the world today is global warming. All of us, individuals and businesses, must do all we can to meet this challenge.

Meanwhile Bob Cabral, winemaker of Healdsburg’s Williams Seylem, says: “The mind sees what it wants to see. I’ll argue that – I don’t see enough of a general pattern to say that global warming has happened. When you look at history, how do you know that this isn’t a natural cycle of the Earth heating and cooling over the millions of years? This isn’t the first time the Earth has gone through a heat cycle – Our total life on Earth is 80 to 90 years, a fraction of a second when you consider the total life of Earth. I’m not sure we should being doing things about right now but the liberal media is panicking people.

Who’s out to lunch here – Dolan or Cabral? Have you spotted a canary?