As climate change inches forward, and the world warms, we can already see its effects on organisms that inhabit specific niche ecosystems. Ocean acidification and arctic ice melting are examples of how climate change has drastically affected sensitive plant and animal habitats. But one such sensitive organism has been largely overlooked: Grapes.

Well, not the grapes themselves, they’re doing fine. It’s the wine that folks are worried about. Wine producing regions around the world are chosen for having climates that foster optimal grape-growing. For example, the Finger Lakes in upstate New York are dotted with wineries.  The deep lakes store heat from the summer to make for a milder autumn, and prevent early frosts. In addition, the steep hillsides carved out by glaciers provide more sunlight during the days. It’s perfect for making wine, or at least it was.

Enter climate change, where the warming planet now threatens wine production in these carefully tailored regions. But scientists at the University of Verona are on it, and they’ve been studying the genes of Corvina grapes with the intention of growing cultivars that can adapt to the changing climate. It’s a first world problem embedded in a global, slow burn catastrophe.

Personally, I’d much prefer we work on reversing climate change, but if having to use GMOs to combat global warming doesn’t send some sort of message to deniers, I’m not sure what will.

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\\Pizza Toaster