The application of high-resolution atmospheric modelling to weather and climate variability in vineyard regions
Grapevines are highly sensitive to environmental conditions, with variability in weather and climate (particularly temperature) having a significant influence on wine quality, quantity and style. Improved knowledge of spatial and temporal variations in climate and their impact on grapevine response allows better decisionmaking to help maintain a sustainable wine industry in the context of medium to long term climate change. This paper describes recent research into the application of mesoscale weather and climate models that aims to improve our understanding of climate variability at high spatial (1 km and less) and temporal (hourly) resolution within vineyard regions of varying terrain complexity. The Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model has been used to simulate the weather and climate in the complex terrain of the Marlborough region of New Zealand. The performance of the WRF model in reproducing the temperature variability across vineyard regions is assessed through comparison with automatic weather stations. Coupling the atmospheric model with bioclimatic indices and phenological models (e.g. Huglin, cool nights, Grapevine Flowering Véraison model) also provides useful insights into grapevine response to spatial variability of climate during the growing season, as well as assessment of spatial variability in the optimal climate conditions for specific grape varieties.