Impact of Climate on Eastern U.S. Wine Production




MacCracken, Rosalyn F

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This research addresses the gap in characterizing the climate structure in the eastern United States for suitability of winegrape growth. Even though all of the lower 48 contiguous states grow winegrapes and produce wine, most of the climate structure analyses have focused on the premium wine regions along the west coast (i.e, California, Washington, Oregon and Idaho). There has not been a comprehensive study on the climate structure in the remaining eastern states. This dissertation analyzes the eastern United States as a whole, to characterize the overall climate structure patterns. For this characterization, a comparative study of the four commonly used climate indices (i.e., Average Growing Season Temperature, Growing Degree Days, Heliothermal Index and Biologically Effective Degree Days), was performed using the Jan 1971 – 2000 PRISM 800-meter resolution dataset of climate temperature normals. Spatial temperature averages were created for the study area of 44 states and 58 American Viticultural Areas across the eastern United States. This study builds on current methodologies used to characterize premium wine regions in the western United States, and around the world. Results of this study created a comprehensive spatial analysis of site suitability for winegrape growth using the four main climate indices for the eastern United States. Since there were many areas where these indices did not properly characterize a region as suitable for winegrape growth, a new index was developed, and used to assist in the characterization of the region. Lastly, the effects of climate change on the eastern US are analyzed using data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report on Climate Change. Results of this study will make it possible to conduct more uniform climate-viticulture structure analyses.



Climate, Eastern U.S. Wine Production, Climate-viticulture Characterizations, Climate Projections, Viticulture, AVA (American Viticulture Area)