Global Warming and Rogue Valley Wines

In the May/June issue of Imbibe Magazine, Southern Oregon University’s own Dr. Greg Jones discussed Global Warming and it’s effect on wineries. To read the whole article

We asked Dr. Jones how this might effect us here in the Rogue Valley. His response was an overview of global warming trends and Southern Oregon.

G.V. Jones

Southern Oregon University, Department of Geography, Ashland, Oregon, USA 97520

The basics for the western US in general are warming throughout most of the year, but greatest in the spring, summer, and fall. The warming rates for the growing season (Apr-Oct) have been ~1.2-2.1 degF over the last 50 years. Most of the warming is coming at night more so than during the day, but some day time warming has occurred. This has resulted in declining frost frequency, earlier last spring frost and later first fall frosts which results in longer growing seasons with less frost risk in general. Precipitation trends are not evident (it has not gotten drier or wetter), just variable from year to year. The same trends over the western US wine regions are evident in the Rogue and Umpqua Valleys, with the climates here being more bengin than those of 30-50 years ago and more beneficial to growing grapes. However, all this being said … we can experience a couple of cooler years like 2007-2008 than what we have become use to and everyone says there’s no climate change! The problem is that you would never expect to each successive year to be warmer than the last, or in other words variability still exists and it is tied to North Pacific Ocean fluctuating back and forth between warmer and colder. Also 2007-2008 are still way warmer than the 1950-1980 period, even though they are slightly cooler than the last 10 years.
If you would like more information on “Climate Change and the global wine industry” or “Influence of climate variability on wine regions in the western USA and on wine quality in the Napa Valley”, please contact RoxyAnn Winery at and I’ll send you a pdf file of the articles.

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