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Extreme Weather Events: Response From The Vineyards

A changing climate leads to changes in the frequency, intensity, spatial extent, duration and timing of extreme weather and climate events (EWE). These are the words of the IPCC. Per se, these EWE do not prove the existence of global warming, but it is a given fact that climate change exaggerates them.

Reality, as we speak, is a reflection of this and of the current climate crisis: a few years ago, South Africa faced a period of severe water shortage in the Western Cape region. In 2017, the exact place where the Douro River is born, Picos de Urbíon, dried up. This year, in Germany, ice wine harvest failed for the first time due to a warm winter. A year ago, Australia was on fire, with an unrepairable and unprecedented loss for its ecosystems, let alone lives and businesses. As we speak, California, Oregon and Washington are being devastated by wildfires that preceded record heatwaves, followed by storms that ignited the fires. In Maryland, tornados were followed by hurricanes and then frost. Again, countless producers are still unsure about whether they will be able to save their harvest from smoke taint, and many have lost their vintage altogether.

Why? What are the causes? What are the impacts? How can we prepare our vineyards, our operation, ourselves, reduce the impacts and minimize the losses?


This Climate Talk will address these questions by gathering producers and scientists from different parts of the world that have experienced these EWE’s. They will share their knowledge, experience, different realities, and above all the ideas and practices implemented to tackle this reality. In a conversation starting with a scientific data approach, we will try to understand how can science help producers to predict, adapt and decide which are the best options available to deal with ewe, and how can they do this in a very practical manner.



On Porto Protocol's youtube channel:


- What is causing these extreme events?
- Which are the main impacts on the wine industry?
- How different adaptation strategies are leading to different resilience results?
- What is the role of the wine industry in the adaptation to EWE and climate change?
- How can science help winegrowers improve their vineyards’ resilience?

João Santos



Professor at the Physics Department of UTAD (University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro)

João Carlos Andrade Santos is Professor at the Physics Department of the UTAD. Academic degrees: Habilitation in Physics in 2012. PhD in Climatology/Meteorology at the University of Lisbon in 2005 and Graduation in Geophysical Sciences/Meteorology at the University of Lisbon in 1995. Area of expertise: Atmospheric Sciences, Climatology, Climate Change and its impacts, mostly in agroforestry systems and viticulture in particular. Current R&D Centre: CITAB – Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences. Other relevant activities: Member of several national and international projects, including the coordination of a European H2020 project (Clim4Vitis). Coordinator of the CITAB group “Integrated monitoring of climate and environmental impacts: adaptation and mitigation strategies”. Coordinator of the research line “Edapho-climatic conditions” of the INNOVNE&WINE project, Centre of Excellence for Vine and Wine.




Director of the Evenstad Center for Wine Education, professor and research climatologist at Linfield College

Gregory V. Jones holds the Evenstad Chair in Wine Studies, and is a professor and research climatologist in the Department of Environmental Studies at Linfield College. He specializes in the study of climate structure and suitability for viticulture, and how climate variability and change influence grapevine growth, wine production and quality. He holds a BA and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in Environmental Sciences with a concentration in the Atmospheric Sciences. His dissertation was on the climatology of viticulture in Bordeaux, France with a focus on the spatial differences in grapevine phenology, grape composition and yield, and the resulting wine quality. He conducts applied research for the grape and wine industry in Oregon and has given hundreds of international, national, and regional presentations on climate and wine-related research. He is the author of numerous book chapters, including being a contributing author to the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report, and other reports and articles on wine economics, grapevine phenology, site assessment methods for viticulture, climatological assessments of viticultural potential, and climate change. He was named the Oregon Wine Press’s 2009 Wine Person of the Year, named to Decanter Magazine’s 2009 Power List representing the top 50 most influential people in the world of wine, has been in the top 100 most influential people in the US wine industry in 2012, 2013, and 2018 (, and named in the Top 50 Wine Industry Leaders in Wine Business Monthly in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Recently he was bestowed with the Honorary Confrade with the Rank of Infanção (Nobleman) from the Confraria do Vinho do Porto for his work with the Portuguese wine industry.


Phill Freese


Winegrowing Partner and creator of the Vilafonté vineyards

Phil Freese is an internationally acclaimed wine growing advisor with an intimate knowledge of the world’s vineyards. He graduated from Purdue University in 1968 with a B.S. in Biochemistry and received a Ph. D. in Biochemistry/Biophysics from the University of California at Davis in 1973. During his tenure as Vice President of Winegrowing at the Robert Mondavi Winery, (1982 – 1993) headquartered in Oakville California, Phil contracted for grape supply, gave direction to growers on improved wine growing techniques for wine style and quality enhancement, and directed the viticultural research program. He worked with all of the Mondavi Corporation wineries; Opus One, Oakville, Vichon, Woodbridge, and Byron Vineyards on the central coast of California. After leaving Mondavi, Phil began the independent wine growing services business, WineGrow, in 1993. He works closely with wine makers and the vineyard sources of wine grapes to achieve the full expression of wine character from each site. Freese’s vineyard and wine work has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals as well as, Practical Winery & Vineyard, The Wine Spectator, Wines and Vines and other industry trade publications. As well, he has presented at professional and industry meetings both domestic and internationally. He has participated in technical programs and class presentations for the University of California Extension. Phil is the Wine Growing partner and an owner of Vilafonté Vineyards in Paarl and Stellenbosch South Africa. Phil consults internationally to wine growers and wine producers in South Africa, Chile, Argentina and the Golan Heights of Israel. He maintains a consulting practice based in home state of California.


Alisdair Tulloch


Winery Assistant & Carbon Neutral Spokesperson at Keith Tulloch Wine

Alisdair Tulloch is a 5th generation grape grower and winemaker from the Hunter Valley, Australia. Having grown up in the wine industry, Alisdair has seen the effects of a changing climate in vineyards throughout his life, which inspired him to lead a charge of sustainability in his region. His family’s estate Keith Tulloch Wine achieved carbon neutrality in 2018, and was certified carbon neutral by the Australian government in March 2019 – just the second winery in Australia to achieve this certification. Besides his work in emissions reduction and sequestration, Alisdair is also a vocal advocate of climate change action and communicates the pressing issues facing the wine industry from this threat. Beyond climate, Alisdair is a hands-on practitioner of regenerative viticulture focusing on soil health and microbiology, as well as working passionately to preserve native biodiversity through multiple seeding and planting projects on the vineyard. Alisdair is currently working abroad for a family vineyard in Côte Rôtie France ahead of his return to Australia in early 2021.




Principal Consultant Viticulturist at Hamilton Viticulture

Dr Richard Hamilton has been a student of viticulture for over 40 years. For the last ten years he has been a consultant viticulturist to the Australian Grape and Wine industry with his own business, Hamilton Viticulture. Past viticultural experience has included corporate, government and private enterprise roles. Richard was National Viticulturist from 1998 to 2010 for what is now Treasury Wine Estates with interest in vine health, the application of spatial technologies and vine propagation. From 1986 to 1998, Richard was with Primary industry and Resources South Australia and the South Australian Research and Development in a range of roles, finishing as Principal Consultant – Grapes, Citrus and Plant Health. During this time, he established a small family vineyard at Ashton in the Adelaide Hills. Richard is a fellow of the Australian Society of Viticulture and Oenology.