Vineyard tourism is a big source of carbon emissions. Want to help? Then buy more wine
4 min read
The Australian wine industry has already been forced to adapt to the effects of climate change. It must reduce its carbon footprint – including emissions generated by wine tourists.
In a non-COVID year, Australia's vineyards host more than eight million wine tourists. While these visitors benefit wine producers and regional communities, they also generate a substantial amount of greenhouse gases. If fact, our recent research showed tourist visits to vineyards comprise more than one-third of the industry's total carbon footprint. Wine tourism – also called "cellar door" visits – involves visiting vineyards, wineries, wine festivals and events to taste, drink and buy wine. The Australian wine industry has already been forced to adapt to the effects of climate change. If it fails to curb emissions associated with wine tourism, the industry is contributing to its own demise. Shutterstock Temperature change and 'terroir' In 2019, wine tourism contributed A$9.3 billion to the Australian economy – creating more jobs and economic output than any other part of the industry. It promotes exports and provides vital financial support for small winemakers and family farms that rely on cellar door sales to visitors. When wine tourists aren't in vineyards and tasting rooms, they often visit local restaurants, as well as cultural attractions such as museums, concerts and festivals. Wine tourism gives travellers the chance to experience a region's "terroir" – the particular geology, landscape, soil and climate that come together to make a region's wine special. Wine grapes however are particularly susceptible to temperature changes. In fact, the wine industry has been described as "the canary in the coal mine" for the way climate change will affect agriculture. In Australia, winemakers have already been forced to adapt to heatwaves, drought, increased fire risk and salinity. Previous research…