Global warming, Climate change in Montalcino 

Notes taken in Montalcino by the Biondi-Santi family at their Il Greppo estate (no longer owned by the family) from 1976 show that rainfall has decreased by 30 percent, while the average temperature has risen 1ºC (1.8ºF), according to Franco Biondi-Santi (Kerin O’Keefe: 2006 11, p.77). The rule stating that vines had to be grown below 600 metres (1,968 feet) was originally intended to avoid unripe Brunellos from the coolest, high altitude sites, but in the wake of climate change the maximum altitude limit for Brunello was dropped in 2015 (see Le Ragnaie.) 

A meeting at the organic Col d’Orcia estate in early 2019 (‘Comitato Montalcino Bio’) with various speakers we heard issues included: later frosts, increased hydric stress, hormonal stress due to less water in spring (‘spring fever’), greater risk of oidium (powdery mildew), less risk of downy mildew (peronospora), greater risk of grape berry moths, the changing effect solar radiation was having on vine leaves, that Sangiovese was no longer being planted in California, Quercetin, Sangiovese with high pH means less nitrogen for the yeast, higher sugars, increased anthocyanins, less astringency, Sangiovese grapes more likely to shrivel (‘appasimento’), stomatas closed, lack of water (hydric stress), the nee for soil with higher humus levels (to hold nutrients and retain moisture).