Felix Salmon is a Reuters Blogger. This piece was produced by the Climate Desk collaboration.
About a decade ago, Miguel Torres planted 104 hectares of pinot noir grapes in the Spanish Pyrenees, 3,300 feet above sea level. It’s cold up there and not much good for grapes—at least not these days. But Torres, the head of one of Spain’s foremost wine families, knows that the climate is changing.
His company’s scientists reckon that the Rioja wine region could be nonviable within 40 to 70 years, as temperatures increase and Europe’s wine belt moves north by up to 25 miles per decade. Other winemakers are talking about growing grapes as far north as Scandinavia and southern England.
Torres’ Pyrenees vineyards are a hedge, and may not be necessary. But if climate change redraws the map of Europe’s wine world, he will be prepared. And his company will be one of a very few taking steps to adapt to the future effects of climate change.
How companies are preparing for these changes is a pressing topic, but when I agreed to write this piece I knew I was no expert. I set out to educate myself by posting open requests on my finance blog at Reuters, asking my eager-to-comment audience of business wonks to tell me stories of how big corporations are getting ready.