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Climate change signals the end of Australian shiraz as we know it

Winemaker John Bown stirs a vat of fermenting grapes at the Frogmore Creek winery located on the outskirts of Hobart in Tasmania.

Climate change signals the end of Australian shiraz as we know it


Young Australian wine maker Nick Glaetzer's winemaking-steeped family thought he was crazy when he abandoned the Barossa Valley - the hot, dry region that is home to the country's world-famous big, brassy shiraz.

Trampling over the family's century-old grape-growing roots on the Australian mainland, Glaetzer headed south to the island state of Tasmania to strike out on his own and prove to the naysayers there was a successful future in cooler climate wines.

Just five years later, Glaetzer made history when his Glaetzer-Dixon Mon Pere Shiraz won a major national award - the first time judges had handed the coveted trophy to a shiraz made south of the Bass Strait separating Tasmania from the Australian mainland.

Glaetzer's gamble embodies a major shift in Australia's wine-growing industry as it responds to climate change. A study by the U.S. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that up to 73 percent of Australian land currently used for viticulture could become unsuitable by 2050.


Reporting by Jane Wardell, REUTERS.