SOU Climatologist to Talk About the Effects of Climate Change on Producing Wine

(Ashland, Ore.) – Dr. Gregory V. Jones, Southern Oregon University Professor of Environmental Studies, will present “Climate, Grapes and Wine: Understanding Terroir Influences in a Variable and Changing Climate,” on Tuesday, February 26, at 5:00 p.m. in the Meese Conference Room of the Hannon Library. The talk is free and open to the public.

Dr. Jones, a climatologist, has been named by Decanter magazine as one of the 50 most influential people in the world of wine and the Oregon Wine Press’ 2009 Wine Person of the Year.

“Come and learn about wine,” invites Dr. Jones. “America is a growing wine-drinking society, but I find that people know little about what goes on behind the scenes. I’m going to talk about what is the character of a given region that allows it to grow grapes and make wine.”

He calls it “unraveling the mystique of terroir.” Terroir is the sum of all the natural and cultural environments that influence the production of an agricultural product. “It’s the sense of place relative to something being produced,” Jones says. In his talk, which will draw on 20 years of research, Jones will lay some groundwork of how grapes are grown worldwide and how climate change has the potential to alter what we know about the industry.

Climate is a pervasive factor in the success of all agricultural systems, influencing whether a crop is suitable to a given region, largely controlling crop production and quality, and ultimately driving economic sustainability.

Climate’s influence on agribusiness is never more evident than with viticulture and wine production where climate is arguably the most critical aspect in ripening fruit to optimum characteristics to produce a given wine style.

“Climate, Grapes and Wine” is the winter term lecture of SOU’s Insights Distinguished Lecture Series. The Series was created by SOU President Mary Cullinan “to showcase the excellent work of our faculty and to share the high caliber of SOU teaching and research with audiences from on and off campus.”

Gregory V. Jones is a professor and research climatologist in SOU’s Department of Environmental Studies. 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 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 was a contributing author to the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report, and is the author of numerous book chapters, reports and articles on wine economics, grapevine phenology, site assessment methods for viticulture, climatological assessments of viticultural potential and climate change.

He holds a BA and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in Environmental Sciences with a concentration in the Atmospheric Sciences. His teaching and research interests include meteorology, climatology, hydrology and agriculture; phenology of plant systems; biosphere and atmosphere interactions; climate change; and quantitative methods in spatial and temporal analysis.

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