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Experts warn Prosecco could soon no longer exist

Experts warn Prosecco could soon no longer exist

It's hard to imagine not enjoying a glass of bubbly after work, but according to scientists this could soon be the case very soon.

Experts have issued a warning to all Proseco drinkers as the popular bottle of fizz for an after-work drink could soon become obsolete.

Scientists have predicted that some of the world’s most popular wines and the cultures of the communities that produce them could no longer exist.

Typically, the harvesting of grapes on steep slopes is done without the use of mechanised tools, which makes this ‘heroic’ viticulture very difficult.

These sites have been designated UNESCO world heritage sites and now researchers have explained why scientists and farmers must work together to protect this centuries-old tradition amid climate change, which is threatening to disrupt the delicate environments in places like Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Prosecco is an Italian white white produced in a large area which spans the provinces in the Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions and is named after the village of the same name near the city of Trieste.

In a paper published last month in the journal iScience, scientists listed their concerns around soil degradation and drought, which are the most concerning risks brought on by climate change.

Researchers from the University of Padova warned of another threat posed by the ‘rural exodus and a gradual abandonment of mountain landscapes’, which have ‘characterised’ the last five decades.

Prosecco could soon become a thing of the past.
Oscar Wong/Getty

“The new generation is not attracted to continue working under extreme conditions if economic benefits are insignificant,” the researchers explained, warning how the technological modernisation of society is ‘degrading’ the rural cultural background of generations who lived before us.

Lead author Dr Paolo Tarolli and his co-writers wrote: “The risk is not only losing an agricultural product or seeing a landscape change, negatively impacting the local economy.

“The risk is losing entire communities’ history and their cultural roots.”

Researchers have explained the dangers threatening the production of Prosecco.
Michael Barrow Photography/Getty

‘Heroic viticulture’ sites are vineyards that have a slope that is steeper than 30 percent, are located on small islands or at an altitude higher than 500 metres above sea level. Vineyards can also be considered ‘heroic viticulture’ if they incorporate vines grown on terraces.

One well-known example includes the Prosecco Hills of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.

With climate change bringing along weather extremes, this speeds up soil degradation, researchers warned, such as the possibility of intense rainfall which can ‘quickly trigger slope failures’.

That’s not all we should be worried about, as prolonged droughts can also be a threat.

The researchers said: “The key to success lies in combining the traditional knowledge of winemakers with innovation and scientific rigor.

“In this way, farms can work closely with scientists to optimise investments for a more functional, sustainable, and safe agricultural landscape – a winning alliance to face these diverse natural and anthropogenic challenges.”

Featured Image Credit: Michael Barrow Photography/Oscar Wong

Topics: Environment, Food and Drink, Science, Climate Change