PRINT ISSN 2285-5718, CD-ROM ISSN 2285-5726, ISSN ONLINE 2286-0126, ISSN-L 2285-5718

Determining adaptive capacity to climate change in the grape and wine industry

Published in AgroLife Scientific Journal, Volume 3, Number 2

The agricultural sector is sensitive to climate change (CC) and associated extreme weather events, but suffers in Canada from little strategic research and policy on CC adaptation. The wine industry is often considered the 'canary in the coal mine’ for CC due to the narrow geographic and climatic range required by many grape varieties. Adapting to current and projected CC challenges requires industry stakeholders to determine the risks and benefits of CC and develop a level of adaptive capacity. The objectives of this study were to develop a metric for assessing the adaptive capacity of a grape/wine industry, and apply that tool to the Ontario case. A framework was developed and represented as a three-tiered, hierarchical structure, which included eight operational and strategic determinants (financial, institutional, technological, political, knowledge, perception, social capital, and diversity), and 28 specific indicators. A comprehensive questionnaire was created from this framework consisting of 26 statements to which participants indicated their level of agreement. 42 Ontario wine industry members completed the questionnaire via an on-line survey. Results show that the Ontario wine industry has some adaptive capacity in all the key resources assessed. Perception, diversity and knowledge are the determinants with the greatest capacity, while political and technological are the most limited. Overall, industry stakeholders do not perceive they are at a coping threshold and are interested in learning how to better adapt to the impacts of CC. Results are discussed in the context of opportunities to enhance adaptive capacity in the grape/wine community.

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