Semester of Graduation

December 2017


Master of Science (MS)


Geography and Anthropology

Document Type



There is great concern across the wine industry about the effect climate change will have on wine production and quality. These worries are valid because wine grapes are sensitive to the climatological conditions in which they are grown. However, not all viticultural areas will experience climate change in the same manner and the effects of climate change could vary considerably by region. This thesis examines the potential impact of climate change on the wine industry in the already hot and dry Tulbagh Valley, South Africa. The valley has produced wine since the early 18th century, but today the valley is heavily focused on wine and stone fruit production with a developing hospitality and tourism sector. This thesis examines stakeholder attitudes towards agriculture, climate change, and the wine industry to determine what the true risk factors are for the future of the industry in the valley. The majority of the wine grape growers in the valley are actually fairly well insulated from the effects of climate change on wine quality because they already participate in a co-op system that produces cheap, low quality bulk wine. The greatest risk to their business is the lack of financial capacity to make needed structural improvements that will alleviate the growing water shortage in the near term. The growing temptation to turn away from viticulture to less sustainable, more profitable crops to raise the capital for these improvements presents one of the largest climate related threats to the wine industry in the Tulbagh Valley.



Committee Chair

Marks, Brian

Available for download on Tuesday, October 29, 2024