America’s most popular alcoholic beverages are about to take a hit from climate. Mild, sunny growing conditions have made California king of a $62 billion wine industry, from Napa Valley’s prized Cabernet Sauvignon to the plumy Pinot Noirs of Sonoma County. And more than 7,000 breweries in the U.S. rely on barley, a key ingredient in beer that is partial to the cool temperatures of northwestern states and Canada.
But both grapes and barley are sensitive to a changing climate. And years of disruptions from drought, fires, and rising temperatures have brewers and winemakers wondering: will business as usual survive into the next generation?
A conversation with Esther Mobley, wine critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, Dan Petroski, winemaker for Larkmead Vineyards, and Katie Wallace, director of social and environmental impact at New Belgium Brewing on how climate is reshaping the wine and beer industries — and what that means for consumers and our wallets.