This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: The Podcast” features another conversation with Erin Rasmussen, founder and winemaker for the American Wine Project.
As climate change is affecting wine producers around the world, this newcomer to Wisconsin’s winemaking community sees an opportunity to try something different.
On the west coast, where Rasmussen got her start in the wine industry, she says producers are seeing harvest dates being pushed earlier in the year due to warmer temperatures. The same trend has been seen in Australia over the past few decades, she adds.
Here in the Midwest, she says winemakers are dealing with milder winters, larger storms and shifting rain patterns.
With all these trends linked to climate change, Rasmussen says she expects producers to reassess what grapes they choose to plant. She points out that grape vines are “basically weeds,” and quite hardy. In fact, she says it’s “really hard to kill a grapevine.”
“For example, cabernet sauvignon might make an appearance in Oregon which is slightly cooler, rather than pinot noir which is right now widely planted there,” she said. “I think the Midwest is really primed for some interesting wines to be made here, because we might be able to start growing something that would otherwise have died in our harsh winters.”
Rasmussen is currently in the process of developing several wines to be sold in Wisconsin. Though her company is still in its infancy, she says “the time is ripe” to try new things in Midwestern winemaking.
Listen to the podcast below, sponsored by UW-Madison: