Prairie terroir - designing for sustainable viticulture
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This practicum examines the feasibility of cold-climate viticulture in southern Manitoba in light of ongoing climate change and establishes principles for sustainable viticulture appropriate to Manitoba’s geological conditions. As the climate continues to change, drastic changes will begin to occur within the wine industry. Regions that are currently suitable for production are likely to be subject to higher temperatures, more erratic precipitation and harsher weather. An opportunity exists within the Mowbray Plateau located in the Pembina River Valley, to establish a new type of agriculture in the Prairies—one that can grow and adapt as the climate changes. Prairie viticulture is feasible if done appropriately, utilizing sustainable landscape strategies such as planned cover crops, creating smaller microclimates, and planting according to terroir. These strategies can evolve alongside climate and microclimatic-specific research. This practicum demonstrates through case studies of existing cold-climate grape growers, and by research and design, that the Prairies could provide a healthy future for sustainable viticulture.