PREDICTIONS of long-term climate change and rainfall levels in Tasmania could open new wine-growing areas currently unsuitable for vineyards.
Talk of the impact climate change could have on Australia's wine regions has seen mainland investors take an increasing interest in Tasmania's cooler temperatures.
Brand Tasmania last month announced wine giant Treasury Wine Estates had deployed land-acquisition teams to Tasmania to lease or buy vineyards.
This followed the Yulamba-based Hill-Smith family expanding its Jansz Tasmania's holdings in Pipers Brook, and the Adelaide Hills-based Shaw and Smiths acquisition of the Tolpuddle Vineyard near Richmond in 2011.
Brown Brothers also purchased Gunns Ltd Tasmanian wine assets for $32.5 million in 2010.
Treasury Wine Estates chief executive David Dearie was quoted by Brand Tasmania as saying the company's investigation was part of a strategy to seek vineyards in cooler regions as climate change starts to impact on growing seasons.
Information produced last year by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and the State Government predicted temperatures in Tasmania to increase by by 2.9 degrees by 2100.
Further modelling showed that by 2070, the climate for wine production in Northern Tasmania may be similar to the Coonawarra region of South Australia.
The TIA stated that while the typical character of Tasmanian cool climate wines may be affected, there were considerable opportunities for wine growing in areas that are currently unsuitable for wine grape production.
``Tasmanian producers will be able to offer a more diverse palate of grape varieties,'' the report said.
``Within decades, full-bodied Tasmanian cabernet sauvignons or merlots are not out of the question, although the island will maintain its distinctiveness and fame for its outstanding pinots.''
Wine Tasmania chief executive Sheralee Davies agreed that changes in temperature and rainfall may open up new areas that currently do not have vineyards.
However, Ms Davies said climate change should not be the sole reason for a positive outlook.
``Certainly national companies are looking for areas less impacted by a changing climate,'' she said.
``But it is Tasmania's land affordability, water quality, and our reputation for quality food and beverages - things that set us apart from other areas of Australia that are going to become increasingly important.
``There is a great opportunity for existing Tasmanian producers to grow in their own right, as well as welcoming new investors to the state.''