SLU news

Sweden key player in European wine project

Published: 28 February 2024

Climate change, disease and price increases in plant protection are some of the challenges wine producers will face in the future. Researchers now want to equip growers for a warmer and drier climate, and the solution can be found in Sweden. Therefore, researchers from nations with a long tradition in wine, such as France, Germany and Chile are collaborating with SLU.

Wine producers are facing many challenges in a drier and hotter future. At the same time, grapes are more receptive to a variety of diseases, and plant protection is becoming more expensive. Overall, grapes face major challenges, which researchers from Sweden, France, Germany and Chile want to solve by training future cultivators in better techniques. Last fall was the start of the European research project NewClim, in which SLU participates.

"The initiative for us to participate came from French researchers, who were fascinated by the fact that we can do without copper in our crops," says Lotta Nordmark, lecturer at SLU.

Soils with high levels of copper

In Sweden, copper has not been used in plant protection products since the 1980s, but it is still used in other EU countries such as France, Italy and Germany where it has resulted in soils with high levels of copper. High levels of copper in the soil have a negative impact on the root environment, and therefore reduce the capacity of grapes to grow.

So how is it that we can grow wine without copper in Sweden? According to Lotta Nordmark, it is partly because we predominantly use grape varieties that are resistant to disease.

In the project, students, academics and professional actors will learn more about how resistant cultivation systems can be structured. The knowledge is based on both scientific and technological advances and the project covers several perennial crops.

Digital platform

The focus is on integrating the climate transition with smarter production methods for grapes and apples.

"The project will also develop a digital platform with educational material from the universities' scientific and educational activities," says Annie Drottberger, lecturer at SLU.

In June, doctoral students from the participating universities will meet at SLU in Alnarp, Skåne, where they will participate in designing the educational material.

"We will take them on a virtual train ride through agricultural landscapes, where they will tell us what they see today and what the same landscape will look like in the future," says Lotta Nordmark.


Newclim is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. Tje project aims at enhancing cooperation between EU universities, with a focus on supporting the climate transition and smarter practices in agriculture sector.

The project will transfer research results to create teaching materials, a digital platform, and common curricula, and adopt a comprehensive approach of the perennial culture.

Newclim will also develop students' and staff's digital competencies through e-learning opportunities and disseminate the final deliverables to a broad audience.