California produces on average more than 5 million gallons per year, or about 90 percent of the nation's total wine production, according to the Wine Institute, a California winemakers trade organization.
Loss of wine revenues would be yet another hit to the economically troubled Golden State. The Wine Institute estimated the retail value of the state's wine industry in 2010 at $18.5 billion.
To develop their forecasts of the West Coast's changing climate the researchers used a model that assumed an increase of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius).
"World governments have said that to reduce the negative impacts of climate change, global warming should be limited to an increase of 1 degree Celsius," Diffenbaugh said.
But even that modest increase in temperature, caused the wine barrels to run dry.
"I was surprised that local temperature changes could have such a big impact on an important industry with only 1 degree Celsius of global warming." Diffenbaugh said.
Knowing that climate change could shrivel their harvests, winegrowers can plan ahead, but planting for the future can be a gamble.