12-grapes-nye-spainON the chime of every New Year’s Eve midnight bell, Spanish revellers gobble down an uva.

But one of Spain’s most cherished celebratory traditions is being threatened by climate change.

Grape farmers in Alicante’s Valle del Vinalopó, where the grapes are grown, are reporting that unseasonably warm weather is causing grapes to ripen too early.

“Climate change has been fatal,” said farmer Ismael Pastor.

“The heat is bad for the grapes, as they mature earlier. Then we have to carry on until Christmas using fertilizers and other products.

“Then heavy rains arrive and the grapes rot. This year, many crops have been ruined.”

While climate change caused headaches for Mediterranean grape farmers, Alicante police are flying in a novel way of guarding a New Year’s’ grape stash from wandering hands.

A drone is patrolling the Novelda grape crop ,covering more than 1,000 hectares, which yields 25 million kilos each year.

The move comes after thieves pilfered large quantities of grapes in previous years.

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