Climate and Wine Quality: Summary

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Two climatic types appear to offer the best compromises for both viticulture and wine quality. The first is that with cool to mild growing season temperatures and uniform to predominantly summer rainfall, such as is found in western and central Europe. Within that context, the best vineyard sites have specialized mesoclimates with more than usual sunshine, warmth, and length of frost-free period.

The second broad climatic type, extending more or less contiguously from the first, comprises the cooler and more humid of the summer-dry mediterranean climates, whenever summer heat is regularly moderated by afternoon sea breezes, and irrigation can be supplied in late summer if needed and permitted. Advantages over the uniform and summer-rainfall climates include more reliable summer sunshine and less risk of excessive rain and humidity during the ripening period.