Climate Classification: Australian alternatives

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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The classification that Smart and Dry developed in Australia involves five separate climate elements of temperature, sunlight, rainfall, evaporation, and humidity, but is still tolerably simple and workable. Smart and Dry preferred to use the simple statistic of average mean temperature for January (MJT; July in the northern hemisphere) as a usable index of summer heat. It is complemented by an index of continentality (the difference between mean summer and winter temperatures) to show the amplitude of swings in temperatures through the 12 months, together with indices of sunlight, humidity, and water relations. The resulting five-way classification gives a reasonable overview of viticultural climates, and has been widely used for vineyard site selection and regional comparison.