Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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elevation, the height above mean sea level of a location such as a vineyard, often mistakenly referred to as altitude. Local elevation of vineyards above valley floors or flat land determines their air drainage and temperature relations, including liability to frost (see also topography; mesoclimate; climate and wine quality ).

The elevation of a vineyard can have important effects on its climate and therefore on its viticultural potential. Other things being equal, temperature falls by about 0.6 °C (1.1 °F) per 100 m (330 ft) greater height. Planting vineyards at higher elevations is commonly considered a means of avoiding the impact of increasing temperatures related to climate change. For example, torres in Cataluña is developing vineyards in the nearby Pyrenees, while Prager has been planting much higher land than previous generations in the Wachau.