Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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irrigation, the application of water to growing plants such as vines, effectively a man-made simulation of rainfall, which can be useful, even essential, in drier regions. Few vineyard practices are more maligned, or misunderstood, than irrigation.

In its commonly visualized form, irrigation is carried out in hot, arid regions, and employs furrow or sprinkler distribution to maximize yield for table grapes, drying grapes, and bulk wines. That is the background for the widely held view, especially in France, that only dryland viticulture can produce outstanding wines, and that irrigation inevitably reduces quality.