Cool-Climate Viticulture

Definition - What does Cool-Climate Viticulture mean?

Cool-climate viticulture denotes vine growing regions that have cooler temperatures during the summer and the potential to frost or freeze during the winter. The viticulture in these cool-climate regions must be strategically planned to promote heat conservation, control of soil moisture and wind/water flow. Winemakers must also select hearty vines that can withstand cold temperatures, early ripening, late bud break and freezes or frosts during the winter. Some notable wines like Champagne, Riesling, Chardonnay and other white wines come from cool-climates.

WineFrog explains Cool-Climate Viticulture

When planting vineyards in these regions, the viticulturist must select a site carefully, using slopes or southern aspects and choose cold-resistant or early-ripening varietals, which are preferred for cool climates. Excessive soil moisture can be avoided by planting in areas that receive less rainfall and using stony soils that can help the roots stay warm due to their conduction characteristics.

There are practices that can be used to prevent the vines from frost injury or wintertime death, like wind machines or overhead sprinklers, chemical additives like Frostguard or copper and/or an effective water drainage system. Typical cool climate regions are in high altitudes in the northern hemispheres in countries like Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France’s Loire Valley and Champagne region, Tasmania and Washington state. White grape varietals sustain colder climates and produce superior wines with refreshing acidity, observable minerality and lower alcohol content.

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