#WineTips36 – Micro-Climate

WineTips36Micro-climate is the local atmospheric or weather conditions that exist in and around a particular block of vines or other geographic area. Micro-climates can vary even within a few tens of meters. In a vineyard, conditions in the middle of even a single vineyard block depend on different vegetation bordering the block, water drainage conditions under the surface, soil differences, elevation, aspect, etc.

Just a few metres one way or another can make a difference! Either up, down, left, right, front or back. Small local variations in Micro-climate can contribute to differences in temperatures, humidity, airflow rates to name a few. Which in turn can impact on susceptibility to disease, the start of bud burst, vegetation growth rates and density, the potential for fruit rot at harvest time, etc

Hence small differences in Micro-climate can contribute to larger differences in aromas and taste of the final. It is the vigneron’s job to work in harmony with the climatic conditions in order to optimise the soil, plant and treatment regimes. It is then the winemaker’s turn to adjust the wine making techniques to obtain the best overall resulting wine and taste from that vineyard.

Different vineyard blocks even within a similar local region may therefore require a different viticultural and winemaking strategy in order to arrive at the best wine product. Other factors that can influence Micro-climate include human activity such as buildings and walls. In many old world wineries, vineyard blocks are surrounded by walls in order to provide additional protection from the surrounding elements, reduce wind impact and change the microclimate to the advantage of the vigneron.

It may also be prudent to carefully select a new vineyard site by taking Micro-climate into account with a number of other important considerations such as soil, geography and topography that make up the overall ‘terroir’ of a vineyard.