<Arts Talk>Will Geography Factors Influence the Style of Wine?

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Geographical location does influence the taste of wine, such as temperature, altitude, soil type. The place grapes are grown and how they mature are the core factors determining the characteristics of the final wine. 


Many places in the world are too cold or too hot to grow grapes. Grapevines need the right amount of water, nutrition, sunlight and warmth to thrive. If the temperature is too low, the grapes hard grow mature. If the temperature is too high, they may over-ripen, and the wines will then taste bad and lack freshness. The best conditions are usually between 30 to 50 degrees latitude on both sides of the equator, where maximizing the warmth and sunlight factors is necessary to help the grapes mature. 


Most vineyards stayed on a gentle slope, and in some cases, the slopes can be very steep. The angle of the slope affects how much sunlight the vine can get. Vineyards facing the equator are warmer and with more sunlight than those back to the equator. The slopes also help to avoid frost. Cold air tends to roll down from the mountains and gather at the bottom, which means that vineyards on hillsides are less affected by frost than vineyards on valley bottoms. 


During warmer climates, altitude can alleviate high temperatures. For every 100 meters it rises, the temperature drops by about 0.6 degrees Celsius. That is particularly important in the areas such as Mendoza, Argentina, where the vineyards are above 1,000 meters above sea level. The cool climate of the Andes slows down the ripening process of the grapes and helps maintain their most important freshness. 


The soil of each vineyard also amplifies the influence of climate. For example, light-coloured soil reflects sunlight, while dark-coloured stony soil stores and dissipates heat. Soils with a lot of clay are usually colder because they are good at absorbing and holding water, which is very useful in dry climates. All these different factors combined create the uniqueness of each vineyard and provide a variety of wine styles.



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