Have you ever visited a vineyard, intending on simply trying the wines and moving on, but then found yourself wondering how the different block locations were selected? Perhaps you noticed a specific varietal is set further up in elevation than another and wondered what the purpose was. It is a good bet that the wines you were so intent on tasting were affected by those very decisions. In fact, it’s a winning bet indeed.
We’re sure you already know that some grape varietals do not do well in wet conditions, just as some do terribly if placed in areas that are drained too heavily. Each varietal has its own traits, natural tendencies, and needs, just like a child. Much like parents, the folks that design the blocks of a vineyard must select the very best environment for their “children” and then provide them with the best possible care as well.
Each varietal, as we mentioned, has its own distinct needs. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon needs a greater temperature in order to ripen to its full capacity, while Pinot Noir will end up becoming over-ripe without a slightly cooler temperature to protect it. Sudden temperature spikes in the micro-climate of Pinot could result in an early harvest being necessary, which is going to affect the overall yield of the crop. However, if an early harvest is not introduced, the crop could be ruined entirely, which would mean no yield at all.
As you can see, a vineyard manager must be very mindful of the placement of their blocks, as well as of the weather, which will affect their day-to-day movements. This is why so many vineyards are so proud of those shining years where everything goes absolutely perfect because with so many factors touching their wines, it is those rare moments when the very best can be attained.
The next time you visit a vineyard, ask the staff about the micro-climate of each block, the soil, and how the weather has been for them lately. You’ll gain a much deeper insight into the wines you are tasting and that just might make them all the better for you and your visit much more enjoyable. Be sure to stop back here and let us know about any of the vineyards you have visited as well. We love to hear from our readers and those vineyards may become future featured vineyards here on our blog!