So I started my WSET Diploma this year, Ive taken my first exam (and passed with distinction!) on Wine Production; Vinification and Viticulture, and now getting ready for my next exam on "Fortified" - everything Port, Madeira, Vin Doux Naturels and Sherry related. I've also just signed up for the introductory course for Court of Master Sommeliers course... a bit more service and hospitality related - so 2016 seems like a busy year for me!
I hate revising exams just to pass them, and don't want to think in a few months time I will have forgotten everything I crammed into my head days before sitting my Unit 2 Exam! So I'd like to use this blog, not just to write interesting things for everyone to read, but also as a way to revise and keep my mind updated for me aswell! Im sure you will all find it interesting too mind you...
The Vines Growing Environment
Sunlight, water and Carbon Dioxide -> these are photosynthesised by chlorophyll -> to make GLUCOSE.
Glucose combines to make larger carbohydrates to build the vine, and also contribute to the creation of tannins, acids and flavour compounds of the grape. Temperature is also important to take into consideration within this category - the optimum being 22-25'C, with the vine being dormant below 10'C: With an increase of temperature, the vine increases it metabolism - thus increasing its need for sunlight, water and carbon dioxide.
Regional Climate Classification:
COOL; mean average temperature during the growing season BELOW 16'C - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir ; Mosel, South England
MODERATE; 16.5'C - 18.5'C - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese ; Bordeaux, Rioja, Piedmont, Tuscany, Marlborough
WARM; 18.5'C - 21'C - Grenache - S.Rhone, Douro (Port), Jerez, Paarl, Mclaren Vale
HOT; +21'C - table and drying grapes
We can also classify growing climates according to their continentality - the difference between the hottest and coldest month essentially. Somewhere which experiences large differences in temperatures during winter and summer is classed as continental, and where the differences are small; climates are classed as maritime.
MARITIME; a low annual range of temperatures (warm summers and mild winters) along with high rainfall. A long berry ripening stage and usually found near large bodies of water; Bordeaux, East coast of New Zealand.
MEDITERRANEAN; also a low annual range of temperatures but with most of the rain falling in winter; the Med, West coast of the US, Chile, SE Australia, Cape of South Africa.
CONTINENTAL; a wide range of temperatures, with hot summers and cold winters, usually found inland; Central Europe, Spain and Mendoza.
TROPICAL; These areas have little temperature variation, so are tricky! - Vines need dormant periods where they can restore their carbohydrate reserves and rest. If unable too, it leads to vines producing grapes more than once a year, but at the moment it seems pretty on trend to find obscure and unusual wines from places, unfortunately it leads to a shorter productive lifespan (e.g. India and Brazil).
"Either give me more wine or leave me alone" anon/me/everyone