Why are good vineyards located on the hillside?

You may be curious, why are good vineyards located on the hillside? Take you to find out

Choosing a location for a vineyard is like choosing a property: location is the most important thing.

If you often try different types and styles of wine, you will find that the flavors of the wines produced by the vineyards on the snow slopes of Germany and the sunny California vineyards are definitely different. But “location” is not such a simple question. From the cold northern Europe to the warm Greek islands in the south, the location of the vineyard has an important influence on the flavor of the wine.

In the wine world, the orientation of the vineyard is a very critical factor for the growth of the grapes. It can refer to east, west, south, and north; it can also refer to slope and altitude. These factors will affect the temperature and ripeness of the grapes when the grapes are grown.

Essentially, the orientation of the vineyard determines the angle from which the vines receive light and the time period. Excessive light and high yield will not only affect the complexity of the flavor, but also reduce the acidity of the grapes and make them lose their freshness. But too little light can also make the wine taste bitter and tart.

For the northern hemisphere, the south-facing and west-facing hillsides can receive more sunlight and are more suitable for grape growth. This not only ensures that the grapes mature in cool years, but also protects against early spring frosts. In cooler climates, such as Germany and northern Italy, only grapes grown on south-facing slopes can mature. Therefore, almost all the vineyards choose to face the south, so that they can get the fullest sunlight from dawn to dusk.

Even in places like Napa Valley, California, where grapes can ripen early, the orientation of the vineyard plays a big role. Chris Howell, winemaker at Cain Vineyard and Winery, said: “We tend to think that the flavor is dominated by the grape variety, but we were wrong. The vineyard is the dominant one. Location.”

Kane Winery’s vineyards are located in the Mayacamas Mountains in the Spring Mountain District of Napa Valley. The grapes here mature earlier, but because the hillsides here are bowl-shaped, each plot receives a different length of light, so each vineyard here is unique.

“I’m always thinking about the question: In Napa Valley, the north-facing slopes are relatively cooler and are more suitable for growing grapes.” Kane said: “But now I like both the north and south slopes. The wine produced on both slopes is always Each has its own flavor, which is very important for a cool vintage like 2011.”

Kane Winery has vineyards of various orientations. “We can’t pick all the grapes in a day or even a week. We need to pick according to the orientation of the vineyard and the variety of the grapes. That’s why our wines are similar to family members, but they are different. The reason for the style.”

Therefore, high-quality wine is not only related to the location of the vineyard, but also closely related to the planting of the vine and the management of the vineyard.

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