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Color in grapes from different climates

I am in the process of studying for the Certified test and had a question on the color in grapes from different climates. I was reading my Deductive Tasting Method Workshop packet from the CMS and it has in the section, GEOGRAPHY IMPACT under deductive logic parameters for warmer and cooler climates, some contradiction with what The Science of Tasting info the Guild has. 

In the Workshop packet is has "Color is slightly darker for the grape variety" under the warmer climate section and "Color is pale for the grape variety" under the cooler climate section. In The Science of Tasting info from the Guild it says that this is a not true. It states that color (anthocyanins) is inhibited by heat and that cooler vintages can produce darker colored wines than warmer ones. 

Any of my awesome wine cohorts want to clear this up for me?!



  • In my experience, there are numerous factors involved and colour also depends on winemaking practices. I live near to the Willamette Valley so that is the region in which I am most familiar. The moderate 2008 vintage in the Willamette Valley produced darker coloured wines and more blue fruits (boysenberry, blueberry) because the berries were smaller, hence higher skin to juice ratio, than either an abundant hot vintage such as 2009/2012/2014 or a cool vintage such as 2007 or 2011. Colour and concentration in 2013 depended on whether you picked before, during or after the rains.
    Can you identify which Syrah is Northern Rhone vs South Australia by colour alone? I can't. I have seen high quality examples of both that are deep purple or less intensely hued. Personally speaking, I wouldn't worry too much about the intricacies of depth of colour in deductive tasting. Identify thin-skinned, medium, and thick-skinned grapes and let the quality of the fruit (just ripe, ripe, over ripe, dried) speak to you about the possible growing conditions.
    Here is a quote from a paper written by Dr. Bruce W. Zoecklein for the Wine/Enology Grape Chemistry Group at Virginia Tech: Anthocyanins, as a group, have an optimum temperature range of about 17 to 26°C, suggesting that berry color would be more difficult to achieve in extremely warm and extremely cool regions. Excessive berry exposure and excessive
    canopy shade can also impact the rate of berry maturity and, thus, color development. Excessive irrigation, too much nitrogen, calcium deficiency and Botrytis growth can negatively impact grape color.
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