Hi everyone, this has been driving me nuts for a few hours.
During my WSET Diploma I recall someone mentioning a producer in Bordeaux who constructed an artificial lake/reservoir in order to moderate the microclimate of their vineyards. Numerous online searches have yielded nothing. I asked one of my classmates who reckons it might be Chateau de Reignac, but I could find no sources to back this up.
Does anyone here know who the producer might be, or do you have any other examples around the world where an artificial body of water was constructed for viticultural reasons?
Did your colleague describe what microclimate effects were trying to be changed? You'd have to dig a pretty big lake to have any significant effect.
I can't recall exactly, but I think it may have been to mitigate the risk of frost, acting as a heat sink.
This is a link for Virginia wines specifically the Monticello AVA, many vingerons use bodies of water here to influence the vines. I hope this helps
Thanks Chad, though I'm not seeing any links to Monticello specifically?
See the map here - www.americaswinecountry.com/map
Interesting. I wonder how much success they've had. Unless the vineyard has a lot of situations where the temperature sits at 31.9, I would expect the cost of digging the lake to far outweigh the cost savings on the vines.
Was flipping through my copy of "What Price Bordeax" by Benjamin Lewin MW and finally found the reference. It was indeed Chateau de Reignac. From chapter 5:
"When Yves and Stéphanie Vatelot bought Château de Reignac in 1990, damage to the vines from winter freezes was a constant problem. The vineyards occupy a block of 80ha on a plateau at the high point (about 30m) at Saint-Loubès, towards the northern tip of Entre-deux-Mers. So in 1993 the Vatelots constructed a lake just to the east of the vineyards. About 1000m long and 100m wide, it provides a heat sink that combats the freeze and protects the vineyards. Sometimes the terroir needs a little human help. It's legal when it's not in the vineyards themselves"
Lake Sonoma owes a majority of its volume to the Warm Springs Dam constucted by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1982. The lake has climactic influence on the Rockpile AVA and the northern stretches of the Dry Creek Valley AVA.
It's interesting that they put the lake behind the forest. I wonder if any local universities have studied the effectiveness of the lake (or the forest or both) on regulating local temperature. If not <cracks fingers>, I need to find someone to fund me to hang out --- I mean study the micro-climate effects --- in Bordeaux for a few years.
Wow that's crazy and amazing at the same time!