Topic of the Week 8/7 - Masters

Hi everyone! It looks like botrytis was a hit last week, hopefully everyone took something away from that discussion. Take a peek here if you missed it!

This week's topic: AVA elevation.

There are a few California, Oregon, and Washington AVAs with minimum elevation requirements. Describe why these minimums are important for the region(s) and cite specific examples.

  • Would it be off topic to include a few with maximums as well?
  • In reply to Jeremy Eubanks:

    Absolutely, I think that is appropriate as well!
  • The 6 nested AVAs of Willamette are required to be 200ft and above;
    Mendocino Ridge is non-continuous minimum 1,200 feet;
    Rockpile is 800 feet;
    Howell Mountain 1,400 ft
    Fort Ross Seaview min 920-1800ft

    among quite a few others...

    "There are certain aspects that are true of all elevation delineated AVA’s; poor soils, steep slopes, little water retention and great sun and wind exposures. ...these aspects are [often] exaggerated due to the lack of fog."

    But parts of Washington east of the Cascades. The lower you go on the syncline and antcline ridges, the colder and more prone to frost the vines become.

    Really depends on the area. The higher you go in Napa, the colder it gets while the higher you go in the Sonoma Coast AVA(getting above the inversion layer) the warmer it gets.

    Any thoughts? Agree, disagree?
  • In reply to Alex Silverman:

    “The higher you go in Napa, the colder it gets…”

    During the growing season, the valley floor in Napa is hotter than the mountains in the DAYTIME. However at NIGHTTIME the mountain properties tend to be warmer as cold air sinks to the valley floor at night. Photosynthesis and its related metabolizing processes shut down around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Counter intuitively, the mountain properties continue their phenolic maturation during the evenings in the summertime, whereas the more extreme diurnal shift of the floor properties causes an on/off switch with phenolic maturation. The mountain properties tend to achieve co-synchronous phenolic and physiological ripeness via this “low & slow” process.
  • In reply to Jaime Pinedo:

    On the valley floor the gravel is holding on to the heat of the day, how are the soils at higher elevations in Napa playing into the higher elevation nighttime temps at the microclimate level?