Thank you for Darla Hoffmann, Melanie Chang, Michelle Paris, and Kamal Malik for contributing to last week's discussion on Palo Cortado! Geoff also left an important note on the end so be sure to take a peek if you missed it!
This week: Cool Climate Viticulture
Describe methods vineyard managers can use to encourage ripening in cooler climates and growing years.
In addition to Darla's excellent response, I would add exposure is vastly important. Planting on South facing slopes to maximize UV gain is critical. Also, planting near bodies of water (rivers,lakes) that act as heat sinks and can moderate cooler night time temperatures will have a profound effect on ripening fruit in cooler climates.
Along those lines, Canopy management is important. Each cluster needs enough leaves to promote photosynthesis needed for ripening, but position and vigor should be thought about so as to not overly shade the grapes in cool climates.
Overall vine health is also important.Vines need optimal amount of light, heat, nutrients and water to grow and ripen, especially in cooler or more marginal areas. For example, excessive water can promote leaf growth rather than fruit ripeness.Conversely, inadequate water would delay ripening as it delays the vines'ability to go through biochemical pathways to reach ripeness. So, the managers would have to consider and manage all these variables as well.
Vine training method is also important in terms of achieving optimal ripeness as well as managing yield and disease pressure.