MW Topic of the Week - vineyard management and wine price points

Hi guys!

After a brief holiday hiatus, Sarah Bray, , and I are back with our weekly study topics.

Today, I am continuing to chip away at Paper 1. 

I'd love for everyone to consider the following question, taken from the 2018 exam:

"Many wine regions can produce wines at a wide range of price points. Referencing at least two of such regions, compare and contrast methods of managing vineyards for high-priced wines and low-priced wines."

Looking forward to your thoughts!



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  • We actually workshopped this question in Adelaide. 

    There are different considerations one must take into account when managing vineyards for the production of high versus low priced wines, with some similarities and some differences in techniques and regulations in various regions around the globe. This essay will discuss the range of viticultural decisions that are made with the end price of the wine in mind. 

    David Lemere MW noted that the examiner would be looking for 5-7 different methods to be addressed, which could extend to: harvesting, irrigation, pruning, disease control, nutrition, weed management, vine training, and yield regulation. Also noted, this question is about management, so vine age/planting/vineyard establishment are all outside of the scope.

    A good contrast would be Europe and somewhere else given that there are yield limits in the OW – costs and inputs matter so much more, versus Australia (where we were), where you can push yields up. Be very specific and drill down to specific areas. Some other considerations may be to bring in examples for different styles of wines (e.g. one region sparkling, one region red).

    For low-priced wines, the primary consideration in vineyard management is reducing costs. Increasing cropping levels and reducing labor costs are the most important factors. Most viticulturalists growing grapes for low-cost wines will minimize risk. For high-priced wines, the main motivation is maximizing quality, within reason of one’s budget.

    I'll dig through notes and see what other specific examples I have, but noting hard costs here would be important.