Chapter 4

Vineyard Site Selection

(book excerpts)

Vineyard site selection is probably the most important, fundamental, irreversible decision in the life of a vineyard. It takes several years to develop and establish a vineyard and for the vines to produce a regular crop of grapes with the vineyard remaining productive for many decades. Although the grapevine can grow in many places, its successful cultivation for quality wine production is limited to sites where specific characteristics and conditions occur and the necessary management practices can be achieved. The main factors affecting vines, their development and annual cycle of growth, and the crop produced each year include: physical environment (e.g., landform, altitude, slope, aspect, natural & built features, soils, nutrients, water & drainage); natural phenomena (e.g., climate, heat summations, seasonal variations, longer term cycles and fluctuations, weather & hazards); viticulture and vineyard management (e.g., selection of sites, design and layout of vineyards, varieties and rootstocks, infrastructures & services such as irrigation). All of thee factors contribute to the terroir of a regionís wine. Terroir (pronounced tair-wahr) is a French concept in which a complex interplay of physical factors and cultural influences interact to define the wine styles and quality that come from any vineyard site or region.

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