|Author: ||B.G. Coombe|
Temperature is acknowledged as a major influence on grape composition and quality; many would say it is the prime factor.
This opinion derives principally from subjective judgements of quality differences between regional wines followed by generalising descriptions of the climates of regions (usually by use of temperature indices) and further developed by correlations with phenological and compositional measures.
The difficulties inherent in this ecological approach are discussed and a critical assessment made of the conclusions which have been drawn.
The experimental alternative of exposing whole vines to specified temperature treatments is expensive and therefore not common.
The effects of such treatments on some compositional factors are summarised.
There are obvious problems in interpreting these results, obtained from small lots of grapes, in terms of wine quality.
However new methodology suggests such interpretation may become possible.
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