Growing Grapes in Cool and Cold Climates

Grapes February 02, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

The cold, hard truth is that cool-cold areas are best suited for white wine production because

  • white wines generally ripen earlier and
  • they are more forgiving, flexible and adaptable in the hands of a talented winemaker to make a good wine over a wider range of maturity than reds.

In this article on cool-climate viticulture, viticulturist Mark Chien at Pennsylvania State University writes, "It is even more important to do a good job of vineyard planning, design, management, and wine making in order to produce a high quality wine, compared to warm, arid wine regions. The vigneron just has to be better, smarter, more patient, creative and flexible, and able to cope with heartbreak."

This article focuses on

  • getting fruit to full maturity so it can make the best possible wine 
  • having the vines survive the winter in cold climates
  • matching variety to climate 
  • winter injury
  • site selection 
  • canopy management

Recommended Resources

Cold Climate Grape Production

Dormant Pruning: Cold Climate Pruning Strategies

Review of Cold Climate Cultivars

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.