Cool Climate Wines

The most important criteria for the production of quality wine is climate.

Similar to good food which can only be made with good, high quality ingredients, great wine can only be made with good fruit with the winemaker being the custodian of the fruit in the cellar.

The world's greatest table wines traditionally come from the cool to intermediate temperature climates and the Cape South Coast with its large diversity of altitudes, aspects (N, S, W and E) and distance from the Atlantic has average climates in the cool to intermediate classification.

Grapes planted in their optimum climate result in physiological ripening of grapes, with sugar, acid and ph being in balance to produce wines of distinction. Cool to intermediate climate wines are characterized by lower alcohols, delicate fruit and good, balanced, natural acidity. When grapes are planted in warmer climates than optimum, reasonable to good wines can be produced but they tend to have higher alcohol levels and could show as sweet, hot (alcohol too high) and jammy. In these areas producers will sometimes pick at lower sugar levels to get lower alcohols but these wines will often show a green character.

Careful canopy management, soils, aspect (orientation of slopes) and irrigation can, to a limited extent influence the micro-climate of the vine and counter some of the effects of excessive temperatures.

The ideal condition for ripening grapes is in declining temperatures moving towards harvest in March and April which is generally the case in the Cape South Coast.