Top 10 cool climate wine regions

As the International Cool Climate Wine Symposium approaches, Sally Easton MW takes a look at some of the world’s most prominent cool climate regions, counting down through the coolest of cool climate regions based on GST temperatures.

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Growing season temperature (GST) is the average temperature for each month of the seven month growing season (October to April in the southern hemisphere; April to September in the northern hemisphere), divided by seven. Typically, cool climate refers to regions with a GST of between 13 to 15°C. Here, we have taken into consideration cool climate regions that produce wine of a high enough quality and in enough volume to be commercially viable, even if not widely exported.

“GST came about because most of the general public and even many in viticulture and wine production either do not understand what growing degree days (GDD) truly are or how to appropriately calculate GDD or compare values”, says Dr Greg Jones, professor of environmental science and policy at Southern Oregon University. “GST is basically simple to calculate, is a temperature, and is correlated at the 99% level with GDD.”

Jones defines “cool climate” as being 13 to 15°C GST, while Dr. Andrew Pirie, owner of Apogee in Tasmania, who is also researching into GSTs, defines it as 14 to 16°C, with 13 to 14°C as “very cool”. Definitions are a work in progress, and with climate change, GSTs are a moving feast.

Click through for a look at the world’s top cool climate wine regions, and click here for our top 10 most unusual winemaking regions.

Let us know if you have any further suggestions…

The International Cool Climate Wine Symposium (ICCWS) is set to take place in Brighton, England, from 26 to 28 May. For more information and tickets click here. 

Sources:
• GST data in chart provided by Prof. Greg Jones
• Plantings/cultivars: various national/regional growers’/makers’ associations and statistics

Caveats:
• Chart uses provisional GST data. GSTs in text are from different sources.
• GSTs are typically for one location.It can be tricky to extrapolate them for a whole region/country.
• Locations with just a few (hundred) hectares have not been included.

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