Jump to content


Photo

Grapes For Warm To Hot Climes, Mediterranean Style


  • Please log in to reply
91 replies to this topic

#1 Abraxas

Abraxas

    Veteran Wine Maker

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 401 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fredericksburg, TX - 1,755' elevation

Posted 04 March 2009 - 07:17 AM

Man, have I researched "hot weather" Mediterranean type grapes to death, for years, so I thought I would start a thread about "them" and get others' exeriences and input.

Since our (Central Texas) night time temps don't drop below about 70F during ripening times, July - August, and our days are easily 95F or above, it pays to select grapes that are indigenous and/or adapt well to our clime. To me and many others here in Texas (which is fast becoming a huge grape growing area with new wineries popping up every day), the international stereotypical varietals do not belong in most Texas areas i.e. Cab, Chard, Pinot Noir, Merlot. I have talked to peeps who are experimenting and producing good wine using such "hot" grapes. Pioneers such as Paul Verdegaal from the Lodi and San Joaquin area have experimented with quite a few of "them". So far, I have planted varietals known for standing up well on their own or used in a blend:

Syrah 174 on 1103P
Syrah 877 on 110R
Grenache Noir 03 on 1103P
Petit Verdot 02 on 1103P (am very excited about this one)
Viognier 01 on 1103P
Mouvedre 04 on 1103P

....and arriving by FedX this week:

Vermentino on 1103P
Tannat on 1103P
Aglianico VCR 02 on 1103P (doing a swap for some of my Tannat)

Sourced - Vintage Nurseries and NovaVine.

Soil - heavy red clay loam ripped to a depth of 24" with a tractor chisel. Sandy caliche under the loam.

Elevation - 1,750'. Rows - N/S

All of those grapes are doing well in Texas. My Mouvedre and Grenache have grown so well on 1st leaf that I can let them crop this year, lightly. Their trunks are 1" or better in girth, cordon arms half inch thick, bull canes 6-9' long on Mouvedre, Grenache and P. Verdot. Viognier is the weakest grower. Syrah is fair to good. I assume the excellent growth is due to my ripping the soil and using an encapsulated, 10 month food - Harrell's Polyon 18-4-9 with micros, handful scratched in around each vine. I swear by that product and use it on everything - newly planted peach trees, olives, pecans, oaks, etc. It is totally regulated by temperature, not moisture.

Some of my selection criteria used, most all of it realized:

1. Thick skins for good tannins, color, and lower disease pressures. Open (loose) cluster a bonus,
2. Mid to late budbreak (which the 1103P will also impart) and late ripening (which suggests to me that my selections need alot of heat units),
3. Indigenous to hot Mediterranean type climes or warm Rhone, adaptable to "our" climes,
4. Mid to high levels of acid, moderate brix that will hold up well in our heat,
4. Easy to grow with moderate to high production.

Since I can't seem to be able to kiss all the pretty ladies, others worth considering after much research are:

Reds:

1. Barbera
2. Sangiovese
3. Montepulcino
4. Malbec
5. Touriga Nacional
6. Nero d'Avola
7. Negro Amaro
8. Primitivo
9. Tempranillo
10. Refosco
11. Petit Syrah

Whites:

1. Chenin blanc
2. Picpoul blanc
3. Verdelho
4. Arneis
5. Arinta
6. Pinot Grigio
7. Greco di Tufo
8. Fiano
9. Albarino

Most of those "oddball" grapes are now available or will be available in 2010 and 2011 from such nurseries as Sunridge, Vintage and NovaVine. Last time I checked Novavine's inventory they about had 500,000 dormant bench grafts left on many rootstock choices.

Variety Observation Trial by Paul Verdegaal:
http://ucce.ucdavis..../2019/21315.pdf

Clonal chararcteristics:
http://www.duartenur.../clonalinfo.pdf

Italian varietals:
http://www.cal-itali.../aglianico.html

Happy gardening,
Mark
Central Texas

#2 gregmg

gregmg

    Look Out Ernest & Julio

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1796 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Mesa, Arizona, 1200 ft elevation

Posted 04 March 2009 - 07:33 AM

There have been several threads on this topic recently. Several of us in the deserts of Arizona, southern California, and Nevada are experimenting with hot climate grapes.

Syrah on 110R can be slow growing. At least that's been the experience of several in this forum, including myself.

Tempranillo performs quite well in the desert, but requires an acid adjustment.

My lone Sangiovese vine hasn't done especially well. You can't draw any conclusions from one vine, but at this point I wouldn't recommend the variety.

Barbera is highly recommended for desert viticulture. Several of us in Arizona have gone in together on a large order; I'm anxious to see how it does.

Muscat is an excellent white grape for hot climates. I have four and so far they have done quite well.

Greg G.

#3 Abraxas

Abraxas

    Veteran Wine Maker

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 401 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fredericksburg, TX - 1,755' elevation

Posted 04 March 2009 - 07:59 AM

Howdy! I saw those threads but decided to start one for ALL hot weather folks as I think Arizona, Nevada, southern Cali and most of Texas share the same challenges. I hope I'm not being redundant.

Regarding 110R, it likes my soil. I have heard it takes a while to "set its feet" and then takes off. What's funny is that Syrah on 110R and 1103P are supposed to be vigorous material, but many are not finding that to be the case it seems. Let's put it this way, compared to Mouv and Grenache, Syrah is well behaved.

QUOTE
Tempranillo performs quite well in the desert, but requires an acid adjustment.


As do many varietals as the sugar shoots up and the acid falls out toward harvest. Hang time is hard to come by it seems without a washout of some components, reason why I mentioned them - tannins, acid.

QUOTE
My lone Sangiovese vine hasn't done especially well. You can't draw any conclusions from one vine, but at this point I wouldn't recommend the variety.


It is doing real well here, producing award winning wines in national competitions. Might want to give clones 06 and 23 a shot.

Good acids on Barbera. Good luck with that selection!

Don't the desert areas experience a wide swing in day to night temps? That's what's important.

QUOTE
Muscat is an excellent white grape for hot climates. I have four and so far they have done quite well.

Greg G.


Yep, one I failed to mention which is doing very well here. Like I said, "you can't kiss all the pretty ladies."

Regards,
Mark

#4 gregmg

gregmg

    Look Out Ernest & Julio

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1796 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Mesa, Arizona, 1200 ft elevation

Posted 04 March 2009 - 08:47 AM

QUOTE (Abraxas @ Mar 4 2009, 07:31 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Don't the desert areas experience a wide swing in day to night temps? That's what's important.

Some desert areas experience a wide swing in day/night temps, but not this one. All of the infrastructure (concrete, asphalt, masonry, etc.) captures a lot of heat during the day and carries it into the night. It's not unusual for it to be 100 degrees at midnight here.

Greg G.



#5 DesertDance

DesertDance

    Look Out Ernest & Julio

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1572 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:USDA Zone 9a, Sunset Zone 19. So.CA
  • Interests:Golf, The Grand kids, the vineyard, and it's pals.. The
    vineyard, Citrus, Figs, Olives, Pomegranates, and blueberries. And let us not forget the Roses!!

Posted 04 March 2009 - 09:33 AM

I'm glad you started this thread! I'm sure it will have a lot of action from the desert dwellers. I'll be watching it closely. My vines have been ordered. Before i discovered this forum, I purchased three vines from Home Depot. 2 flame seedless, and 1 other who's name I can't remember. Has pearl in it.

Regardless, how are your flame seedless doing, and what are the characteristics of the wine made from them?

I know flame seedless and thompson seedless grow well in our Coachella Valley. When you buy table grapes at Costco, they come from my area. Huge commercial growers here, but no one is making wine! Just little ole me!

I recieved a lot of good advice on another thread, and I purchased my wine vines yesterday. I know it will be a few years till I can make wine with my own grapes, but I am determined!!

We don't all have tons of acres to grow grapes, and most can't buy the minimum required by big nurseries. Rockin-L-Ranch was recommended to me and they are on Ebay. Prior to getting that recommendation, I found another online nursery that accepts small orders. They are located in the same area as Rockin L, but are much less expensive. That one is www.mypersonalvineyard.com The vines I ordered are all 2 years old. I'll keep you posted on their arrival condition and of course over time how they perform. The website recommends the use of planting sleeves, so I ordered those also. Have any of you used these things? If so, have they helped?

Here is what I ordered:
Code Item Qty Price Total
mouvedre Mouvere
1 $7.99 $7.99
tempranillo02kber5bb Tempranillo #02 on Kober 5bb Rootstock
2 $8.99 $17.98
Barbera Barbera
1 $7.99 $7.99
plantingsleeves Planting Sleeves
6 $0.75 $4.50
CabSauv08 Cabernet Sauvignon #08
1 $7.99 $7.99
nebbiolo Nebbiolo Grapevines
1 $7.99 $7.99

Sub Total: $54.44
Tax (8%): $1.64
Shipping: $19.50
Grand Total: $75.58

Again! Thanks for giving us an area specific place to compare notes and whine about growing grapes under harsh desert conditions. Also a place to gloat mid summer about those midnight swims under the stars in a 94 degree pool with a glass of homemade wine sitting on the deck. Ahhhhhhhhh

Suzi

#6 Hollywood Hill Vineyards

Hollywood Hill Vineyards

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 716 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Woodinville, WA
  • Interests:Grapegrowing and winemaking of course!

Posted 04 March 2009 - 11:23 AM

Most of the grapes you have picked out are really for cooler climates. According to John Gladstones in his book "Viticulture and Environment" he seperates grapes into 8 groups. Groups 7 & 8 have these grapes in them:

Reds: Aramon, Petit Verdot, Mataro, Carignan, Grenache, Monastrell, Grignolino, Tarrango, Terret Noir
Whites: Trebbiano, Montils, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Doradillo, Biancone

I would add Zinfandel to that list.

Grapes like Malbec, Barbera, Cabernet are listed as groups 4 & 5.

Almost al lthe whites you picked are suited to cool climates. I can grow Pinot Gris here in the Seattle area. It's not to say that you can't grow them, but you'll be picking fruit in June!

Group 7 is designated as having 2340 degree days and group 8 having 2520 degree days.

Steve Snyder
Owner/Winemaker/Grower
www.hollywoodhillvineyards.com

 


#7 Abraxas

Abraxas

    Veteran Wine Maker

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 401 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fredericksburg, TX - 1,755' elevation

Posted 04 March 2009 - 12:24 PM

QUOTE (gregmg @ Mar 4 2009, 09:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Some desert areas experience a wide swing in day/night temps, but not this one. All of the infrastructure (concrete, asphalt, masonry, etc.) captures a lot of heat during the day and carries it into the night. It's not unusual for it to be 100 degrees at midnight here.

Greg G.


What's the temp just before sunrise? In that kind of heat, what is making a fine wine?

QUOTE (Hollywood Hill Vineyards @ Mar 4 2009, 11:55 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Most of the grapes you have picked out are really for cooler climates. According to John Gladstones in his book "Viticulture and Environment" he seperates grapes into 8 groups. Groups 7 & 8 have these grapes in them:

Reds: Aramon, Petit Verdot, Mataro, Carignan, Grenache, Monastrell, Grignolino, Tarrango, Terret Noir
Whites: Trebbiano, Montils, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Doradillo, Biancone

I would add Zinfandel to that list.

Grapes like Malbec, Barbera, Cabernet are listed as groups 4 & 5.


Thanks for the info. Guess I need to check out John Gladstones as some of his picks originate from cooler climes like Montils, Bordeaux and Cognac, low acidity too. I assume his picks focus on what makes good wine, because Tempranillo makes a great wine here in Texas as does Sangiovese, Barbera, and others. Aglianico excels in the hottest of climates according to locals backed up by NovaVine, Fiano loves heat, etc.

Here's an interesting article with varietal choices mentioned about page 4. http://www.newworldw...les/view?id=223

#8 gregmg

gregmg

    Look Out Ernest & Julio

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1796 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Mesa, Arizona, 1200 ft elevation

Posted 04 March 2009 - 12:28 PM

QUOTE (Hollywood Hill Vineyards @ Mar 4 2009, 10:55 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Most of the grapes you have picked out are really for cooler climates. According to John Gladstones in his book "Viticulture and Environment" he seperates grapes into 8 groups. Groups 7 & 8 have these grapes in them:

Reds: Aramon, Petit Verdot, Mataro, Carignan, Grenache, Monastrell, Grignolino, Tarrango, Terret Noir
Whites: Trebbiano, Montils, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Doradillo, Biancone

I would add Zinfandel to that list.

Grapes like Malbec, Barbera, Cabernet are listed as groups 4 & 5.

Almost al lthe whites you picked are suited to cool climates. I can grow Pinot Gris here in the Seattle area. It's not to say that you can't grow them, but you'll be picking fruit in June!

Group 7 is designated as having 2340 degree days and group 8 having 2520 degree days.

There are a number of discrepancies between various sources regarding what grapes are good in what zones.

A number of vineyards in Southern Arizona are trying Barbera. They probably all got the same advice from the UofA. Although some sources might suggest this as cooler climate grape, its ability to retain acid and develop good tannins in the most extreme heat is what many in the desert find appealing.

A French winemaker I've met who is running a successful vineyard and winery in Paso Robles suggested I try Petite Verdot. He said it almost never ripens well in Bordeaux, but would probably do well in Arizona. I did a little more research on this variety and found that many believe it was originally from a hotter region of the Mediteranean and was transplanted to Bordeaux long ago. Although some think of this variety as a warm climate grape, many still associate it Bordeaux and don't recommend it for the desert.

I think in reality, there's a broad range of climates that most grapes will perform well in.

Greg G.

#9 gregmg

gregmg

    Look Out Ernest & Julio

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1796 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Mesa, Arizona, 1200 ft elevation

Posted 04 March 2009 - 12:37 PM

QUOTE (Abraxas @ Mar 4 2009, 11:56 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What's the temp just before sunrise? In that kind of heat, what is making a fine wine?

The average low in June is 72; in July it's 80.

I don't think for a minute that I have any chance of making a wine that could compare well to those of Napa, Sonoma, or Paso. I really believe however, through careful selection of varietals and proper viticultural and winemaking techniques, I can produce a decent table wine for family and friends to enjoy.

Every varietal I tried so far has some sort of drawback in this heat. Tempranillo requires a big acid adjustment, Nebbiolo lacks color, Syrah grows slowly, Cab can taste a bit cooked or jammy, etc. I'm generally satisfied with my results so far, but I have to admit that there are reasons why you don't find wine grape vineyards in the desert.

Greg G.



#10 Abraxas

Abraxas

    Veteran Wine Maker

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 401 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fredericksburg, TX - 1,755' elevation

Posted 04 March 2009 - 12:39 PM

QUOTE (gregmg @ Mar 4 2009, 01:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
A French winemaker I've met who is running a successful vineyard and winery in Paso Robles suggested I try Petite Verdot. He said it almost never ripens well in Bordeaux, but would probably do well in Arizona. I did a little more research on this variety and found that many believe it was originally from a hotter region of the Mediteranean and was transplanted to Bordeaux long ago. Although some think of this variety as a warm climate grape, many still associate it Bordeaux and don't recommend it for the desert.

I think in reality, there's a broad range of climates that most grapes will perform well in.

Greg G.


Yep, that's why I said I'm excited about that one. Apparently it doesn't yield real well especially clone 1, but the fact that it has alot of fruit, thick skins, is very late, great tannins and acidity makes it worth your while.....and the fact that it is falling out of favor in Bordeaux should be a green flag.

Try an Aussie Petite Verdot. I think you'll be really impressed.


#11 gregmg

gregmg

    Look Out Ernest & Julio

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1796 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Mesa, Arizona, 1200 ft elevation

Posted 04 March 2009 - 12:53 PM

QUOTE (Abraxas @ Mar 4 2009, 12:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Try an Aussie Petite Verdot. I think you'll be really impressed.

I've had a number of PV's from Chile or Argentina. There seems to be more interest in these 2nd tier French varietals south of the equator.

All that I had were good, but I think PV is a bit weak on the front and back of the palate; it seems to come on the strongest mid-palate. As such, I think it's best as a blending varietal. My lone PV vine is only a year old, so I'm not able to offer any first had experience with it.

Greg G.



#12 slowmo

slowmo

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 69 posts
  • Location:san diego

Posted 04 March 2009 - 12:53 PM

Here are links to a 6 part series in 2006 from a South African publication that was billed as

"A provocative six-part read that argues New World winemakers are producing French 'classic' continental-climate wines in Mediterranean climates rather than optimising grape varietals to suit their climates."

http://www.newworldw...les/view?id=223

http://www.newworldw...les/view?id=224

http://www.newworldw...les/view?id=225

http://www.newworldw...les/view?id=226

http://www.newworldw...les/view?id=228

http://www.newworldw...les/view?id=230

It is a good read, going through a number of varieties, their features, rootstocks and where they are grown in the Mediteranean area.

#13 Purple Grin Winery

Purple Grin Winery

    Fool on the Hill

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1788 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Escondido, CA
  • Interests:Anything challenging...building, growing, analyzing, staying out of the cellar....half acre Syrah

Posted 04 March 2009 - 01:17 PM

I'd have to agree that sticking to what is traditional or done before is not necessarily the only option. It's opportunities like this forum that will likely lead to more successful experimentation, and possibly new norms.

I wouldn't say Escondido is a desert, but it's hot with comfortable summer nights. My place overlooks a commercial vineyard with a successful viognier, another variety bustin' a move:

In 2007, Orfila’s estate-grown “Lotus” Lot #45 received a gold medal at the 31st annual Bordeaux, France Challenge International du Vin, a blind wine tasting competition of 5,288 wines from 38 countries. Orfila was one of only three U.S. wineries honored with a gold medal, the competition’s highest award, earned by fewer than 5 percent of the entries.

We decided on syrah, based on their great wine over there.


http://www.purplegrinwinery.com

"Probably best to invite a bunch of friends over and drink it young" - moundtop

#14 emtpoket

emtpoket

    Veteran Wine Maker

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 279 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Pahrump-NV

Posted 04 March 2009 - 10:57 PM

QUOTE (Purple Grin Winery @ Mar 4 2009, 11:49 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'd have to agree that sticking to what is traditional or done before is not necessarily the only option. It's opportunities like this forum that will likely lead to more successful experimentation, and possibly new norms.

I wouldn't say Escondido is a desert, but it's hot with comfortable summer nights. My place overlooks a commercial vineyard with a successful viognier, another variety bustin' a move:

In 2007, Orfila’s estate-grown “Lotus” Lot #45 received a gold medal at the 31st annual Bordeaux, France Challenge International du Vin, a blind wine tasting competition of 5,288 wines from 38 countries. Orfila was one of only three U.S. wineries honored with a gold medal, the competition’s highest award, earned by fewer than 5 percent of the entries.

We decided on syrah, based on their great wine over there.
Syrah sure seems like a good choice,Im sure you knew there is alot of syrah grown in temecula not far from you. smileytoast.gif Adrian


#15 Abraxas

Abraxas

    Veteran Wine Maker

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 401 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fredericksburg, TX - 1,755' elevation

Posted 05 March 2009 - 08:12 AM

QUOTE (gregmg @ Mar 4 2009, 01:09 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The average low in June is 72; in July it's 80.

I don't think for a minute that I have any chance of making a wine that could compare well to those of Napa, Sonoma, or Paso. I really believe however, through careful selection of varietals and proper viticultural and winemaking techniques, I can produce a decent table wine for family and friends to enjoy.

Every varietal I tried so far has some sort of drawback in this heat. Tempranillo requires a big acid adjustment, Nebbiolo lacks color, Syrah grows slowly, Cab can taste a bit cooked or jammy, etc. I'm generally satisfied with my results so far, but I have to admit that there are reasons why you don't find wine grape vineyards in the desert.

Greg G.


Wow, that high night time heat is really a challenge. Alot of your success is dependent on not only varietal selection but canopy management, shading of fruit, etc. I was gonna start a new thread on that topic, instead I'll refer you to a couple of excellent papers:

Managing Your Canopy to Prevent Overexposed Fruit
http://www.winebusin...mp;dataId=45457

Wine Grape Trellis and Training Systems for the San Joaquin Valley
http://cetulare.ucda...grape/wg197.htm

In your area I would think that leaf removal, especially on the west side, is out of the question. BTW, I don't consider an acid drop-out as that big of a deal as long as everything else is in line. Just adjust with tartaric in the must.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users