What are Cool Climate Wines?

'Climate' refers to the general conditions in a given place over a long period of time while the term 'weather' refers to temporary conditions that might or might not be unusual.

In general terms, a cool climate wine region can be defined where grapes are grown either:

  • South of Latitude 37.5 degrees South
  • From a property in the Southern Hemisphere which has an average January temperature below 19.5 degrees Celsius, or
  • On a vineyard site above 400m in altitude above sea level.

Cool climate regions are exposed to concentrated sunlight and cooler air temperatures which allow for longer ripening periods producing wines with moderate alcohol levels and high levels of acidity.  The resultant wines tend to be lighter bodied, dry and fresh which in turn tend to compliment a wide variety of food groups.

By contrast, in warmer weather and climates, grapes ripen more easily, leading to lower acidity, higher sugar levels and darker colour. The higher levels of sugar allows for greater levels of alcohol, which makes the wine more full bodied.

Some notable cool climate regions in Australia include, Adelaide Hills, Central Ranges NSW, Canberra District, Macedon Ranges, Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and the Tamar Valley Tasmania.

AWC recently tasted wines from Contentious Character Winery (pictured), Wamboin NSW (Canberra District).  Of particular note were Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir and sparkling Merlot.