Micro-climate: Wine Term
This term, which wine enthusiasts may encounter, means exactly what it implies – a particular climate prevailing in a small region. It is the micro-climates of some wine regions which account for the diversity of the wines made therein: for example, the ‘draught’ that comes through one small opening in a range of hills may freshen a small area, while neighbouring plots suffer from excessive heat and dryness. The rain that waters one allotment-sized patch often tends to stop, as if cut off like a curtain, within a particular range, so that while a vineyard on one side of a small road enjoys adequate rainfall, that on the other side tends to be too wet or too dry. Mists and fogs form more over one plot than another, the angle of the morning sunlight strikes a segment of one vineyard especially favourably, the aspect of another catches the maximum amount of warmth during the day. In another, the heat of certain hours of sunshine are captured because of the protection of a rock or slope of land: in yet another the clouds sailing over a nearby ridge tend to break and water one piece of an area, while adjacent sites are mostly dry. These all contribute to micro-climates, as do the reflections from any water or patch of light-coloured earth, the adjoiningpiantation of treesor clearances of vegetation and any rise or fall in rivers or levelling of ground. The vine is sensitive and, often, the factors that make one quite small plot different as regards climate from its neighbours cannot be easily noted. Perhaps the first recorded instance of anyone perceiving such a thing is the old story of the Emperor Charlemagne noticing that the snows melted soonest around the keep he had built at I ngelheim, which gave him the idea that these slopes might be favourable to vine cultivation, as indeed was so.