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Snooth User: andresuio

Wine and Latitude

Posted by andresuio, Feb 26, 2010.

Hello everyone. I am from Ecuador South America, my country is located on latitude 0º. I have read in many books of wines that the vines must be planted between latitudes 30 and 50. So I want to know why the vines between this latitudes can produce better wine till one planted in the center of the world. And if I have favorable soils and weather conditions in latitude 0. What do the latitude can influence in produce a good wine.
Thank you very much in advance to everyone that can help me.


Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Feb 26, 2010.

Hi Andre,

Welcome to Snooth!

I can't be sure but the cycles of the seasons play an important role in the cycles of the vine. In Equador you might need to go to fairly high elevations to plant vines but the truth is there is a ton of wine being made in place people either said grapes should or couldn't be planted. What were you thinking of planting?

Reply by zufrieden, Feb 26, 2010.

Plant your grapes at 1500 to 2000 metres and check the results in about 5 to 7 years. The rule is about 3-4 degrees of latitude per 1000 metres. You also need to take into consideration other factors like climatic variation caused by rainy versus dry seasonality. Grapes are subtropical fruit so you also need to look at the variety that has the best chance of survival in that Equatorial region you inhabit. You are lucky in that the Andes Mountains provide a good opportunity to experiment with elevation versus latitude. Please do contiune commenting on this since Ecuador does produce wine - as I'm sure you are aware.

Reply by dmcker, Feb 26, 2010.

One good question, of course, is how much of that Ecuadorian wine is made from grapes grown locally, and how much from must imported from Chile... ;-)

Reply by zufrieden, Feb 27, 2010.

One hopes that the idea is locally grown and produced product, but then the Chilean juice bag does have a way of worming its way in... I assume that we want Ecuadoran wine, not Chilean wine produced from Chilean grapes and packaged as Chateau Quito...

Reply by Cathy Shore, Feb 27, 2010.

The majority of grapes grown for the production of quality wine are found between 30 and 50 degrees North and South of the equator. Countries exceeding these limits are England (52 degrees North and Central Otago (42 degrees South). On the whole, grapes tend to ripen better when grown at high latitudes which can be due to the fact that they have longer days and therefore more hours of sunlight.
It's better for vines to experience 'the seasons' ie to have a stage of dormancy each year in order to produce good quality fruit (it is possible for vines in tropical areas to produce 2 or 3 crops a year). Obviously, climate differs within the tropics - mean temperature decreases by 0.6 degrees with every 100m rise above sea level although this also leads to an increase in wind exposure.
When assessing the suitability of a region for growing grapes (that are capable of maturing fully), a number of methods are used. Latitude Temperature Index is one of them and is calculated by taking the mean temperature of the warmest month in degrees C, multiplying it by 60 and then minusing the latitude. This is a more accurate method for calculating suitability of different grape varieties then using solely heat accumulation (degree days). The length of growing is dependent upon latitude.
The results of LTI allow you to asses which grape varieties would be suited to a particular region.

Reply by andresuio, Feb 27, 2010.

Thanks everyone for your help. Ecuador have 3 producers of wines. Some of the varieties used are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonay, Palomino and somebody once tried to make wine from Pinot Noir (considerating this is a dificult variety, and produce a very bad bad wine). I have tried almost all the wines produced here and we do not have something that we can be proud of it and I can share to wine lovers.
There are few native varietals that can´t be clasified yet. And historically have produced sweet wine.
There are other companies that produce wine from imported most from Chile or Argentina but only dedicated to make table wines and box wine.
Hope one day I can share a good wine from my country that represent the characteristic of our soils.
Thanks everyone for your faboulous help :)

Reply by zufrieden, Feb 27, 2010.

All those erudite answers on growing grapes at latitude versus elevation! Best of luck growing something quaffable in future.

Reply by Ron Martinez, Aug 8, 2016.

Hi, I am traveling to Ecuador at the end of 2016, primarily Quito and Cuenca along the Highlands. I am interested in underground home construction/architecture/earthships as well as wine/grapes and other perennial fruit plants. Specifically, growing grapes and other species where the scientists say they can't be grown. My own small collection of grape vines are growing at a site that is probably the highest elevation vineyard in North America. My interest is to meet with grape growers and share information on growing grapes in harsh environmental conditions. ronemtz at hotmail dot com. We deal with very cold temperatures, short seasons, very late spring frosts.



Reply by dmcker, Aug 8, 2016.

Ron, interesting dumpster dive to pull up this old thread.

Where are you trying to grow grapes in North America? Someplace where you have to use pressure cookers in the kitchen all the time?

Reply by Ron Martinez, Aug 9, 2016.

North of Taos, NM on the Colorado state line. Elevation 7,800 ft. Being in the Rocky mountains, the spring frosts and short growing seasons knock out most perennial fruit efforts each year. Grapes have secondary and tertiary buds that help overcome this if they get hit. Because of our good sunshine, we get to mature a crop. I am not so sure about the pressure cooker, unless it relates to a backwoods still. For food, I do like to play with Sous Vide.

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