Every year, the weather brings its own challenges for vineyard owners; however, in Italy they have less to worry about than most, as the country has been producing high-quality wines for many years.
C & M Watermelon Imports Ltd are one of the first names to turn to if you are looking for Italian wine grape importers. Here, we examine why Italy has the perfect climate – or climates – for growing grapes.
The Warm Climate
Many parts of Italy enjoy what is known as a ‘warm climate’; this means that not only are average daytime temperatures high, but they are consistently so. It also means that the transition from summer to autumn is quite gradual, as the latter season usually isn’t too cold or wet either.
Exposure to prolonged periods of sunshine encourages good grape growth; and the gradual switch from summer to autumn gives the fruit more time to ripen. This gives the grape a sweeter taste, and the natural aroma of the fruit comes to the fore. Warm climates also affect the structure of the grape’s tannins; it means that the wine from these regions have a higher alcohol content as well.
Vineyards in Italy which can be classified as having a warm climate are those in Sicily or the southern part of the mainland (but not too close to the coast).
or the Cool Climate
Vineyards in ‘cool climate’ areas can still enjoy temperatures as high as those in warm climates; however, it won’t be as consistently hot, and the temperatures can drop quite sharply from their daytime peaks. The transition period from summer to autumn is generally shorter, meaning that there is less time to harvest the grapes – and that sometimes they need to be picked before they have reached full maturity.
This lessens their sugar and alcohol content, giving the wines a bigger ‘punch’ – the acidic taste is much stronger. Cool climate wine-making regions include those in northern Italy (because they are further away from the Equator); however, some southern coastal areas can also fall into this category.
Some grapes, like the Sangiovese (which we at C & M Watermelon Imports Ltd can supply) can flourish in both types of climates; the Montepulciano, which we also import to the UK, is largely grown in southern and central Italy.
So, whatever your personal choices, the Italian wine industry should be able to supply a bottle (or more!) to your taste; and the variations in climate help to give each region’s wines their distinctive flavour.
It Doesn’t Get Too Cold
So-called ‘European grapes’ cannot flourish if it gets too cold. In Italy, the temperature rarely dips below the generally accepted threshold of -15C, even in the Alps, which is the coldest part of the country. Even here, the mercury rarely (if ever) dips below -11C; and in Lombardy in Northern Italy the monthly winter average temperature is 0C. It does mean that northern parts of Italy are better for dry and sparkling white wines.
In southern Italy and Sicily, the average monthly winter temperature is around 12C, which again encourages good grape growth; there’s also little likelihood of frost or snow damaging the fruit.
or Too Hot
At C & M Watermelon Imports Ltd our Sangiovese and Montepulciano grapes generally come from Abruzzo, Puglia, Bari and Sicily. August is usually the hottest month in these regions, but temperatures still generally don’t exceed 30C. This is ideal for promoting good grape growth, particularly in the critical vegetation period.
Extreme heat (such as that arising from climate change) won’t necessarily damage the grapes, but it will mean that they ripen more quickly. As with grapes grown in cool climates, extremely high temperatures can put pressure on vineyard owners to harvest the fruit more quickly, as well as meaning that the year’s vintage may be higher in sugar and alcohol content.
C & M Watermelon Imports Ltd – Italian Wine Grape Importers
C & M Watermelon Imports Ltd only import the highest quality grapes from Italy – in the same way that we only import the best watermelons from Greece. We can deliver Sangiovese and Montepulciano grapes to all parts of the UK, including South Wales, Manchester and Birmingham, as well as our home city of London.
If you would like to know more either follow this link or call us on 0208 345 5555.