The role of Sun Exposure in Grape Growing
Sun exposure is crucial not only for photosynthesis, but also for the heat it provides. Grapes will not ripen in a region that has an average annual temperature of less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the growing season.
The minimum daily temperature is a Region I on the UC Davis Heat Summation Scale and equals 2,500 degree days. Without enough sun exposure, grapes will not develop sufficient sugar and will be too acidic. This fruit will produce thin, astringent wines with low alcohol.
At the same time too much direct sun exposure can burn the fruit and will lead to excessive sugar development. The result is unbalanced wines with a lack of acidity and too much alcohol.
Fuller bodied varietals generally enjoy more sun and heat. Grapes known for their forward characteristics, like Zinfandel and Viognier, thrive in warmer, inland climates. Warm temperatures are essential for tannin and pigment development.
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