Factors that Determine the Quality of Wine

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Viticulture is defined as the cultivation or culture of grapes especially for wine making. Wine culture has a history as old as eight thousand years, back to the New Stone Age through to the ancient Greeks and the ancient Egyptians. Throughout history, grapes have been grown and cultivated all over the world, but great wines don’t come from just anywhere. As winemaking progresses and bends to new trends, grape cultivation remains true to tradition. There are many factors during the growing process that determine the quality of wine including climate, temperature swings, water, and soil conditions. Climate conditions are the number one factor that determines whether or not grapes will grow well and properly. Growing grapes is an extremely delicate process. The temperature must be exactly right or the vines will not grow. Grape vines begin growing at 50 degrees Fahrenheit and begin flowering at 63 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit; however upwards of 85 percent of a grape vine’s flowers never set (MacNeil, 2001). As temperatures reach the mid-eighties, vines will flourish. Microclimates (also called apellations) determine how well a vineyard will thrive. Microclimate factors include: proximity of oceans or bays; hills and mountains which can block cold winds, and force clouds to rain causing the opposite side of the hill or mountain to require irrigation; the slope, orientation, and altitude of the vineyard; winds, cloudiness, and precipitation; and sunlight. Sunlight is

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