terclim by ICS banner
IVES 9 IVES Conference Series 9 Variety and climatic effects on quality scores in the Western US winegrowing regions

Variety and climatic effects on quality scores in the Western US winegrowing regions


Wine quality is strongly linked to climate. Quality scores are often driven by climate variation across different winegrowing regions and years, but also influenced by other aspects of terroir, including variety. While recent work has looked at the relationship between quality scores and climate across many European regions, less work has examined New World winegrowing regions. Here we used scores from three major rating systems (Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator) combined with daily climate and phenology data to understand what drives variation across wine quality scores in major regions of the Western US, including regions in California, Oregon and Washington. We examined effects of variety, region, and in what phenological period climate was most predictive of quality. As in other studies, we found climate, based mainly on growing degree day (GDD) models, was generally associated with quality—with higher GDD associated with higher scores—but variety and region also had strong effects. Effects of region were generally stronger than variety. Certain varieties received the highest scores in only some areas, while other varieties (e.g., Merlot) generally scored lower across regions. Across phenological stages, GDD during budbreak was often most strongly associated with quality. Our results support other studies that warmer periods generally drive high quality wines, but highlight how much region and variety drive variation in scores outside of climate.


Publication date: May 31, 2022

Issue: Terclim 2022

Type: Poster


G. Legault, P. Autio, F. Jones and E. Wolkovich 

Department of Forest & Conservation Sciences. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Contact the author


wine quality scores, Pacific Norwest, California, growing degree days, phenology


IVES Conference Series | Terclim 2022


Related articles…

Physiological and growth reaction of Shiraz/101-14 Mgt to row orientation and soil water status

Advanced knowledge on grapevine row orientation is required to improve establishment, management and outcomes of vineyards on terroirs with different environmental conditions (climate, soil, topography) and in view of a future change to more extreme climatic conditions. The purpose of this study was to determine the combined effect of row orientation, plant water status and ripeness level on the physiological and viticultural reaction of Shiraz/101-14 Mgt.

Effects of mechanical leafing and deficit irrigation on Cabernet Sauvignon grown in warm climate of California

San Joaquin Valley accounts for 40% of wine grape acreage and produces 70% of wine grape in California. Fruit quality is one of most important factors which impact the economical sustainability of farming wine grapes in this region. Due to the recent drought and expected labor cost increase, the wine industry is thrilled to understand how to improve fruit quality while maintaining the yield with less water and labor input. The present study aims to study the interactive effects of mechanical leafing and deficit irrigation on yield and berry compositions of Cabernet Sauvignon grown in warm climate of California.

The effects of cane girdling on berry texture properties and the concentration of some aroma compounds in three table grape cultivars

The marketability of the table grapes is highly influenced by the consumer demand; therefore the market value of the table grapes is mainly characterized by its berry size, colour, taste and texture. Girdling could cause accumulation of several components in plants above the ringing of the phloem including clusters and resulting improved maturity. The aim of the experiments was to examine the effect of girdling on berry texture characteristics and aroma concentration.

Application of a fluorescence-based method to evaluate the ripening process and quality of Pinot Blanc grape

The chemical composition of grape berries at harvest is one of the most important factors that should be considered to produce high quality wines. Among the different chemical classes which characterize the grape juice, the polyphenolic compound, such as flavonoids, contribute to the final taste and color of wines. Recently, an innovative non-destructive method, based on chlorophyll fluorescence, was developed to estimate the phenolic maturity of red grape varieties through the evaluation of anthocyanins accumulated in the berry skin. To date, only few data are available about the application of this method on white grape varieties.

Different yield regulation strategies in semi-minimal-pruned hedge (SMPH) and impact on bunch architecture

Yields in the novel viticulture training system Semi-Minimal-Pruned Hedge (SMPH) are generally higher compared to the traditional Vertical Shoot Positioning (VSP). Excessive yields have a negative impact on the vine and wine quality, which can result in substantial losses in yield in subsequent vintages (alternate bearing) or penalties in fruit quality. Therefore yield regulation is essential. The bunch architecture in SMPH differs from VSP. Generally there is a higher amount but smaller bunches with lower single berry weights in SMPH compared to VSP.