The height of a vineyard can have a significant impact on its climate and thus its viticultural potential. Temperature falls by around 0.6° (1.1 °F) per 100 meters (330 ft) of increasing elevation, all else being equal.

Altitude effects on Temperature

Lower temperatures at higher elevations slow vine budbreak as well as, in particular, ripening. Small elevation differences can have a surprisingly large impact on wine quality and, indeed, the capacity of certain grape kinds to develop at all.

Lower temperatures can be exacerbated by higher elevations’ increased rainfall and cloudiness.

Such impacts are especially pronounced in chilly viticultural regions, where temperature directly limits vine and berry development rates. In warmer areas, similar altitude differences have significantly less of an impact.

Altitude effects on Carbon Dioxide and Ultraviolet radiation

It is unclear if the decreasing quantities of atmospheric carbon dioxide with increasing altitude are harmful or not. However, it is widely acknowledged that global warming would raise the worldwide level of carbon dioxide in all vineyards (including low elevation vineyards), making the issue of carbon dioxide concentration less critical in the future.

Elevated vineyards also receive more UV radiation, which is thought to improve quality by stimulating phenolic production.

Altitude vineyards and sun exposure

It is widely recognized that higher elevation vineyards might benefit from a superior aspect (assuming they have the proper solar orientation). This is primarily because mountainous aspects allow sun rays to penetrate the vineyard at a better angle for a longer amount of time during the day.

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