Mezzacorona, how high altitude viticulture can be successful.

 

 

Here, on the granite-faced slopes of theDolomiti Mountainsin the Trentino growing region of  Northern Italy, Mezzacorona has been growing its own vineyards since 1904.

Harsh winters, short summers and perfect Alpine conditions provide very expressive grapes for these generously fruited and bold wines.

 

High altitude viticulture is certainly not easy to pursue. Many of our vineyard sites are tiny, precariously sloped plots where the vine must be strong and deep-rooted. Other than high costs for vineyards development and management, there is a wide range of factors that make growing high elevation vines a challenge. Temperature changes, difficult weather conditions, and intense radiations are just a few.

Apparently the mountain should not be considered the best choice for practising viticulture, but if the Trentino region –with its Alpine environment and climate conditions– can become one of the most important viticultural area in Italy and in the world, there most be a reason why. In fact, we’ll will show you there are many reasons why!

 

 “Bacchus amat colles” is an expression used by Romans to state that the hillside and mountain vineyards are the best growing areas, thanks to their exposition and soil composition which positively influence the vine development and grape quality.

 

 

Mezzacorona cultivates its own vineyards in Northern Italy from the gorgeous Lake Garda in the South to the foot of the snow capped Dolomites in the North. The region experiences a wide range of micro-climates, from Mediterranean to Alpine, that allow Mezzacorona to cultivate each grape varietal in the most suitable zone for it to express its full potential.

 

 

Mezzacorona vineyards are grown at different altitudes, ranging between 650ft asl to 2,300ft asl. When we talk about high altitude viticulture, it’s important to distinguish between the absolute relief, which is simply the difference in elevation between a given location and sea level and the relative relief, the difference in elevation between the highest and lowest points in a given area. (Source: Wine East, “First High Altitude Symposium” , November-December 2007).

 

In viticulture the relative relief is the most important aspect to consider. Vines planted at different altitudes develop differently, mainly because of temperature ranges and light intensity.

 

Here, at the foot of the Italian Alps, temperature lowers about 1°F by 300ft asl, affecting the vegetative activity of the vines.

 

 Moreover, at the latitude and altitude where Mezzacorona cultivates its vineyards, the atmosphere is more rarefied and UV rays increase about 3-4% every 800ft asl. High elevation vines generally have a shorter growing season, but can have higher rates of photosynthesis, more anthocyanins, more colours, and of course, more flavours which are found everyday in the Mezzacorona wines. All of this amounts to an authentic expression of our pristine environment!