Beaujolais - The Growing Environment and Grape Growing

6 important questions on Beaujolais - The Growing Environment and Grape Growing

Describe the climate of Beaujolais, what moderates the temperature? How are the vineyards situated?

  • Beaujolais has a continental climate slightly warmer than the rest of Burgundy
  • Rainfall is normal adequate 740 mm per year
  • The Saone River acts as a moderator of extreme temperatures
  • slopes south and south-east facing (max exposure to the sun).
  • Mistral wind can affect the flowering

What can affect grape growing in the Beaujolais badly?

The strong Mistral winds

  • can affect flowering in cold damp spring weather
  • damage leaves and grapes end of ripening season -> thin skin Gamay

Describe the soil types of Beaujolais

Fast draining granite, schist and sandy soils.

  • North = hilly terrain with granite + schist (stronger wines). Faster and more homogeneous ripening.

  • East= Alluvial soils

  • South = flat with clay & limestone (lighter wines, mostly Beaujolais Nouveau).

Describe the soils of the northern part of Beaujolais

Beajolais Cru AOC
Beajolais-Villages AOC

  • Hilly 200-500m
  • fast draining granite schist and sandy soils
  • South and South East facing slopes for maximum sun exposure 
  • Later harvest than south Beaujolais

Gamay Noir is the productive and main grape of Beaujolais. What are its characteristics?

  • Early budding --> susceptible to spring frost
  • Early ripening  --> usually be picked before autumn rains
  • Thin skin and therefore vulnerable to rot and wind
  • High fertility

Damp and windy conditions can reduce yields

A tiny bit of Chardonnay is found in Beaujolais, what can you tell about this?

  • Chardonnay is usually found in area in the  north of Beaujolais close to Macon villages
  • best on cooler marl or limestone soils, preserving acidity

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