Investing oneself in a project such as growing wine can turn to an exercise in obsession. I suppose that having scientific training predisposes me to some sort of formalized approach to seeking an understanding of what is happening in the vineyard.
So, this weekend, I installed a small weather monitoring station at the top of the current Aglianico block.
This station will track temperatures, humidity and rainfall. While there is a weather station at the top of Mount Washington, I want to study the microclimate of the vineyard. My hope is that the position of the station will give me a sense of the “average” temperatures and winds in the small vineyard.
When I started this vineyard, Jeff Miller helped me with some rough temperature calculations in order to approximate the Climate Region of my site. Installing this station, then, will help guide some decisions such as training, canopy management, modification of irrigation (amount and type), etc.
Not too long ago, I asked if latitude matters in growing grapevines. Temperatures are one thing, but photoperiod may be very influential in the character of the finished wine. This site will grow Italian varieties – Campania’s Aglainico and Tuscany’s Montepulciano. Looking at the rough map I created for that post, it seems I should be growing varieties which do well in Algeria. However, I am hoping that the Italian varieties I have chosen will do better and make more interesting wine.
I am one to take the “if I’m going to do it, I’ll do it right” approach to things. This, of course, includes making the most of what I’m given. The weather station will give me the additional information to do this. That does not guarantee that the information I have will be pragmatically actionable. So, I should correct myself: it will add to the pool of information I have about the site.
Update: A video of the weather station and vineyard is below: