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An investigation of trends in viticultural climatic indices in Southern Quebec, a cool climate wine region

Jones, Norman Kenneth
Journal of wine research 2018 v.29 no.2 pp. 120-129
Vitis vinifera, climatic factors, drought, hybrids, temperature, vineyards, viticulture, wine grapes, wine industry, wines, Quebec
Climate and weather are key factors influencing winegrape growing conditions. Temperature variables (maximum, minimum and average) and precipitation variables (annual, monthly and daily) are often used to assess the regional climate, and monitor any changes in climatic conditions. A number of viticultural climatic indices formulated from these variables have been used in many regions to describe the climate of vineyards. Southern Quebec has been recognized as an emerging cool climate region where climatic conditions, particularly warming temperatures, are slowly altering growing conditions. Wineries are starting to switch from cold-resistant hybrid grapes to the more delicate Vitis vinifera varieties. The present study uses five temperature base indices (Huglin, Latitude-Temperature, Cool Night, Temperature Variability, Winkler) and one precipitation based index (Drought) to investigate any trends in the regional climate. The most significant positive trends were seen in the Huglin and Winkler indices; less significance was seen in the Cool Night, Latitude-Temperature and Temperature-Variability indices. No significant trend existed in the Drought index. Overall, the trends indicate significant changes in the temperature and viticultural possibilities for the region.