Growing and Drinking: Hot Region Wines

 Vineyards, Cotes du Rhone Wine Country, France


When the temperature hits triple digits, the question most wine drinkers ask is: what do we drink now? or what are some hot region wines?


Bold red wines are not the cocktail of choice when you live on the face of the sun. Any oenophile cringes at the mere thought of adding ice cubes to a white wine, let alone a stellar aged Cabernet.  But then again... here at Craveyon CloudWines we believe in breaking the traditional wine rules


Ancient Greeks and Italians Knew Wine Grapes Loved Hot Regions


California vintners have learned to live with our arid, often hot-in-the-summer climate and so have their evolving vineyards. As the ancient Greeks and Italians knew, grapes love hot, dry environments – especially those brushed by cooling fogs in the late spring to early summer that are swept from the ocean over the rolling hills.


Not that we don't produce quality Burgundy and Bordeaux wines in southern California. We do. Often it is a tightrope walk for the winemaker because our hot temperatures often mean higher Brix (the measure of sugar in grapes) translating to a higher alcohol content or a very sweet finished wine.


Winemakers and vineyard managers are always working to provide a better product to consumers which is why Paso Robles converted many vines to French Rhone varietals, hence the moniker Rhone Rangers for many wineries in that area.


Temecula Valley AVA, California's Hot Wine Region


In recent years, Temecula has undergone profound change as more and more vine acres are planted, many of these acres also devoted to Rhone grapes: Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre – the key players in the popular GSM blends.


Cabernet Sauvignon remains king of reds in southern California and Cabernet Franc has become a major player - as my source says, “it grows like a weed.” Merlot acreage has declined significantly... perhaps due to the “Sideways” effect. Wine pourers everywhere became weary of hearing “anything but Merlot” or the signature quote from the movie: “I'm not drinking any {bleeping} Merlot!


By acres laid to white varietals, Chardonnay is the clear winner followed by Sauvignon Blanc. Viognier and Reisling are also major players, with Pinot Grigio close behind.


So back to the original question: what do we drink in hot weather?

Answer: a well chilled white wine. Chilling wine tends to mask flavors so don't write off a summer glass of wine unless you've tasted it at about 50 degrees.




Join the Craveyon CloudWines wine club and enjoy hot region wines from all over California.


Acreage planted information is courtesy of Danny Martin, top winery appraiser, and board member of Temecula Wine Growers Association and Wine Institute's Crush Report.

Cindy Lemos
Cindy Lemos


1 Response


March 02, 2016

Hello! Lovely blog, I just wanted to stop by the comment section incase you or your reader ever wanted to explore an Ontario Wine! Our Pinot Grigio is grown in Niagara, just as they are in Italy’s Fruili and Alto Adige areas. Cooler temperatures in these locales highlight the vibrant acidity take a look


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