World Map Of New Zealand
The most favoured localities, very suitable for cool climate wine production, are the semi arid brown-grey earth soils at Bannockburn, those from Cromwell to Pisa and about Alexandra to Clyde. All have mean January temperatures of 17°C or higher and 1000 to 1250 GDD [growing degree-days] in degrees Celsius October to April.
The thermal conditions at any of the above locations can be enhanced by shelter, slope, and aspect. Shelter adds some 100 GDD. On the other hand, each additional metre in height loses about one GDD but increasing altitude can make sites less frost prone in the critical September to November period.
The risk of frost is always present so site selection is of prime importance in reducing this.
Sites should preferably be sloping slightly elevated above the intermediary terrace and away from the areas of severe cold-air ponding.
The daily mean maximum humidity is about 88% (roughly 9.00am), the minimum 53% (roughly 3.00pm). Absolute minimum humidities can be as low as 10%, but less than 30% is not uncommon for September through March.
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Within all localities are high terraces which, on the data available, would appear to be suitable for vineyards having particularly the necessary vineyard soil characteristics. The thermal regime, indicated by the mapping, was warmer than anticipated. However the terraces are exposed to the wind and lack shelter.
To mature grapes satisfactorily vineyards should be no more than 80m above the lower terrace of the Clutha or Kawarau Rivers and not more than 400m altitude above sea level. All sites above 400m should be viewed with great caution.
In spring frost kill depends on whether buds are wet or dry. Critical temperatures for dry sprouts in spring are -1.5 to -2.0°C (air temperatures), for wet sprouts it is as warm as -0.5°C.
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