How the Bordeaux climate influences wine production

How the Bordeaux climate influences wine production

Steven Murtagh

Written By Steven Murtagh

The process of wine making starts with the cultivation of grapes, known as viticulture. There are many factors that come together to influence the bottle of wine that is available to the customer, from manual harvesting techniques, aging materials, and bottling. However, possibly the most impactful factor comes from the climate of the region where the grapes are grown. This is especially noticeable in a region such as Bordeaux, which features a unique climate with differs between multiple subregions. Learn more about the influence of the Bordeaux climate on the wines from this region below.


The key wine-growing regions in Bordeaux

Bordeaux is home to several renowned wine-growing regions, which can largely be differentiated by whether they lie to the Left Bank or the Right Bank of the Gironde River. The Left Bank, situated on the west side of the Gironde estuary, is known for its gravelly soils, which are ideal for producing robust red wines. On the Right Bank, clay and limestone dominate, giving rise to more delicate and aromatic wines.

However, within these key wine-growing regions lie smaller sub-regions that further contribute to the diversity of Bordeaux wines. For example, on the Left Bank, you can find the famous Médoc region, which is further divided into several prestigious appellations such as Pauillac, Margaux, and Saint-Julien. Each appellation has its own unique microclimate and soil composition, resulting in wines with distinct characteristics.

Similarly, on the Right Bank, the renowned Saint-Émilion appellation is divided into several distinct areas, including Saint-Émilion itself and the satellite appellations of Puisseguin-Saint-Émilion and Lussac-Saint-Émilion. These sub-regions showcase the diversity of terroir within Bordeaux, which is reflected in the wide variety of wines that are produced by vineyards across the region.

How the Bordeaux climate influences wine production

The Bordeaux climate is influenced by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, creating a temperate maritime climate. This unique climate ensures a long growing season and a moderate temperature range, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly and develop complex flavours. The climate factors that typically influence wine production include:

  • Soil type
  • Temperature of the soil
  • Access to water
  • Exposure to sunlight throughout the year
  • Minerals and nutrients in the environment

An interesting aspect of Bordeaux’s climate is the impact of the Gironde estuary and its tributaries. These water bodies act as natural heat sinks, absorbing heat during the day and releasing it at night. This phenomenon, known as the “thermal flywheel,” contributes to the overall balance and structure of Bordeaux wines. It helps to regulate the temperature, preventing extreme fluctuations that could negatively impact grape development.

Furthermore, the proximity to water bodies also influences the humidity levels in Bordeaux. The combination of the Atlantic Ocean’s influence and the estuary’s presence creates a slightly humid environment, which can be beneficial in preventing excessive water stress on the vines during dry periods.

However, the climate of Bordeaux is not without its challenges. The region experiences a phenomenon called “millerandage,” where the grape bunches have both large and small berries due to uneven flowering. This can affect the overall quality and yield of the grapes, requiring careful vineyard management and selection during harvest.

Purchase Bordeaux wine for special occasions

Bordeaux wine has long been a favourite among collectors due to its ability to develop with aging. Although this, along with the massive variety in Bordeaux wines, makes these fine red wines ideal for gifting. Choose our Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Chateaux Combs for flavours of rich cherry jam. Or if you prefer a red with earthier herbal notes, the Chateau Fortune Margeaux is a lovely option. This broad spectrum of tasting notes is due to the intricate relationship between the region’s geography, climate, and the skill of the winemakers, all coming together to create the exceptional wines that Bordeaux is renowned for.

If you want to learn more about the origins of fine wines and how it influences the drinking experience, book a personal wine tasting with one of our experts.