Regional Climate & Water Usage
It is important to understand from the outset that the Niagara Peninsula’s cool, continental climate makes for very humid conditions during the growing season. Our region is, in fact, one of the highest-pressure viticultural areas in the world for harmful fungal diseases. These include powdery mildew (oidium), downy mildew, as well as botrytis bunch rot (grey rot) and black rot. It is important to note that there is no organic treatment available to combat black rot. In regions such as ours, fully organic grape growing is extremely difficult and can easily compromise the soundness of the fruit at harvest. This often leads to unnecessary and severe reductions in yield and a negative overall effect on wine quality.
The flipside of this, however, is that because our climate provides ample precipitation throughout the year, we do not need to irrigate. Irrigation is commonplace throughout the wine world, yet it is often forgotten that it can place great stress on the environment. Not only does irrigation deplete precious water sources in arid areas, but also it often requires great amounts of energy, as well as elaborate and environmentally invasive infrastructure, to distribute water over vast distances. Many organic wines come from drier climates that, while not experiencing high fungal pressure, do require irrigation. As a result, the sustainability of these wines can be called into question.