Sunshine is a vital ingredient in making great wine. As you are browsing the summer holiday destination this year seeking out that vital few weeks away, those weeks of trying to avoid being a lobster by slapping horrendously expensive emollients onto your skin, have you thought why some of these places produce great wines and some not so great?

To be honest, I sort of plan my summer holidays around my drinking habits. Last year we were in the South of France with stops in Spain on the way there and back (Gerona is a cheaper airport). This year I’m looking at a little less lobster and going for a Northern German break. Northern Germany is too cool a climate for growing ripe grapes. However, I believe the beers are affordable, and rather tasty, and I’m pretty sure that some decent Rieslings will make their way to the North from the Southern bits of Germany.

The only slight panic I have is that, after Hamburg, my lovely wife wants a quick city break to Copenhagen. This will be my first ever visit to the Scandinavian part of the planet. I am already somewhat anxious about the duty rates. I think my best plan is stock up the hire car with a few days worth of provisions.

Coming back to your holiday choice for your sunshine break, can I suggest you treat your skin as though it is a wine grape. They do indeed have some similarities. Grapes get sunburn, just like your skin. They like a bit of sun, but if it gets too hot then photosynthesis shuts down. If you happen to have a child doing a National 5 exam Biology soon, it is because the stomata in the leaves close to preserve water. No water = no photosynthesis = no sugar produced = no wine.

Grapes also like it to be cool at night to build up acidity. Humans don’t need acidity, but my goodness a cool night help us sleep a bit better! Neither humans nor grapes appreciate rain during July. We get grumpy and complain we’ve brought the weather with us, grapes just burst and rot (I’m glad it is that way round). 

So, just as with any pale skinned, sun-seeking Scot, seek shade when it is sunny. Viticulturalists trellis their plants so that the leaves give some shelter to the bunches of grapes too, to prevent sunburn.
There are two “Goldilocks Latitude Bands” for winemaking around our planet. They are 30 to 50 degrees North, and the same 30 to 50 in the South. These are also the best bits of the planet to holiday in. Coincidence? I think not. I think a higher power was just making sure we had decent local wine on our holidays.


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