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WSET ® Level 3 Wine > Above + Beyond: Not on the Exam, but Fun to Know > Flashcards

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Where can Vitis vinifera trace its origin to?

How long ago did it first appear?

Vitis vinifera is a Eurasian grape that can trace its roots back 6000-8000 years to the Caucasus region (modern day countries of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaïdjan, and a few others).


What are high-trained and low-trained vines?

High-trained vines are vines that are trained high off the ground to avoid frost and humidity. 

Low-trained vines are vines that are trained closer to the ground so the grapes can benefit from radiating heat coming off the ground.



Image of a biodynamic vineyard.

Note the biodiversity in this vineyard and how happy the vines look.

(These vines are also cordon trained)


Image of a conventional vineyard.

Note the compacted soil, the crushed plastic cup, the difference in the color of the grass, and how the vineyard looks as though it were napalmed.


What are the minimum hours of sun a vine needs during the growing season?

1500 hours minimum


Do red grapes or white grapes generally need more sun to reach full ripeness?

Red grapes generally need more sun to reach full ripeness.


What is the minimum amount of rain per year a vine needs to survive and grow?

700mm (27.6 inches) rainfall per year


Name the cold ocean current that affects California.

California Current


Name the southwesterly wind that cools Swan District in Australia.

Fremantle Doctor


Name the southeasterly wind that cools down Cape Town, South Africa.

Cape Doctor

The Cape Doctor blows up through False Bay from spring (August/September) through late summer (May/April) clearing away smog, etc. and replacing it with fresh sea air.


Describe the 'Table cloth' phenomenon in South Africa.

The 'Table cloth' in South Africa is air that blows up from False Bay and picks up warm moisture from the Bay, then runs up against the eastern side of Table Mountain creating clouds, and then rainfall, on the eastern side of Table Mountain.


What is the Heat Summation Index and where is it generally used?

The Heat Summation Index, also known as the Winkler Index, is used predominantly in New World countries to classify their climates.

The Heat Summation Index is classified by Regions I, II, III, IV, and V.

This Index is based on the assumption that vines are not active below 50ºF.  Each day between April 1 - October 31 (the growing season) is considered a "degree day."  Each degree day has a value which is determined by taking the average daily temperature for that day and subtracting 50 from it (e.g. 90º as an average, subtract 50º from it, giving that degree day a value of 40º).  When each degree day's value is added up between April 1- Oct 31, that sum determines what Region class that appellation is in.

Region I - 1500 - 2500 degree days (e.g. Champagne)

Region II - 2500 - 3000 degree days (e.g. Bordeaux)

Region III - 3000 - 3500 degree days (e.g. Rioja)

Region IV - 3500 - 4000 degree days (e.g. Napa Valley)

Region V - 4000+ degree days (e.g. Jerez)


How do Europeans classify their climates?

By Zones.

Zone A - coldest, e.g. the UK and Mosel

Zone B - e.g. Alsace, Slovenia

Zone C1 - e.g. Bordeaux, Burgundy, northern Italy

Zone C2 - e.g. Languedoc-Roussillon, central Italy

Zone C3a - e.g. northern Greece, Bulgaria

Zone C3b - hottest, e.g. southern Italy, Corsica


What are the differences between:

  • Macroclimate
  • Mesoclimate
  • Microclimate


  • refers to the climate of a region, e.g. Burgundy;


  • refers to the climate of a village or a cluster of vineyards on a slope, e.g. the village of Puligny-Montrachet or the Grand Cru slope of Chablis;


  • refers to the climate of a very small area, such as a single vineyard or even the climate within the vines and around the canopy, e.g. vines at the top of the hill vs. the bottom of the hill in Clos Saint-Jacques (Gevrey-Chambertin) or the terraces in Valtellina, Lombardy.


How can a viticulturist tweak a vine's microclimate?

Through canopy management.  

The viticulturist can either allow the canopy to become lush -- which allows for more shade and cooling effect in the fruit zone -- or by pulling shoots off the vine to allow the grapes more sun exposure.


Generally speaking, in what regions will one find the most vintage variation?

In regions that are *just* suitable for growing vines as they are susceptible to changes in weather.  These just-suitable growing areas do not have a consistent or stable climate year-in and year-out.

Regions such as Bordeaux, Chablis, and Mosel can have more vintage variation because they can be affected by heavy rainfall at harvest, springtime frost, or summertime hail.

Regions such as Mendoza, McLaren Vale, and Central California will not have as much vintage variation because they have much more stable, predictable climates.


List the 3 AOPs of Chablis.


1. Petit Chablis AOP

2. Chablis AOP

  • Chablis 1er Cru is within Chablis AOP

3. Chablis Grand Cru AOP 

  • 1 AOP separated into 7 Grand Cru plots


What is unique about the Chablis Grand Cru AOP?

The Chablis Grand Cru AOP covers all 7 Grand Cru plots under the same appellation of origin.

By contrast, every other Grand Cru vineyard in the Côte d'Or is designated as its own AOP.


What is the main soil type in Chablis?

Kimmeridgian limestone


What is the sole AOP in Burgundy to allow Sauvignon Blanc?

Saint-Bris AOP

Saint-Bris is in Yonne, near Chablis.


Name all 7 Grand Cru vineyards of Chablis Grand Cru AOP.

From west to east:

  1. Bougros
  2. Les Preuses
  3. Vaudésir
  4. Grenouilles
  5. Valmur
  6. Les Clos
  7. Blanchot


Who first planted vines in Burgundy?

Romans first introduced vines to the region in the 1st century A.D.


What is Napoleonic Code and how does it affect Burgundy?

  • Prior to the 18th century land in France was owned by the nobility and the Catholic church;

  • During the French Revolution in 1789, lands were taken away from the Church and divided among local farmers and tradesmen;

  • Napoleonic Code, written in the 1800s, required lands to be divided equally between all heirs;

  • Today, landowners continue to divvy up their properties equally amongst all their children; hence Burgundy's fragmented ownership.


Define what a négociant is in Burgundy.


A négociant in Burgundy is a producer who:

  • purchases grapes, juice, or finished wine from grape growers to supplement their own production;
  • from these purchases, they are capable of producing larger quantities at more affordable prices.

Most négociants are based in the city of Beaune. Some négociants own land and purchase additional grapes as a supplement; others do not and simply blend finished wine or make wine from purchased grapes.​


Name some famous négociants in Burgundy.

  • Bouchard Père et Fils
  • Louis Latour
  • Louis Jadot
  • Joseph Drouhin
  • Chanson
  • Boisset
  • Faiveley


In Burgundy, what are the two AOPs produced from Aligoté?

  • Bourgogne Aligoté AOP
  • Bouzeron AOP


Where is Chassagne-Montrachet AOP, and what styles of wine does it produce?

Chassagne-Montrachet is in the Côte de Beaune.

Chassagne-Montrachet makes primarily still, dry white wines from Chardonnay and some red wines from Pinot Noir.


What are the 5 Grand Crus located in the villages of Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet? 

  1. (Le) Montrachet Grand Cru AOP
  2. Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru AOP
  3. Bienvenue-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru AOP
  4. Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru AOP
  5. Criots-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru AOP


Where is Meursault AOP, and what styles of wine does it produce?

Meursault is in the Côte de Beaune.

Meursault is best known for its still, dry, white wine made from Chardonnay, but some dry red wines are also produced here.


Which wine is most likely to be fat and full in body with buttery characteristics?:

  • Chassagne-Montrachet
  • Puligny-Montrachet
  • Meursault 

Meursault AOP

There are some pundits who say that it's Meursault's soils, which are lower in humidity due to a lower water table, which help attribute that fatness.