Regions with continental climates are characterized by marked seasonal changes with very cold winters and short, hot summers. They have wide daily temperature variations, with warm days followed by cold nights, allowing the fruit to ripen while maintaining sharp acidity. Cool continental regions, like Chablis and Champagne in France, are often at risk of frost during spring flowering season, and the marked temperature changes can lead to a wide vintage variation.
This type of climate usually happens inland in the Northern Hemisphere, where there are no large bodies of water. Burgundy, Northern Rhone, and Sancerre are some of the most famous wine regions in France that enjoy a continental climate, as well as Piemonte in Italy and Ribera del Duero in Spain. In the Southern Hemisphere, large oceans help to regulate temperature changes and continental climates are not very common. One exception is the region of Mendoza in the foot of the Andes Mountains in Argentina.
Author: Maytte Rivera