Corsica Wine - Viticulture and Winemaking

Viticulture and Winemaking

The average elevation of vineyards in Corsica is 300 metres (1,000 ft) above sea levels where they are susceptible to strong winds. Vines were traditionally pruned to a goblet style, but modern viticultural practice and mechanical harvesting have encouraged more widespread use of single guyot and cordon de royat training styles. Vines are typically planted to a density average of 1,000 vines per acre (2,500 vines per hectare). The use of irrigation is prohibited in all AOC regions. Vineyards in Corsica are prone to occasional cicadelle attacks, which makes the vines susceptible to the phytoplasmic grape disease Flavescence dorée. Additional viticultural hazards include downy mildew and powdery mildew.

The European Union grant programs have encouraged many Corsican wineries to upgrade their facilities with temperature controlled stainless steel fermentation tanks. This allows the white and rosé wines from this warmer climate wine region to be fermented cool at between 64–68 °F (18–20 °C). Reds are often fermented in excess of 86 °F (30 °C) though some winemakers have experimented with cooler fermentation. Rosés are produced using the saignée method with malolactic fermentation being intentionally suppressed (as they usually are with Corsican whites as well). Red wines normally will go through malolactic fermentation and spend some time aging in oak barrels, though the use of new oak and extended oak aging has been a relatively recent development in Corsican winemaking. The white wines of Corsica are rarely exposed to oak, though some winemakers have experimented with making a Burgundian or Muscadet style wine from Vermentino which includes barrel fermentation and significant amount of lees stirring.

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