When my wife and I decided to give up our life in Hamburg and move to Piedmont in Italy, we hardly thought about the weather there. Of course, if you live in Hamburg, you will not often spoiled by nice weather. Everyone we told that we were moving to Piedmont reacted something like this. Oh, we're going to Italy, probably because of the nice weather! But watch out, everything there is based on the motto, domani, domani.
But this is really a completely different topic, let's get back to the weather straight away. The perception of most people living north of the Alps is quite simple: Italy is the land of sun, sea and of good food and wine. And this applies to all regions and all seasons in Italy! For food and wine this perception may certainly apply, but with the weather it behaves very differently and the answer is just much more complex.
We found this out pretty quickly when we went house hunting in Piedmont for the first time in January. We were expecting icy cold with a lot of snow and then fog for days, which was so dense even during the day that you could hardly see the road while driving. Not to mention the beautiful view of the vineyards and the Alps that brokers kept talking about. Hallelujah, we thought after one of these trips, do we really want to move there? But we didn't let that deter us because the weather wasn't the real reason why we wanted to move to Italy. After the many years we spent afterwards in the Piedmontese winter, we learned how beautiful and formative winter can be for human life and for the survival and continuity of nature.
For example, there is very little chance of a good vintage when the winter is mild and without snow. Vineyards need snow mainly in January and February, because then it usually stays on the ground for a long time and only slowly penetrates into the soil. The vines benefit greatly from this, because they can gradually store and store the water. In the hot summer months without significant rainfall, you can then fall back on these water supplies.
In this situation, the winegrowers are totally at the mercy of nature, because according to the wine law in Piedmont it is forbidden to water the vineyards. Most grape varieties can only survive the drought of the summer if they are saved by the winter's water supplies during the dry periods.
When we head off to Piedmont again in winter and our neighbors remark on our departure that they would also like to escape the winter to warm Italy, we just smile and nod in understanding.