Gozo’s climate is strongly influenced by the sea and is typically Mediterranean. Winters are mild, with the occasional short chilly period brought about by the north and north-easterly winds from central Europe. Summers are hot, dry and very sunny. Day-time temperatures in summer are often mitigated by cooling sea breezes, but in spring and autumn a very hot Sirocco wind from Africa occasionally brings non-seasonal high temperatures and humidity. The monthly mean air temperature ranges from 9.4°C (during the winter period) to 31.5°C (during the summer period). August is on average the hottest month, February the coolest. The annual pattern of the rainy winters is followed by the dry, generally rainless summers. The average total rainfall of the Maltese Islands is around 575 mm. The average annual rainfall in Gozo is generally (10% to 15%) higher than that in Malta. The month with the highest precipitation is December, amounting to 17.3% of the total annual precipitation. The summer period between June and August represents barely 2% of the total rainfall. The period October-December accounts for around 65% of the total annual precipitation.
The soil in the island of Gozo is mostly clay soil (carbonate raw soil) with some small areas consisting of other soil types, such as a sandy soil found in the Ramla Valley of Gozo. These soils are rarely deeper than one meter and are slightly to moderately alkaline (pH between 7.3 and 8.5). The underlying rock is mostly friable, porous limestone, which the roots can penetrate to access water. In the past, most vineyards were planting in these clay soils, especially the traditional goblet type, non-irrigated vineyards. The higher clay content of the soils in Gozo, when compared to Malta, represents a cooler environment for the vine roots than sandy or loamy soils, which results in a lower pH of Gozitan wines.
The island of Gozo also exhibits a much higher salinity than the island of Malta. This is due to the relative small size of the island and the cliff topography situated in coastal areas, which happens to be the direction of the prevailing winds, which causes the spray of waves hitting the cliffs during storms to be carried inland. In addition, Gozo is characterised by a landscape that is hilly in comparison with Malta, especially on the north coast, where most of the vineyards in Gozo are situated. These hills form an array of valleys, most of which open towards the sea and possess a cooler and particular microclimate, sometimes unique to each valley.
Together, these factors result in wine grapes in Gozo, generally maturing up to a week later than their varietal counterparts cultivated in Malta and in wines whose flavours are enhanced and which possess good structure and balance, whilst lacking a harsh acidity. In particular the wines retain a good pH and total acid level even in the case of very mature grapes.
Vineyards used for production
From the island of Gozo only
A smaller number of varieties are allowed to ensure that only the most suitable are used for this category of wine. Some varieties cultivated for DOK Gozo are the Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Vermentino & Cabernet Franc.
Method of cultivation
Only the methods of cultivation Cordone speronato, Guyot & traditional bush method are allowed for DOK production.
Maximum production allowed per hectare
In order to ensure quality, production for DOK Malta is limited to 91hl/ha for some varieties & only 84hl/ha for the rest of the varieties allowed for DOK Malta.
Still wines of red, rosé and white typologies are the most produced as DOK Malta but other wine types such as Sparkling, Semi-sparkling, Liquer, Novello, Passito, Imqadded may also be produced and certified as DOK.
When wines comply, the mentions Riżerva & Superior may be used to on the label.
When applicable, DOK Malta wines may include particular methods of vinification such as Barrel matured, Aged on lees and Late harvest.
Banderols are provided to the wineries and may be attached only on certified wines. Made of special security paper and usually attached to the wine bottles, mostly on the neck of the bottle.LEARN MORE