The range of elevations and soil types in the Orange Region enables a wide range of grape varieties to be grown to perfection. In Orange the performance of a variety will be affected by the elevation at which it is grown because the growing season heat summation is lower at higher elevations and higher at lower elevations. Vineyard factors such as slope, aspect, wind and air drainage, can modify heat summation but not radically change it. In Orange the wine style that a particular variety makes will be medium to light bodied but more aromatic at the cooler higher elevations and medium to full bodied but less aromatic at the warmer lower elevations. In France this heat summation effect can be seen in the style difference between Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet Franc wines produced in the cooler Loire Valley and those same wines produced in the warmer Bordeaux district. Vineyard site selection dictates the wine style produced because it locks in the growing season heat summation and grape variety match that occurs.

The following table divides the Orange Region into elevation zones, equates those zones with heat summation equivalent European wine districts and lists the main varieties grown in these districts.

Elevation zones in the Orange Region in metres

European Wine districts with equivalent heat summations

Varieties grown in these districts

1100 to 1150

Champagne, France

Sancerre / Upper Loire, France 

Geisenheim / Rhine, Germany

Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc


1050 to 1100

Chablis, France

Cote d’Or / Burgundy, France

Jura, France


Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

Savagnin Blanc, Chardonnay

1000 to 1050

Alsace, France


Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir

950 to 1000

Beaujolais, France 

Central Loire Valley, France



Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc

900 to 950



850 to 900

Cote Rotie / Northern Rhone, France

Rioja Alta, Spain

Ribera del Duero, Spain


Shiraz, Viognier



800 to 850



750 to 800

Piedmont, Italy

Bordeaux, France

Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon

700 to 750

Hermitage / Northern Rhone, France



Shiraz, Marsanne

700 to 750



650 to 700

Rioja Baja, Spain



600 to 650

Chianti , central Italy Chateauneuf du pape, Southern Rhone, France




Grenache, Shiraz