Posted By Davepoleon at
I've asked the following question several times over the months and years and never gotten a real answer. Domain selection has put the need for an answer on a time limit.
I've build a lot of my intent and purchases around being a mayor/vintnor and will be pursuing the grandmaster vintner skills.
In earth biomes there are relatively few areas in the world that can grow wine grapes naturally. This appears to be mirrored in the biomes made available for settlement selection. Since Caspian has hinted at soil pH, temperature, moisture levels, and altitudes all being aspects of farming then its likely that K3 (NA-W, Map I) will be the only biomes that can effectively, and without extreme terraforming/earthwork efforts, naturally grow wine grapes.
Oh, I can speak to this! Sorry for not seeing the thread earlier. Elyrian Grapes are a little hardier than most of the wine producing varieties we grow for that purpose on Earth. This is the case specifically so that we can support broader wine growing industry without requiring that we jump-start the soil remediation and environmental regulation technologies you might use on Earth to grow wine grapes in places they aren't really suited for.
While the soil PH will matter, and temperature and altitude do still play a part, the reality is that you can grow wine grapes "natively" in the following biomes:
- Mixed Leaf Forest
- Lower Montane
- Shrub steppe
- Woodland Savanna (With access to the sun)
There are a few caveats though. Elyrian grapes grow best when they can soak up the sun all day long, and while they are hardy enough to handle both high and low temperatures, they prefer things to be a little warm. Not too hot though - when they're growing in a place a little too warm, they survive high heat by pulling a lot of water out of the soil, so the general rule is the hotter the climate you're growing in the more water you'll need to provide.
With domain selection near, I may be forced to leave my kingdom and duchy of 2 years so that I can grow wine grapes. Or risk wasting hundreds of dollars of preparation on hoping that the extreme tip of an adjacent biome will still be a practical solution.
The good news is that while the biomes I listed are places where you can "just grow" Elyrian Red grapes, you can also grow them in neighboring biomes with some work. For example, they'd grow fine in the broadleaf forest if you could provide them with access to the sun all day, and they'd even grow well in the semi-arid desert, if you can keep them in the water they need to deal with the heat. But on the other hand the swamps and wetlands are just too wet and the soil is all wrong, so getting them to grow in those types of biomes will take a lot of effort, so they don't just grow anywhere.
You will get different resulting properties on the grapes you grow depending on where you grow them (and those properties can be passed on to the resulting wine, for good or ill). If the soil isn't in the sweet spot PH wise, but not unbearably bad, the grapes might be more sour or sweet than you expect, for example. Or, if they don't get enough water, but otherwise get the nutrients they need, the yields may be lower quality, with smaller grapes that are incredibly sweet, requiring you to use more grapes to make your must and then use some technique or additive in the wine making process to deal with the excess sugars without impacting your alcohol content too strongly.
I don't mind a little added effort if it means I can stay with my Kingdom and Duchy, but if it's going to be a painstaking and boring grind hole to just get the soil and water to maintain a basic quality then I'll be forced to make a really disappointing and heartbreaking choice during domain selection.
There are a few places where growing wine grapes really will take a lot of effort - the extreme northern and southern biomes, and biomes that don't get enough sun or are too cold being stand out examples - but generally speaking you should be able to grow them in pretty much any kingdom, provided your not too picky about where in that kingdom you put down roots.
Our intent isn't to make it so hard to produce wine that it's a grind in anywhere but a single kingdom, though; what we're aiming for, in terms of game balance and world building, is a set of constraints and conditions that mean wine produced in different regions are unique from each other and require slightly different methods of growth and production, so that each region has a distinct "flavor" and hosts the knowledge of crafting techniques and no-how that aren't readily available elsewhere.
This is our aim so that the world naturally works to foster cultural exchange and trade. We never want to make things a grind just for the grind's sake, nor do we generally seek to make something so exclusive that you need to uproot your whole plan just to participate. (there some very specific exceptions to that last point, but they are very specific, such as the legendary taverns, or the flora that was discovered in the lost vault event)
Hope that helps! :)