Valpolicella boasts a climate that is for the most part mild during the entire year: this is different from the surrounding areas because of its specific mountain formation featuring north-south longitudinal valleys and thus favourable to causing air masses to rise along the slopes, when strong southerly winds blow. Moreover, its northerly areas are well-protected by the Pre-Alps of the Lessinia mountains. Therefore, the climate is completely influenced by these factors, especially when it comes to temperatures, precipitation and dominant winds. All of this brings about a climate that is almost Mediterranean, and of which the vineyards, olive and cypress trees are further proof.
Minimum temperatures, above all in winter, are lowest in the flatlands and not in the hills; it rarely goes below zero in the coldest months of December, January and February. In the summer the average temperatures remain between 25°C and 30°C, while minimums hover between 18°C and 20°C. Summer temperatures are always a little lower here than on the plain, especially at night, when mountain breezes cool even the lower valleys.
Snow in the Valpolicella area, especially after the 90s, is a rare event, although there can be snowfalls of a few centimetres that disappear quickly; perhaps this is due to the change in climactic conditions caused by the greenhouse effect that has reduced the snowfall even in the higher areas of the mountains. Compared to the province of Verona, fog is very rare in Valpolicella although sometimes there can be a day or two of fog in the valley bottoms and in the hills.
The most precipitation falls in spring (April-May) and autumn (October-November); the amount of rainfall varies however from valley to valley, even during the same time periods. Rainfall starts to get heavier as you move up from the plains to the hills and mountains, so much so that the hills register a third more than the plain area and the mountains almost double.
This brings about quite different types of quality and ripening periods of the grapes among the valleys and surrounding areas, for the different types of agronomic and soil conditions and soil hydration. Rain comes mainly in the form of heavy summer storms, but also in autumn when the sirocco blows hard and causes equally heavy rains.
The predominating winds in the summer come from the west or northwest, even if all the valleys are influenced by thermal winds (mountain and valley breezes). In the winter, the predominating winds come from the north (“tramontana”) and from the north-east (“bora”); both of these winds are very dry and cold; contrarily, sciroccos from the south-east are rare.
Instead, of common occurrence is the mild dry wind, the “Föhn”, coming from the north caused by the Gulf, along with the hot and humid wind, the sirocco, from the south-east which brings abundant precipitation, especially on the hills with south-eastern exposure. This autumnal-winter climactic conditions influence the process of the longer ripening period of grapes, and in Valpolicella they react well to drying and there is a limited presence of parasites (moulds), especially where fruit orchards are in the hills.
In Valpolicella there are, above all, areas that also have micro-climates located just below the hills. In these cases, where the areas are permanently exposed in a southerly direction, there is a climate that could be defined sub-Mediterranean with flora and fauna that are typical of more southerly latitudes. In some areas the climate resembles that of Liguria and not that of the Padana plain.