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Terroir ter·roir /terˈwär/

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

What is it and how important is it for the quality of wine?

Terroir ter·roir /terˈwär/

There’s a lot of talk about the “terroir”. What is it and how important is it for the quality of wine? Terroir is a French term that identifies the environmental conditions, soil and land characteristics and winemaking tradition of a specific geographical area, which in turn determines the color, scent, and tasting properties and typical nature of a wine.

Each terroir or area of production has unique and specific features. Two areas can have similar climate, soil and land conditions, but are not completely the same or replicable. This is why the same vines planted in different areas will produce grapes with different characteristics, and consequently, very different wines. Components of the Terroir

~Soil and Land – Regardless of the various theories and opinions, wine-growers recognize the influence of soil on the physiology of the vine and on the ripening of the grapes. The type of soil and slope of the terrain determine the needs of the vines, and significantly affects the work in the vineyard. For example, the production area is made up of gravely soil, rich in mineral salts, and flat, which allows positioning the vine rows so that they have the same amount of sunlight throughout the day. It is perfect for producing grapes with a high level of acidity and with intense aromas, suitable for making ready-to-drink sparkling wines.

~Climate – identifies the environmental conditions of the production area, a factor that greatly influences the evolution of the grape’s aromatic qualities.

~Tradition – the practices adopted in the production and wine-making culture of each production area, where the human factor plays an important role in the success of the final product. To these factors is added a fundamental element for the quality of wine, which is the work of the vine-dresser. The vine dresser must have in-depth knowledge of his terroir, his vines, and be able to listen to the land in order to receive its messages and to adopt the winemaking practices most suitable for obtaining wines that reflect the terroir from which they originate. An important relationship certainly exists between the components of the terroir and the quality of wine. To this variable is added another very important factor for obtaining high-quality wines: the production technique. We will address this and much more in our continued series for wine knowledge.

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