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The concept of terroir in viticulture

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Abstract

Terroir is a highly important concept in viticulture because it relates the sensory attributes of wine to the environmental conditions in which the grapes are grown. Quality hierarchy and wine style may, to a considerable extent, be explained by terroir. However, terroir is difficult to study on a scientific basis because many factors are involved, including climate, soil, cultivar and human practices, and these factors interact. The best expression of terroir is achieved when the precocity of the grapevine variety is suited to the local climatic conditions in such a way that full ripeness is reached by the end of the growing season. For the production of high quality red wines, environmental conditions should induce moderate vine vigour, either through moderate water deficit stress or through low nitrogen supply. These conditions are most frequently met on shallow or stony soils, in moderately dry climates. Regular but not excessive vine water and nitrogen supplies are needed to produce high quality white wines. However, great terroir emerges only when socio-economic conditions are favourable to the establishment of quality-orientated wine production.
The Concept of Terroir in Viticulture
CORNELIS VAN LEEUWEN and GERARD SEGUIN
Original manuscript received, June 2005
Revised manuscript received, January 2006
ABSTRACT Terroir is a highly important concept in viticulture because it relates the sensory
attributes of wine to the environmental conditions in which the grapes are grown. Quality hierarchy
and wine style may, to a considerable extent, be explained by terroir. However, terroir is difficult to
study on a scientific basis because many factors are involved, including climate, soil, cultivar and
human practices, and these factors interact. The best expression of terroir is achieved when the
precocity of the grapevine variety is suited to the local climatic conditions in such a way that full
ripeness is reached by the end of the growing season. For the production of high quality red wines,
environmental conditions should induce moderate vine vigour, either through moderate water deficit
stress or through low nitrogen supply. These conditions are most frequently met on shallow or stony
soils, in moderately dry climates. Regular but not excessive vine water and nitrogen supplies are
needed to produce high quality white wines. However, great terroir emerges only when socio-
economic conditions are favourable to the establishment of quality-orientated wine production.
Introduction
Terroir is concerned with the relationship between the characteristics of an agricultural
product (quality, taste, style) and its geographic origin, which might influence these
characteristics. The concept of terroir is frequently used to explain the hierarchy of
high-quality wines. It can be defined as an interactive ecosystem, in a given place,
including climate, soil and the vine (Seguin, 1988). To understand the way terroir
functions, it is essential to take into account the interactions among the factors that
contribute to terroir. While very high quality wines are grown in various climates, it
is impossible to define the ideal climate for fine wines in terms of temperature, rainfall
(amount and distribution), or solar radiation. Nor can one define the best possible soil
for growing high-quality wines in terms of pebble, clay or lime content, soil depth or
mineral content. These factors of the natural environment have to be considered in
terms of their interaction with the vine. Human factors, such as history, socio-
economics, as well as viticultural and oenological techniques, are also part of terroir
(Seguin, 1986). Viticulture is a human activity. The history of the socio-economic
Cornelis van Leeuwen, Unite
´de Viticulture, ENITA de Bordeaux, 1, Cours du Ge
´ne
´ral de Gaulle, BP 201,
33175 Gradignan-cedex, France (E-mail: k-van-leeuwen@enitab.fr).
Journal of Wine Research, 2006, Vol. 17, No. 1,
pp. 1 10
ISSN 0957-1264 print/ISSN 1469-9672 online/06/01000110 #2006 Institute of Masters of Wine
DOI: 10.1080/09571260600633135
environment may be important in understanding why a given vineyard has emerged in
a given site and why it has prospered. Mastery of viticultural and oenological practices
is necessary in order to optimise in the wine the potential of the natural environmental
factors. This last point, which is extensively treated by Jackson and Lombard (1983), is
not within the scope of this paper.
Human Factors
It is important to consider the human factor in terroir because no vineyard exists
without the intervention of mankind. Wine is an essential element in eating and drink-
ing, especially in Mediterranean regions. Because vines (like olive trees) have low agro-
nomic needs in terms of mineral and water supply, farmers used to reserve richer soils
for cereals and grazing and planted vines on poor soils, either because they were
shallow or stony, or because they were located on steep slopes. Mankind also played
an essential role in the evolution through selection of grapevine varieties to increase
their ability to produce high-quality wines, because none of the currently cultivated
varieties of Vitis vinifera existed in nature.
Vineyards emerge in locations where the socio-economic conditions are favourable
for wine growing. The difficulty of transporting a liquid beverage in the past should
not be overlooked. Many vineyards arose in the vicinity of a concentration of consu-
mers, or near a harbour or a navigable river. Vineyards that were established in
locations where the natural environment was favourable for growing quality wines
survived, while other, less favourable, locations, disappeared. Because Paris was (and
is) an important centre of wine-consumption, a flourishing wine-growing region devel-
oped close to the French capital, which produced up to 4.8 million hectolitres of wine
on 24,000 ha in 1820 (Logette, 1988). However, climatic conditions in that part of
France are not optimum for wine growing since it is difficult to attain ripeness. For
this reason, wine growing sharply decreased around Paris after the phylloxera crisis
when the opening of the Paris-Lyon-Marseille railway in the second half of the nine-
teenth century made it possible to transport wine to Paris from the South of France,
where climatic conditions were more favourable for wine growing. Around La Rochelle
and Bordeaux, two flourishing vineyards developed during the Middle Ages because of
the possibility of transporting wine overseas, to England and Holland. The vineyard at
La Rochelle, where the soils are not particularly favourable for vine growing, dis-
appeared with the decline of the port; the vineyard at Bordeaux survived, even
when its port lost in economic significance, because the environmental conditions
(soil and climate) and the cultivars used around Bordeaux were particularly suitable
for the production of high-quality wines. Even today, new vineyards develop where
the socio-economic context is favourable for the production of wine. The emergence
of the Pic Saint Loup area in the Languedoc can largely be explained by the beauty
of the countryside, which, combined with the vicinity of Montpellier and the Mediter-
ranean sea, makes it an attractive site for investors. In Australia, wine growing in the
Hunter Valley was introduced by early settlers, who brought in vine cuttings via
Sydney, although the humid climate is far from ideal for wine growing. Later, wine
growing extended to more favourable sites, although vineyards in the Barossa and
Yarra Valleys also largely benefited from the vicinity of Adelaide and Melbourne.
There are very few examples of famous wine-growing areas developing in inhospitable
and remote areas, far from centres of consumption.
It was due to the trade with England that Bordeaux developed the production of
wines of origin. Since the Middle Ages, wine was sold in Bordeaux by the name of
2CORNELIS VAN LEEUWEN AND GERARD SEGUIN
the parish. Selling prices varied according to the name of the commune, which means
that it was already acknowledged that some origins produced better wines than others.
The first estate to sell its wines under its own name was cha
ˆteau Haut-Brion, under the
ownership of Arnaud de Pontac, in the seventeenth century. He was convinced that the
wines of Haut-Brion were superior to other wines of Pessac, justifying higher prices.
When Arnaud de Pontac’s son opened a tavern in London, Haut-Brion soon became
an acclaimed wine in the capital of England. This brought the philosopher John
Locke to visit Haut-Brion in 1677. Locke refers to this visit in his complete works
(Pijassou, 1980: 358).
The vine de Pontac, so much esteemed in England, grown on a rising open to
the West, in a white sand mixed with a little gravel, which one would think
bear nothing; but there is so much a particularity in the soil, that at Mr.
Pontac’s near Bordeaux the merchants assured me that the wine growing
in the very next vineyards, where there was only a ditch between, and the
soil, to appearance, perfectly the same, was by no means so good.
This suggests that as early as the second half of the seventeenth century the soil was
already thought to be an important factor in wine quality in Bordeaux.
Inspired by the example of Cha
ˆteau Haut-Brion, rich Bordeaux merchants created
large estates in the Me
´doc between the end of the seventeenth century and the eight-
eenth century. Some of today’s most famous Me
´doc estates were among the first to be
planted with vines in that region. Apparently, enough empirical knowledge was avail-
able at that time for efficient site selection. Qualitative differences among the wines pro-
duced led to a sophisticated hierarchy in selling prices, which was the basis for the
classification of 1855 (Markham, 1997). Although terroir-related factors such as
climate and soil were not directly taken into account in the classification of 1855, the
wines from the Me
´doc cha
ˆteaux can be considered ‘terroir wines’. These cha
ˆteaux
produce their wines exclusively from grapes grown in their own vineyards, where the
soil remains invariable over the years.
In today’s wine production, a distinction should be made between ‘terroir wines’ and
‘branded wines’. Terroir wines are produced in a specified location which remains
the same over the years. They owe their specific characteristics to the influence of
climate and soil on vine behaviour and wine quality. Examples are estate wines or
single-vineyard wines. The volume of these wines cannot be increased, which can
make some famous terroir wines very prone to speculative investment. Branded
wines are produced by blending wine or grapes from larger areas and from a variety
of sources, which may vary from year to year. They owe their characteristics to oeno-
logical processes and blending. Their volume can be increased to meet demand. Trace-
ability is an important issue in today’s agro-business. Terroir wines have always had
excellent traceability. Three centuries ago, a consumer who enjoyed a bottle of
Lafite could visit the vines which produced the fruit, know when the wine was made
and bottled and meet the people involved in its production.
Factors of the Natural Environment
Climate
Macroclimate and vine climate interaction
The vine is a perennial plant adapted to a wide range of climatic conditions. The main
cultivated vine species for quality wine-making is Vitis vinifera, which can survive
THE CONCEPT OF TERROIR IN VITICULTURE 3
temperatures as low as 158Cto208C (depending on the cultivar) in winter. The
heat load needed for grapes to attain full ripeness is highly variable among cultivars.
At least 1200 degree days base of 108C are necessary for the most early ripening culti-
vars, which is another limitation on vine cultivation at high latitudes. In equatorial
regions, vine vegetation is continuous and all the reproductive stages exist simul-
taneously in the same plot. Although viticulture is possible in equatorial regions,
especially for table grape production, fruit grown under these conditions does not
have a high oenological potential. Taking into account these limitations, it appears
that the zone most suited to growing high-quality grapes is between the 35th and
the 50th parallel latitude, on both the northern and southern hemisphere. In some
cases, high altitude can compensate for low latitude.
Precociousness for fruit ripening is a genetically determined property that is highly
variable from one cultivar to another. Huglin has calculated the heat load require-
ments for a large range of cultivars (Huglin and Schneider, 1998). In the ampelo-
graphic collection of the Ecole Nationale Supe
´rieure d’Agronomie de Montpellier
(ENSAM), where several hundred cultivars are grown in the same vineyard, it is
common to observe a two-month time lag between the moment of ripeness of the
earliest and the latest ripening varieties.
In traditional wine-growing regions in Europe, growers have used this property to
adapt the vines to local climatic conditions. At high latitudes, the limiting factor for
producing high-quality wines is the level of ripeness of the grapes. Unripe grapes
give green, acidic wines, with low alcohol levels, as a result of insufficient sugar accumu-
lation in the fruit. For this reason, early ripening varieties such as pinot noir, chardon-
nay and gewu
¨rztraminer are grown at high latitudes, to optimise the chances of
attaining correct ripeness. At lower latitudes, where the climate is warmer, grapes
might attain ripeness early in the summer. Quick ripening of the grapes reduces
aromatic expression in the wines produced. This was already observed by Ribe
´reau-
Gayon and Peynaud (1960: 122), who wrote that “the best wines are produced with
cultivars that just achieve ripeness under the local climatic conditions, as if quick ripen-
ing of the grapes burned the essences that makes the finesse of great wines”. According
to this empirical knowledge, growers have planted late-ripening varieties such as Gre-
nache and Mourve
`dre (called Monastrel in Spain) in warmer climates at low latitudes.
As a result, in traditional wine-growing regions in Europe, grape picking generally
takes place between 10 September and 10 October, despite huge climatic differences
between, for example, the Mosel in Germany and Alicante in Spain. This type of viti-
culture is also called ‘cool climate viticulture’, not necessarily because the climate is
particularly cool, but because the ripening of the grapes occurs in cool conditions, at
the end of the summer or in the early autumn.
In its early stages, New World viticulture did not have the experience of Old World
growers with regard to the choice of cultivars in relation to the local climatic con-
ditions. In most cases, early-ripening varieties were planted in relatively warm con-
ditions. These varieties were chosen as much for marketing reasons (chardonnay to
produce a white Burgundy-style wine, cabernet sauvignon to produce a red Me
´doc-
style wine) as for technical requirements. Although the grapes easily attain ripeness
in these conditions (resulting in high sugar and low organic acid content), they lack
specific aromas. To produce aromatic wines, wine-making technology can compensate
for the neutrality of the grapes. Good examples are most New World chardonnay
wines. Yeasts produce highly aromatic esters (e.g. isoamyl acetate, isobutyl acetate)
when the alcoholic fermentation takes place at low temperatures. Lactic bacteria
produce aldehydes and carbonyl compounds during malolactic fermentation
4CORNELIS VAN LEEUWEN AND GERARD SEGUIN
(e.g. diacetyl, which smells like butter). Fermentation in new oak gives vanilla aromas.
Wines produced from early-ripening varieties in warm climates (especially during
grape ripening) can be good when the wine-making technology is controlled, but
because the grapes do not contain a high level of aroma compounds, they lack
terroir expression. A certain standardisation in taste occurs in this type of wine,
which leads many to seek out “anything but chardonnay”.
However, although there is more cool-climate viticulture, and, as a result, more
wines expressing terroir, in the Old World, this is only due to greater historical experi-
ence. Viticulturists in the New World are now finding cooler areas, where wines expres-
sing terroir can be made. In California, good examples are the Carneros region north of
San Francisco, where the cool influence of the bay is greater than in the Napa Valley,
and the coastal region near Monterrey. In Australia, the relatively cool Yarra Valley
(north of Melbourne) and Western Australia are quickly developing regions. New
Zealand sauvignon blanc shows how powerfully aromatic this variety can be when
grown in cool conditions.
Mesoclimate and topoclimate
Climatic variability within a wine-growing region can be described as mesoclimatic
variability. When it is the result of relief (altitude, aspect, slope), it is called topo-
climatic variability. Especially in cool regions, where it is difficult to achieve grape ripe-
ness, topoclimate can be a major terroir factor. In the Mosel Valley in Germany,
quality wines can only be produced on steep, south-facing slopes. In Burgundy, the
best wines are produced in the Co
ˆte d’Or, at approximately 300 m above sea level.
In the Hautes-Co
ˆtes, where the altitude is higher, it is harder for grapes to reach com-
plete ripeness. Picking is delayed by 10 days, and wine quality is generally good, but
rarely outstanding, despite the fact that fine soils for vine growing can be found in
this part of Burgundy.
Microclimate
Microclimatic variation in the fruit zone can be induced by the soil type and through
canopy management. It can have a great impact on the quality performance of a vine-
yard. Dry soils (for instance stony soils) do warm up more quickly than wet soils and
induce early ripening. Night temperatures are cooler close to the ground, but day
temperatures are higher. When a cultivar has difficulties in ripening in the given
climatic conditions (for instance, cabernet sauvignon in the Bordeaux area), low
vine training can contribute to improving quality, although it increases vine suscepti-
bility to spring frost. In warm climates, with early-ripening varieties, high vine training
should be preferred, to delay fruit ripening. Soils inducing low vine vigour (for
instance, because of low water and/or nitrogen availability for the vines) improve
light penetration inside the canopy and on the fruit zone, which is essential for
growing high quality fruit. Microclimate can also be improved through specific
canopy management (Carbonneau, 1980; Smart and Robinson, 1991), but this
subject is not within the scope of this paper.
Soil
Vines can be grown on a huge variety of soils. In deep, rich soils, vines are vigorous and
highly productive, but better wines are generally produced when the vines are culti-
vated on poor soils. The effect of the soil on vine behaviour and grape composition is
complex, because the soil influences vine mineral nutrition and water uptake
THE CONCEPT OF TERROIR IN VITICULTURE 5
conditions, but also rooting depth and temperature in the root zone. Soils can be
studied from a geological, a pedological or an agronomic perspective.
Geology
Geology deals with rock types and dating of sedimentary strata. Geology indirectly acts
on topography. The soil type is also related to the sort of rock on which it has devel-
oped. In some regions, there is a rather good correspondence between the geological
sediment and the quality of the wines produced on it. The example most often cited
is Chablis, where all the famous vineyards are planted on Kimmeridgian limestone
and marl, while vineyards on Portlandian limestone produce the less famous petit
Chablis (Pomerol, 1989). In this case, the relation is probably based on the influence
of the rock type on the geomorphology of the region. South- and east-facing slopes
are shaped in the soft Kimmeridgian limestone and marl, providing good exposition
and compensating for the cool climate of the Chablis region. The harder Portlandian
rock is found on wind-exposed plateaux, located at higher altitudes, where it is harder
for chardonnay grapes to attain complete ripeness (Wilson, 1998).
In most other regions, the link between geology and wine quality is less obvious. In
Bordeaux, very good wines are produced on sediments of a large variety of geological
origin: Oligocene heavy clay sediments, Oligocene limestone and Quaternary alluvium
(Seguin, 1983). Some of the finest wines are produced on Oligocene Asteries limestone
in Saint-Emilion, while lesser wines are made on the same rock type in the Entre-
Deux-Mers region.
Pedology
Soil types can be mapped, based on a pedological classification. Some soil types, such as
limestone soils, are known for producing generally high quality wines, while others,
such as soils subject to water logging, are known for being less suitable for producing
quality wines. However, throughout the world, outstanding wines are grown on a
huge variety of soils. In the Bordeaux area, top wines are produced on soils as different
as alkaline limestone soils (Ausone), acidic gravely soils (Lafite-Rothschild), neutral
gravely soils (Cheval Blanc) or heavy clay soils (Petrus, Cheval Blanc). It is generally
not possible to equate a soil map of a given region with a map of quality potential for
wine-growing (van Leeuwen, 1989).
Agronomic approach
To understand the effect of the soil in viticulture, it is necessary to take into account the
interaction between the soil and the vine (agronomic approach). Soil influences vine
behaviour and wine quality through the temperature in the root zone, and through
mineral and water supplies.
Barbeau et al. (1998a, b) showed that vine precocity, especially at budbreak, is
related to soil temperature in the root zone. Soil temperature in the root zone is high
in dry and shallow soils and low in deep, humid soils. Vine precocity can be an import-
ant quality factor in cool climates, as in the Loire Valley, where it is difficult to ripen
cabernet franc in cool vintages.
Among the minerals the soil supplies to the vine, nitrogen is obviously the one that
most influences vine vigour, yield and grape ripening. Many studies deal with the influ-
ence of various levels of nitrogen fertilization on these parameters (Kliewer, 1971; Bell
et al., 1979; Delas et al., 1991; Spayd et al., 1993; Spayd et al., 1994). Other papers
deal with the depressive effect of cover crops on vine nitrogen supply, which can
partly explain the quality-improving effect of this technique in red wine production
6CORNELIS VAN LEEUWEN AND GERARD SEGUIN
(Soyer et al., 1996). Much less documented in scientific literature is the fact that vine
nitrogen uptake is likely to vary considerably in relation to soil parameters such as
soil organic matter content, C/N ratio of soil organic matter and organic matter turn-
over, even when no nitrogen fertilization or crop cover is implemented. Soil organic
matter turnover depends on soil temperature, soil aeration, soil pH and soil moisture
content. It is also very much slowed down by the presence of active limestone. As a
result, the level of natural soil nitrogen supply to the vines can be considered as a
component of terroir and it is highly variable depending on the soil type (van
Leeuwen et al., 2000). Chone
´et al. (2001a) showed that limited nitrogen supply to
the vines due to soil parameters increases quality in red wine production because it
reduces vine vigour and increases berry and wine phenolic content. This is not true
in white wine production, where vine nitrogen supply should be at least moderate to
obtain high aroma potential in grapes (Peyrot des Gachons et al., 2005).
The effect of other minerals on vine development and grape quality potential is much
less obvious, as long as neither excess nor severe deficiency alters vine physiology
(Seguin, 1983). This was confirmed by van Leeuwen et al. (2004).
Vine Water Uptake Conditions
Vine water status depends on climate (rainfall and potential evapotranspiration), soil
(water holding capacity) and training system (canopy architecture and leaf area). Vine
water uptake conditions are a key factor in understanding the effect of the terroir on
grape quality potential, because the main terroir factors are involved and interact
(climate, soil, grapevine). Vine water uptake was first studied by means of a neutron
moisture probe in the soils of the Haut-Me
´doc (Seguin, 1969). The same author
showed that grape quality potential was related to a regular but moderate water
supply to the vines (Seguin, 1975). In unirrigated field conditions, berry size is
decreased and total phenolics are increased when vines face water deficits, which
results in higher grape quality potential for red wine-making but lower yields
(Duteau et al., 1981; van Leeuwen and Seguin, 1994; Koundouras et al., 1999;
Chone
´et al., 2001a; Tregoat et al., 2002; van Leeuwen et al., 2004). These effects
were confirmed in irrigation trials by Matthews and Anderson (1988) and Ojeda
et al. (2002). Berry ripening speed is increased when vine water status is low (van
Leeuwen et al., 2003). Aroma potential of white grapes might be decreased under
severe water deficit stress (Peyrot des Gachons et al., 2005).
Vine water uptake conditions can be monitored either by measuring or modelling
variations in soil water content or by means of physiological indicators. Physiological
indicators use the vine as an indicator of its own water status. Among physiological
indicators, stem water potential (Chone
´et al., 2001b) and carbon isotope discrimi-
nation measured on grape sugar (van Leeuwen et al., 2001; Gaudille
`re et al., 2002),
have proved to be particularly efficient to indicate vine water status in terroir studies
(Tregoat et al., 2002).
Vine water uptake conditions can be modified by means of irrigation. Irrigation
increases not only the production of sugar and skin phenolics per vine, but also yield
(Matthews and Anderson, 1988). Yield is generally more rapidly increased than
sugar and skin phenolics on a per vine basis, which might result in dilution. Only
deficit irrigation can result in economically acceptable yields with high quality poten-
tial grapes in very dry regions. Irrigation is likely to modify terroir expression. The
ideal water status with regard to grape quality potential is highly dependent on
yield. In dry farmed vineyards in dry areas, excellent red wines can be made from
THE CONCEPT OF TERROIR IN VITICULTURE 7
fruit grown on severely water stressed vines, as long as the yield is very low. For higher
yield, the best results in terms of quality are obtained when water deficit is mild, which
might be obtained through deficit irrigation in dry areas.
Conclusions
The highest expression of terroir is obtained in cool-climate viticulture, when the pre-
cociousness of the grapevine variety allows it to ripen its fruit at the end of the growing
season (at the end of September in the northern hemisphere). Early-ripening varieties
should be chosen in cool climates, in order to obtain full ripeness, and late-ripening var-
ieties should be chosen in warmer climates, so that grape ripening does not take place in
the warmest part of the summer. High grape quality for red wine production is
obtained when a limiting factor reduces vine vigour and berry size and increases
grape skin phenolics. In most terroirs known for their high quality performance, this
limiting factor is mild water deficit, either because the climate is dry (high ET
0
and/
or moderately low rainfall) or because the soil water holding capacity is low. Soil
water holding capacity can be low because of high pebble content or because of
reduced soil depth. Hence, high quality potential viticultural soils are either stony or
shallow. Low nitrogen supply as a result of soil parameters can also be a quality
factor in red wine production. For white wine production, water and nitrogen
supply to the vines should be at least moderate, because severe stress can negatively
affect grape aroma potential.
Acknowledgements
We thank Julia Harding for proofreading.
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10 CORNELIS VAN LEEUWEN AND GERARD SEGUIN
... Terroir may be defined as the interaction of all ecosystem characteristics in a given place that affect the crop phenotype, including vines (grape varieties and rootstocks), climate, and soil (van Leeuwen and Seguin, 2006). Grapevines are planted in a huge variety of different soils throughout the world, but soil is one of the most important factors in wine quality (van Leeuwen and Seguin, 2006). ...
... Terroir may be defined as the interaction of all ecosystem characteristics in a given place that affect the crop phenotype, including vines (grape varieties and rootstocks), climate, and soil (van Leeuwen and Seguin, 2006). Grapevines are planted in a huge variety of different soils throughout the world, but soil is one of the most important factors in wine quality (van Leeuwen and Seguin, 2006). The wine economy of an area, including the focus on marketing high-or low-priced wine, is associated with soil characteristics, as well as environmental factors such as climate, geomorphology, and landscape quality (Costantini et al., 2016). ...
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Healthy soils form the basis of sustainable viticulture, where soil characteristics have a direct impact on wine quantity and quality. Soil not only provides water and nutrients to vines, but is also a living medium containing micro- and macroorganisms that perform many ecological functions and provide ecosystem services. These organisms are involved in many processes, from decomposing organic matter to providing minerals to vine roots. They also control diseases, pests, and weeds, in addition to improving the soil structure in terms of its capacity to retain water and nutrients. Related to decomposition processes, the carbon content of vineyard soils influences fertility, erosion and biogeochemical cycles, with significant implications for the global climate. However, common agricultural practices represent strong threats to biodiversity and associated ecosystem services provided by vineyard soils. As consumers increasingly consider environmental aspects in their purchase decisions, winegrowers have to adapt their vineyard management strategies, raising the demand for sustainable pest- and weed-control methods. This article presents a comprehensive review of the impacts of vineyard practices on the soil ecosystem, biodiversity, and biodiversity-based ecosystem services, and provides future prospects for sustainable viticulture.
... Viticulture is one of the most widespread agricultural production systems in the world, representing a global multibillion-dollar enterprise (OIV., 2019). Wine production results from complex interactions between the physical environment (climate, soil), the cultivar and cultivation techniques, which finally determine the terroir concept (van Leeuwen et al., 2004;van Leeuwen and Seguin, 2006). Local viticulture aims at adapting vineyards and wine models to the available natural resources that best suit the site and the chosen wine objective . ...
... From this point of view, the acid-to-sugar ratio at harvest is important to building grape flavour, which is fundamental for the taste of grapes and ultimately determines wine quality and typicity (Conde et al., 2007;Kuhn et al., 2014). Within a changing climate, it is important to limit the anticipated ripening thresholds being met during the hottest part of the summer leading to thermal decoupling of berry traits which likely contributes to unbalanced wines: too high alcohol levels, lacking in acidity, freshness and poor aromatic bouquet (Duchêne et al., 2010;Parker et al., 2020;Petrie and Sadras, 2008;Sadras and Moran, 2012;van Leeuwen and Seguin, 2006). The modelling framework proposed in the present study enabled the arrest of grape maturation to be assessed both qualitatively and quantitatively by underling the climate variables and most critical time intervals during the season that significantly impact sugar-to-acid decoupling under heat stress and excess or deficits in rainfall. ...
Article
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Current climate change is increasing inter-and intra-annual variability in atmospheric conditions leading to grapevine phenological shifts as well as altered grape ripening and composition at ripeness. This study aims to i) detect weather anomalies within a long-term time series, ii) model grape ripening revealing altered traits in time to target specific ripeness thresholds for four Vitis vinifera cultivars, and iii) establish empirical relationships between ripening and weather anomalies with forecasting purposes. The Day of the Year (DOY) to reach specific grape ripeness targets was determined from time series of sugar concentrations, total acidity and pH collected from a private company in the period 2009-2021 in NorthEastern Italy. Non-linear regression models were fitted over a time series of ripening parameters on a calendar time basis and assessed for modelling efficiency (EF) and error of prediction (RMSE) in four grapevine cultivars (Merlot, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Glera and Garganega). For each vintage and cultivar, advances or delays in DOY to target specified ripeness thresholds were assessed with respect to the average ripening dynamics. A thirteen years' long meteorological series monitored at a ground weather station using hourly air temperature and rainfall data was analysed. Climate statistics were obtained and for each time interval (month, bimester) weather anomalies were identified. A linear regression analysis was performed to assess correlations between ripening and weather anomalies. For each cultivar, ripeness advances or delays expressed in the number of days to target the specific ripening threshold were assessed in relation to registered weather anomalies and the specific reference time interval in the vintage. Precipitation of the warmest month and temperature anomalies during late spring (May-June) and during the warmest month (August) we found to be important to understanding the effect of climate change on sugar ripeness. Maximum and minimum temperatures of the May-June bimester and maximum temperatures of the warmest month best correlate with altered total acidity evolution and pH increment during the ripening process. A new modelling framework is presented using historical data that supports management decisions by better understanding past impacts and forecasting for the future.
... Nevertheless, quality and typicity are among the main sources of consumer's willingness to pay, resulting in added value in wine production (Tempère et al., 2019;Souza Gonzaga et al., 2021). Varietal choices, viticultural techniques, and winemaking procedures contribute to crafting quality and typicity (Robinson et al., 2013;Jackson and Lombard, 1992;Ribéreau-Gayon et al., 2006;Ribéreau-Gayon et al., 2021); as does the origin (i.e. the place where the vines grow), which is referred to as the terroir effect (Seguin, 1988;van Leeuwen and Seguin, 2006). According to the international organization of vine and wine (OIV, 2010), vitivinicultural "terroir" is a concept which refers to an area in which collective knowledge of the interactions between the identifiable physical and biological environment and applied vitivinicultural practices develops, providing distinctive characteristics for the products originating from this area. ...
... It means that the simultaneous achievement of technological, phenolic and aromatic maturity, which is a prerequisite for the production of balanced fine wines, is most likely to occur when grape ripening happens under mild conditions, neither too cold, neither too hot. These conditions are most likely to be met when grapes reach full ripeness at the end of the season, in September or early October in the northern hemisphere or in March or early April in the southern hemisphere (van Leeuwen and Seguin, 2006). To a certain extent aromatic maturity can be modulated by adapting the timing of harvest. ...
Article
Full-text available
Harvesting grapes at adequate maturity is key to the production of high-quality red wines. Viticulturists, enologists, and wine makers define several types of maturity, including physiological maturity, technological maturity, phenolic maturity, and aromatic maturity. Physiological maturity is a biological concept. Technological maturity and phenolic maturity are relatively well documented in the scientific literature, being linked to quantifiable compounds in grape must. Articles on aromatic maturity are scarcer. This is surprising, because aromatic maturity is, probably, the most important of the four in determining wine quality and typicity, including terroir expression, i.e. the identifiable taste of wine in relation to its origin. Optimal terroir expression can be obtained when technological, phenolic, and aromatic maturity are reached at the same time, or within a short time frame. This is more likely to occur when the ripening takes place under mild temperatures, neither too cool, nor too hot.Aromatic expression in wine can be driven, in order from low to high maturity, by green, herbal, spicy, floral, fresh fruit, ripe fruit, jammy fruit, dried fruit, candied, or cooked fruit aromas. Green and cooked fruit aromas are not desirable in red wines, while the levels of other aromatic nuances contribute to the typicity of the wine in relation to its place of origin. Wines produced in cool climates, or on cool soils in temperate climates, are likely to express herbal or fresh fruit aromas, while wines produced under warm climates, or on warm soils in temperate climates, may express ripe fruit, jammy fruit, or candied fruit aromas.This article reviews the state of the art of compounds underpinning the aromas of wines obtained from grapes harvested at different stages of maturity. Advances in the understanding of how aromatic maturity shapes terroir expression and how it can be manipulated by variety choices and management practices, under current and future climatic conditions, are shown. Early ripening varieties perform better in cool climates and late ripening varieties in warm climates. Additionally, maturity can be advanced or delayed by different canopy management practices or training systems. Timing of harvest also impacts aromatic expression of the produced wine. Gaps in the literature are highlighted to guide future directions of research.
... Grape and wine quality is mainly determined by the "terroir", which is made up of a series of factors, including climate, soil, cultivar, cultivation management, oenological techniques, cultural conventions, etc. [8,9]. Climate is the major factor influencing quantity and quality of grape and wine, such as yield, composition, aroma, and berry color [10]. ...
Article
Full-text available
As a perennial plant with long productive span of 30–50 years, grapevine may experience cross-lifespan climate change, which can modify wine quality and challenge viticultural sustainability. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate the viticultural suitability by considering both current and future climate conditions. To this end, a maximum entropy model was proposed to delimitate potentially suitable areas for viticulture based on multi-source data in a novel wine region, Ningxia, China, considering both current and future climate conditions. Firstly, we combined traditional data of climate, soil, and topography with remote sensing data to screen predictors that best characterize current geographical distribution of vineyards. Then, we used those predictors to assess current suitability (2001–2020) in Ningxia. The results indicated altitude, aridity index during April–September (K0409), precipitation during July–September (P0709), normalized difference vegetation index during July–September (NDVI0709), soil organic carbon (SOC), and precipitation in September (P09) were key predictors to assess potential suitability for viticulture, and their threshold values ranged from 1075 m to 1648 m, 2.93 to 4.83, 103.1 mm to 164.1 mm, 0.1 to 0.89, 0.07 g/kg to 11 g/kg and 28.4 mm to 45.0 mm, respectively. Suitability maps revealed a total suitable area of 12029 km2, among which the highly and moderately suitable areas accounted for 6.1% and 23.1%, respectively. Finally, the alteration in proportion of potential suitable areas due to changing climate was estimated. The potential suitable areas varied from 8742 km2 to 10623 km2 over the next 40 years (2022–2060) and decreased to 8826–9184 km2 under a short-term sustainability (suitable only during current–2040). To further consider long-term and sustainable development of the wine industry (current–2060), total suitable areas dropped by 26.7–29.2% under different climate scenarios compared with current suitable areas (2001–2020). The conclusions provide indispensable guidance for vineyard zoning considering long-term climate change.
... Erős családi jelenlét esetén magasabb a forgalom a nem családi vállalkozásokhoz képest, ugyanakkor alacsony családi jelenlét esetén alacsonyabb a forgalom. Ennek magyarázata az lehet, hogy a család a hitelesség képét közvetíti a vásárlók felé, hiszen a család egy térben gyökerező társadalmi entitás, amely összefonódik a bortermelés terroir szemléletével (Van Leeuwen-Seguin, 2006). A család olyan márkává válik, amely képes elnyerni a vásárlók bizalmát. ...
Article
Full-text available
Pénzügyi és nem pénzügyi célok és teljesítménymuta-tók hazai családi borászatok felmérése tükrében Financial and non-financial goals and performance indicators in the light of a research of family wineries in Hungary Absztrakt Mivel a borászati ágazat sok országban-így Magyarországon is-jelentős kulturális és gazda-sági értéket képvisel. A tanulmány a hazai családi borászatok teljesítményének témakörét vizsgálja. A nemzetközi és magyar szakirodalom alapján strukturáltan bemutatásra kerül, hogyan értelmez-hető és vizsgálható a borászatok teljesítménye. A feltáró jellegű kvalitatív kutatás-mely 10 borvi-dékre kiterjedően, 21 hazai családi borászat bevonásával lefolytatott félig strukturált interjú adata-ira épít-a hazai családi borászatok céljainak és teljesítménydimenzióinak feltérképezésére irányult. A Basco nevéhez fűződő családi vállalkozások célrendszerét klasszifikáló modell borászati mintán való alkalmazása segítségével azonosításra kerültek a legjellemzőbb pénzügyi-és nem-pénzügyi célok, illetve azok a teljesítménymutatók, amelyek a célelérés nyomon követését szolgálják a hazai gyakorlatban. A tanulmány feltáró kutatásként definiálható, amely további vizsgálatok kiinduló-pontja lehet a magyar borászatok teljesítményének megértése és javítása érdekében. Abstract As the wine sector in many countries-including Hungary-represents significant cultural and economic value. The study introduces the topic of Hungarian family business wineries' performance. Based on international and Hungarian literature, the paper presents in a structured way how performance of wineries can be interpreted and examined. The exploratory qualitative research, which was primarily aimed at mapping the goals and performance dimensions of Hungarian family wineries. The research is based on the data of 21 semi-structured interview conducted in 10 wine districts and involving 21 Hungarian family wineries. Using the model of Basco it was classified the goal system of family business wineries, the most characteristic financial and non-financial goals and the performance indicators that serve to monitor the achievement of the target, in Hungarian practice.
... Soil and climate conditions play a pivotal role in creating a wine's sensory attributes, quality and style [3][4][5]. The winegrower is also a factor in shaping a wine's style and quality by choosing vine variety and vineyard management practices adapted to local soil and climate conditions [6]. Using appropriate winemaking techniques, winemakers not only translate berry composition into the best possible wine but also influence the so-called terroir effect, either positively or negatively [7]. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study arose from the need to relate specific terroir aspects with experienced sensory properties of Gewürztraminer wines from Tramin (northern Italy). A multidisciplinary approach was used to investigate seven vineyards’ ecological characteristics, including geology and geographical features. A geopedological method using Vineyard Geological Identity (VGI) and Solar Radiation Identity (SRI) for topoclimatic classification, as well as multi-parameter measuring stations of air and soils, elicited analytical data for qualitative and quantitative terroir characterisations. Furthermore, wide-ranging and targeted oenological and chemical analyses were conducted on grapes, musts and wines to correlate their biochemical compositions with the measured terroir conditions. The study identified strong connections between vineyard geo-identity and wine mineral fingerprint, confirming mineral traceability of Rb/Sr ratio and of some minerals common to the local geology, such as Ba, Rb, Mn and Be. In particular, the most differing geo-mineral and physical soil conditions of two studied vineyards are apparent in the oenological components, flavours and aromas of their musts and finished wines. Amino acids, primary varietal aromas and polyphenols, thiol compounds with tropical scents, phenolic compounds with spicy notes and terpenic compounds, such as geraniol and citronellol, were related differently between fine-textured, more siliceous soils of glacial origin and coarser-textured, more dolomitic soils of local debris flow origin.
... As reported in Figure 1, the terroir is based on the interaction of three main components: (i) the physical environment (climate, topography, geology and pedology), (ii) the biological material (e.g., rootstock, variety and soil biodiversity), and (iii) the cultural (tradition), social-economical and even political issues on which human activities (viticultural practices and winemaking style) act to achieve the expression of terroir. Human activities have a strong influence on the characteristics of wine, but these are themselves ultimately dependent upon the local environment (van Leeuwen and Seguin, 2006) and can also modify the environmental system (e.g., soil characteristics). ...
Article
Terroir is not just a geographical site, but also a complex concept aiming to express the “collective knowledge of the interactions” between the environment and the vines mediated through human action, “providing distinctive characteristics” to the final product (OIV 2010).In the popular press, it is often treated and communicated without a proper understanding of the mechanistic relationships between the wine characteristics and the site. These relationships are primarily rooted in the physical environment, particularly in the interactions between the soil-plant and atmosphere system, affecting grapevine physiology, grape composition and wine. Comprehension of the phenomena starts with viticulture zoning techniques, a crucial first step in mapping, describing and further studying terroirs. Viticulture zoning can be carried out with diverse empiricism and expertise and achieving different level of details in describing complex biophysical processes. Spatial and temporal scales can vary across studies, and not all of them have been able to capture the multidisciplinary nature of the terroir.The scientific understanding of the mechanisms ruling vineyard variability and grape composition is one of the most critical scientific focuses of terroir research. This knowledge can contribute to the analysis of climate change impacts on terroir resilience, the identification of new suitable land for viticulture, and the precise management of vineyards to reach a specific oenological goal.This article gives an overview of the latest approaches to terroir studies and of new zoning technology, with particular attention to their importance in supporting terroir resilience to climate change.
... Un autre paramètre est le terroir, une notion qui inclue différents paramètres comme le climat, le cépage, le porte-greffe, mais également le sol [78,79]. Le sol peut avoir une influence très importante sur la concentration en composés phénoliques dans la baie de raisin. ...
Thesis
Les tanins condensés sont présents dans un grand nombre de boissons et d’aliments comme le raisin, le vin, le thé, les pommes ou même le chocolat. Dans le vin, ils contribuent à de nombreuses propriétés organoleptiques qu’elles soient visuelles ou gustatives. Récemment, une nouvelle sous-famille de tanins condensés possédant un squelette cyclique avec une cavité a été découverte et nommée les tanins couronnes. Le but de cette thèse est de déterminer la localisation des tanins couronnes dans la vigne, d’étudier leur cinétique d’évolution du raisin jusqu’au vin et de caractériser chimiquement cette nouvelle famille. Un volet de ce travail a été consacré aux pigments polymérisés ainsi qu’à la famille des tanins condensés ayant une liaison de type A. Les tanins couronnes ont été localisés spécifiquement dans la pellicule de la baie de raisin ainsi que dans les feuilles, les rameaux et les racines de la vigne. Leur concentration dans la pellicule est influencée par le type de sol et la nature du cépage. Durant la maturation du raisin, ces tanins s’accumulent dans les pellicules de la baie de raisin. Dans le vin, ces tanins cycliques sont extraits en tout début de fermentation alcoolique, restent stable durant le reste de la vinification et durant le vieillissement en bouteille. Il a ainsi été démontré que les tanins couronnes sont résistants à l’oxydation. En parallèle, la purification du pentamère couronne a été entreprise ainsi que la synthèse multi-étape du tétramère couronne. Une étude en fragmentation a permis de différencier les tétramères couronnes et des tanins de type A. Cette dernière famille a été analysée sensoriellement prouvant qu’ils sont plus astringents que les tanins de type B classique. Enfin, une étude sur l’évolution des familles de pigments polymérisés a été réalisée par dépolymérisation chimique permettant de mettre en lumière le comportement unique de chacune des familles en fonction de leur structure.
Article
Tea from Anxi County (Fujian Province, China) has a reputation for high quality, carried on the notion of terroir, that the age-old landscape and enduring local traditions contribute to its distinctive taste. This paper examines the process by which the imagined agricultural place of Anxi has been constructed through a period of social and economic change across recent decades. It demonstrates that producers draw on historical narrative to renew links between the land, the people and their embodied practices, and the tea plants to generate mythologies around the past and foster perceptions of authenticity, further reinforced by the building of monuments that memorialize Anxi tea history. Rather than coherent and coordinated, this is a fraught place-making process, beset by conflicting stories that retell the past in different ways, geographic boundaries that are debated and redrawn, and contentious, evolving tea manufacturing techniques. This study shows that the terroir discourses of globalization may give rise to striking paradoxes at the local level.
Chapter
According to the French terroir theory, natural milieus play an essential role in the formation of a Geographical Indication (GI). However, it has always been unclear what the human contributions are? As such, the European Union (EU) introduces only a vague concept of human factors under the Regulation (EU) No. 1151/2012 on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs. Along with the unclearness of the human’s role, battles are frequently arising among competing stakeholders with some giant food companies lobbying for a simpler regime that would allow innovation without triggering a complicated amending procedure. Small producers and consumer organizations are in opposition to such developments and are appealing to save traditions. In response, the European Commission proposed to amend the definition of the Protected Designation of Origin, one of the GI categories in 2018. According to the proposal, human factors are no longer indispensable but optional underpinning factors. Though the European Parliament opposes such change, it narrowly defines human factors and leaves the traditional processing know-how out of the underpinning factors of GIs. In order to solve the conflicts, this Chapter explores the human’s role in GI protection by tracing the transformation of the meaning of terroir in France and analyzing the rational bases of GIs as a kind of intellectual property. The French experience demonstrates that humans’ contribution and traditions they create are indispensable underpinning factors of GIs. Notwithstanding the importance of tradition and heritage, innovation as a way of pursuing desirable qualities for consumers is also allowed under GIs. Different from patent and trademark law, the direction of innovation under GIs should adapt to and express the natural factors that make the product distinctive and typical for the geographic location without forcing producers to ensure natural restrictions and hardships that can be overcome through innovation as long as overcoming such natural restrictions does not undermine the typicity and special origin-linked characteristics. Finally, suggestions about amending the EU Regulation relating to GI’s definition, product’s specification, and amending procedures are proposed.
Article
Dans les grandes régions viticoles à climat tempéré, ce sont les étés peu humides qui permettent d'obtenir les meilleurs millésimes. L'alimentation en eau de la vigne doit donc avoir un rôle primordial dans la maturation du raisin mais, faute d'une technique suffisamment précise, on ne pouvait guère étudier sérieusement ce problème. A cause de la grande profondeur du système radiculaire de la vigne, il était impossible, par la méthode des prélèvements à la tarière, de mesurer les variations de l'humidité du sol dans toute la zone exploitée par les racines. L'emploi d'un humidimètre à neutrons permet de suivre régulièrement l'évolution des profils hydriques jusqu'à de très grandes profondeurs. L'étude présentée ici ne concerne que des points assez localisés mais montre les possibilités offertes par ce nouveau type de recherche dans un domaine particulièrement intéressant de la biologie de la vigne.