Wine Terroir Terror

Does the word Terroir strike fear in your heart? Don’t be scared. We’ll guide you!

You can sometime hear wine snobs saying:

” This [insert new world wine here] has absolutely no terroir. Its an abomination!”


wine snobs

Down with the wine snobs!

By definition, terroir is the sun, soil, wind, water, and the winemaking practices of a location that work together to give the wine a certain set of characteristics.  

Nature effects the grapevine in different ways:

- The soil where the vine is planted gives different aromas and flavors to the wine. For example, limestone soils are considered to be an important component in many famous wines (think Champagne or Burgundy). The limestone in the vineyards give the grapes the fuel  that they need to produce delectable grapes. Its great when there is little rain as it retains water for the vine, but also when there is too much rain - it provides great drainage. Limestone soils are the fairy godmother of vineyard soils - giving the vines what they need to flourish.

- How much sun the vines get is important too. Do you remember that when the grapes have more sugar, they have more potential alcohol?  We’ll delve deeper into this in the following lessons.

- The grapes can produce more sugar when they have more sun. That’s why wines from warmer climate tend to be fuller bodied and more intense.

- Winemaking affects the wine in many different ways. That’s why for the next 4 lessons, we’ll be expanding on the winemaking infographic that you have coming up – every step changes the wine!

- Certain locations have a history of different winemaking practices. For example, in Spain they tend to age their wines in old oak barrels for a very long time. This gives Spanish wines a different character then wines from, for example, California.

But – there was an experiment made a few years ago where 3 winemakers were given the exact same grapes for which to make their wine. The question: would people be able to tell whose wine was who’s? Check out the results here.

So the question is: is terroir a load of crap? We think it depends on how YOU define it. In the next few lessons, we’ll discuss this more in depth and you’ll taste 3 wines from 3 different terroirs!

Wine Question: Do you think white wine can be made from red grapes? Find out more in the next lesson!