In France coined and there also largely internalized term for the influence of ancestry. climate and soil type in interaction with the varieties and the local wine culture to the special and unmistakable typicality or characteristic of the wine that grows there. This can only be translated poorly with the environment, but means much more. The art of the winemaker also plays a significant role in this by the winemaking takes into account the special conditions of his vineyard.
A very nice definition comes from the well-known winery owner and oenologist in the area Saint-Estèphe (Médoc) Bruno Prats : The French term terroir covers all natural conditions that influence the biology of the grapevine and consequently the composition of the grape itself. Terroir is the confluence of climate, soil and landscape, the interaction of an infinite number of factors: night and day temperatures, precipitation distribution, sunshine hours, slope and soil permeability, just to name a few. All of these factors react with each other, forming what the French winemaker calls terroir in each part of a vineyard.
First considerations about relationships already existed in the antiquity what through the writings of the naturalist Theophrastus (370-287 BC) is attested. In the Middle Ages, France was concerned with the Cistercian Order experimentally with the interaction of all these components. The term terroir was first coined in the late 1920s. One of the pioneers of this idea was the owner of the estate, Baron Pierre Le Roy de Boiseaumarié (1890-1967). This described in the 1920s, the ideal grape varieties for a red wine of the area Châteauneuf-du-Pape due to the typical soil and climate and defined for a geographically delimited area. This was then classified as an appellation in 1935. Another impetus was given by Agricultural Professor Joseph Capus (1868-1947), who with the Baron as godfather of the Appellations Act and the forerunner organization founded in 1935 INAO applies.
The term terroir in France is closely related to the system of origin Appellation d'Origine Protégée as well as with the term Grand Cru, the classification of wines, vineyards and wineries. However, terroir is not a clear and generally understood term that can be objectively defined according to measurable criteria and, of course, without any legal meaning in terms of wine law. Also by renowned authors, journalists and winegrowers is interpreted very differently. On the one hand, terroir is considered as the sum of all natural and additionally introduced by man cultural parameters such as pruning. training system or tillage that make up the distinctive identity. This means that not only the special environmental conditions in the vineyard, but also the vineyard and cellar work count as passed on generations of knowledge and cultural heritage of the winemaker.
But there is also the opinion that the terroir determining components are mainly determined by nature, are hardly influenced by man and can not be changed by different winemaking techniques. In summary, it can be said that there is no scientific evidence that terroir is more than "just" a location or area characteristic. The idea of terroir is also seen in part as a sophisticated philosophical-mystical approach with little real background. Nevertheless, there are efforts outside of France to understand the "terroir philosophy" beyond a protected denomination of origin. Overseas became the term for it regionality embossed.
What influence has actually the soil type on the wine character? The State Teaching and Research Institute of Viticulture and Pomology vineyard has published the following on its website (the citation is with friendly permission of the author Dr. Dietmar Rupp ): The term "terroir", under which selected parcels (appellations) with similar soil and small climate are summarized, is markedly pedological , By contrast, the German wine law unites under one "location" those parcels from whose yields "equivalent wines of the same flavor are cultivated". In France, soil science has a long tradition within viticultural research. Each geological formation has its "optimum point" for each variety in a definable area, and hence adjacent areas are subordinate. In Burgundy one developed for certain situations ( Climat ) or appellations even a "topo-pedological quality index" (topo = place, pedological = concerning the soil science).
In this quality measure, slope, root penetration, stone, lime and clay content, as well as the amount of interchangeable potassium, This could give the known Grand Cru locations higher quality numbers than vineyards in the less valuable Appellation Village or Bourgogne. Whether or not the wines are actually the bottoms and locations of their ancestry German researchers wanted to use radiometric methods in the 1970s. They compared the trace element pattern of wines and associated soils. Detectable were only effects of the vintage and the varieties, a location assignment was not possible. However, during the wine boom through filtration or beautiful Shifts within the track contents can not be ruled out. This shows the dominating influence of the cellar industry and procedures.
Optimal conditions of climate. Weather and soil type are positive criteria for the so-called Weinbauwürdigkeit that means the affection of an area for viticulture. All work and measures in the vineyard in the course of the growth cycle one finds below Weingarten Care, Complete listings of the numerous cellar techniques, as well as a list of the wine-regulated wine, sparkling wine and distillate types are under the keyword winemaking contain. Comprehensive wine law information is available at wine law,