In France coined and largely internalized term for the influence of origin. climate and soil type in interaction with the varieties and the local wine culture on the special and distinctive 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 that winemaking takes the special circumstances of his vineyard into account.
A very nice definition for this comes from the well-known winery owner and oenologist in the area Saint-Estèphe (Médoc) Bruno Prats : The French term terroir encompasses all natural conditions that influence the biology of the vine and, consequently, the composition of the grape itself. Terroir is the combination of climate, soil and landscape, the interaction of an infinite number of factors: night and day temperatures, distribution of precipitation, hours of sunshine, slope and soil permeability, just to name a few. All these factors react with each other and form what the French winemaker Terroir calls in every single part of a wine-growing region.
The first considerations about relationships already existed in the antiquity what is through the writings of nature scholars Theophrastus (370-287 BC) is attested. In the Middle Ages, 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 for this idea was the winery owner Baron Pierre Le Roy de Boiseaumarié (1890-1967). In the 1920s, this described the ideal grape varieties for a red wine from the area Châteauneuf-du-Pape based on the typical soil and climate and defined a geographically defined area. This was then classified as an appellation in 1935. The agricultural professor Joseph gave another impulse Capus (1868-1947), who, with the baron as the godfather of the Appellations Act and the predecessor organization of the 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, locations (vineyards) and wineries. However, terroir is not a clear and generally equally understood term that can be defined objectively according to measurable criteria and of course without meaning in terms of wine law. Renowned authors, journalists and winegrowers also interpret very differently. On the one hand, terroir is like the sum of all natural and additional cultural parameters introduced by humans like pruning. training system or tillage, which 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 knowledge and cultural heritage of the winemaker passed down through generations.
However, there is also the opinion that the components that determine the terroir are mainly determined by nature, can hardly be influenced by humans or cannot be changed by different wine-making techniques. In summary, one can say that there is no scientific evidence that terroir is more than "just" a location or area characteristic. The terroir idea is also seen in part as a rocked-up philosophical-mystical view with little real background. Nevertheless, outside of France there are efforts to understand the "terroir philosophy" beyond a protected designation of origin. The term was used overseas regionality embossed.
What influence does that actually have soil type on the character of the wine? The State Educational and Experimental Institute for Wine and Fruit Growing vineyard has published the following on this topic on their website (the citation is courtesy of the author Dr. Dietmar Rupp ): The term “terroir”, under which selected plots (appellations) with a similar soil and microclimate are grouped, is clearly influenced by soil science , The German Wine Law, on the other hand, unites those plots under one "location", from whose yields "equivalent wines of the same taste tend to be produced". Soil science has a long tradition in viticulture research in France. Each geological formation has its "optimum point" for each variety in a delimitable area and thus neighboring areas are subordinate. In Burgundy one developed for certain locations ( Climat ) or appellations even a "topo-pedological quality index" (topo = location, pedological = concerning soil science).
In this quality measure, slope inclination, root penetration depth, stone, lime and clay content, as well as the amount of interchangeable potassium, This made it possible to assign higher quality figures to the well-known Grand Cru locations than vineyards in the less valuable Appellation Village or Bourgogne. Whether wines actually look at the floors and locations of their origin German researchers wanted to use the radiometric method to test them in the 1970s. They compared the trace element pattern of wines and associated soils. Only the effects of the vintage and the varieties, location assignment was not possible. However, are through during the vinification process filtration or beautiful Shifts within the track contents cannot be excluded. This shows the dominant influence of cellar management and processes.
Optimal conditions of climate. Weather and soil type are positive criteria for the so-called Weinbauwürdigkeit, that is, the suitability of an area for viticulture. All work and measures in the vineyard during the growth cycle can be found at Weingarten Care, Complete lists of the numerous cellar techniques, as well as a list of wine, sparkling wine and distillate types regulated by wine law are under the keyword winemaking contain. Comprehensive information on wine law is available at wine law,