Terroir is the term used to classify everything that happens to the grape naturally. This includes the geographical region, soil, and the weather. Terroir is a French term meaning land and is a major determining factor is the quality of the wine. For some wines to be in best quality, the grapes must be harvested in what most people might say are harsh environments. This is called the “Struggling Vine Theory”. You might think that growing grapes in cold environments or in limestone gravel wouldn’t be ideal but for some grapes this is the best environment.

The location of the vineyard can affect the whole grape production. The soil composition, exposure to sun, and the climate can change the quality of the wine produced. Sometimes even within the same vineyard, depending on the sun position and other factors, a difference can be seen in the grapes produced.

When looking at grape harvesting it is important to keep in mind that there are many factors that go into even the growing of the grapes. If you want to learn about the difference that terroir makes on growing grapes and making wine, sign up for the Appellations Can you Tell the Difference seminar at the Science of Wine on May 14.  Utilizing Google Earth, the participants will visit four California vineyards and taste the wines that come from those vineyards.

Napa


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