About Terroir

Some people (well, not just people but instructed professionals) say terroir is just a marketing invention, a stratagemma the French vignerons invented to keep their hegemony on the market.

I do not believe this is true.

Terroir is respect for the Land, for the Earth, not for the market.


Terroir is the complex system that include soil, climate, exposition of a particular vineyard including the grape variety and including the work of the man, the work of bacteria, yeasts, worms, bees, birds, horses etc. etc.

The presence of the man is however like the one of a midwife. The man helps the wines to born from a good terroir.

Wine is a son of the land and come from the work of the man, it's not son of a man coming from the work of the land.

You can produce good grapes and good wines in very unsuitable pieces of land. But in this case the intervention of man through chemistry and technology (both applied in vineyard and cellar) will be so high to result in a devastation of mother earth.
We do not need higher quantity of wine, we need higher quality.

Great terroirs need the intervention of man to find their expression in wine. Just imagine the work of men (monks) in Burgundy: for centuries and centuries they have helped to identify Pinot Noir as the best interpreter of the different terroirs. It's not so easy! It's a work that requires generations in order to unlock great terroirs. The same is for Sangiovese in Tuscany, Barolo in Piedmont, Aglianico in Campania or Basilicata etc... It's a long, long, hard work. And this is why great terroirs are usually found in the "old world". This does not mean "new world" has not great terroirs but we are just at the beginning of this discovery.

In this sense man is a fundamental part of the terroir concept. Without man's work, a great piece of land will remain a great piece of land, not a great terroir. Terroir speaks through the wine. The man helps the terroir to come out into the wine, without imposing his presence as principal character.

A vigneron helps the terroir to find its expression into the wine, starting from the respectful work in the vineyard and the care for the grape.
A (flying) winemaker does not care about the land. Does not care about terroir. He uses the grapes just has an instrument to give expression to his Ego. He is the Primadonna. He is the artist signing the painting. And of course this is funny, if not grotesque, as a midwife that would like to give her own DNA to a baby the is already coming to the world.

We can just force the Earth to produce grapes (and wines) wherever we want, even where she would not like to. She will obey, like a slave forced by the (technological) arrogance and madness of men.

On the other side, we can just listen to the Earth, with patient and careful respect. She will tell us where she likes to produce great grapes (and wines) and which colors and fruits she likes to use for expressing her magnificent greatness.


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