Unpacking Wine Words: Terroir

Terroir is one of the cornerstone concepts in wine. 

In its most simple definition, terroir is the influence of where you plant a grapevine.  It is everything that exists in the vineyard alongside our baby-wine bearing vines. 

Terroir is 'home' 

Think of terroir like your home – it's not just where you rest your head at night but a place that is symbolic of your personality, your spirit and your general well-being. As a child, your home life plays a key role in who you’ll grow into as an adult. The impact is vast, and it is often representative of the energy that you then put out into the world. Terroir is like the vine’s ‘home’ in that sense. 

What makes up a home?

Things like soil, weather, climate, what kinds of other plant and animal life are in the soils, the slope of the land, the height above sea level – all of these affect the personality your vine develops. A silver-spoon fed baby vine with plenty of water and perfect weather all year round - you’re going to get quality output, but perhaps not the most interesting wine on the block.  Single-parent household vines where their roots must dig deep through rocks to get just enough water to scrape by? Probably heading for a bit more character here. And if the grape has character, the wine has character. Terroir plays a big part in who those wines grow up to be.

Home is filled with people

With that said – it is impossible to make wine without human influence. Just as much as we’re shaped by the people around us – our parents, our peers, our colleagues – we extend that influence on the wines we make.  Grapes picked from the same vineyard on the same day can turn into wildly different wines – the same as siblings raised in the same household can end up living lives that are worlds apart. 

“I see wine as a being and not a thing or an “item”. If a wine is inauthentic, I’d rather not know it at all. It’s a guy I don’t wanna hang out with”.
- Terry Theise 

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