Eléments importants d’une méthodologie de caractérisation des facteurs naturels du terroir, en relation avec la réponse de la vigne à travers le vin
The French viticultural appellation areas are the result of an empirical, historical and evolutionary selection which, generally, has consecrated a match between natural factors, grape varieties and viti-vinicultural practices. The notion of terroir is the main basis of the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée in viticulture. It is based on the one hand on privileged natural factors and on the other hand on the know-how of the winegrowers; the whole allowing the production of a wine endowed with an authenticity and a sensory typicity. Wine-growing practices evolve according to progress in viticulture and oenology, while the natural factors of the terroir are much more stable, with the exception of the vintage. They therefore represent a fundamental pillar of the identity of an appellation vineyard. Faced with a wine market that is globalizing and an evolution of the consumer, the “terroir” factor takes on a new dimension, becoming an important commercial vector for many vineyards.
Scientific approaches to this theme have been relatively limited, due to the complexity of the problem concerning the variables to be studied, their chain of influence and the overall response of the vine to the terroir, through wine (Riou et al., 1995 ). An AOC most often applies to a wine-growing region whose surface area is sufficient for the expression, in most cases, of a large-scale spatial diversity of the natural environment (terroir units) which can lead to significant differences in the kind of wine..
An economic valuation of this factor of production therefore requires a method that can easily reveal and identify the units of terroir of a region, but also give them a spatial dimension, to allow a concrete use by the winegrowers, at the level of wine and agro-viticultural techniques.
Issue: Terroir 1996
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