Terroir 2012 banner
IVES 9 IVES Conference Series 9 International Terroir Conferences 9 Terroir 2012 9 Ancient and recent construction of Terroirs 9 Vineyard soils and landscapes of the Burgundy Côte (France): a historical construction worth preserving

Vineyard soils and landscapes of the Burgundy Côte (France): a historical construction worth preserving


The construction of vineyard landscapes along the Burgundy Côte is the result of geological processes and of human labour. Substratum diversity in this vineyard is the result of a very long history explained by the diversity of Jurassic sedimentary facies and Tertiary tectonic activity. The nature and thickness of Quaternary deposits (Weichselian scree debris and alluvial fans) reflect sediment dynamics concurrent with the last glaciation. As soon as humans started to occupy and cultivate these slopes, the changes they made in the land through crop development and roads began to structure the vineyard plots in a lasting way. The footprint of vine work in soils can be traced back over a millennium. It results mainly from a significant removal of stones when the land was first cultivated and from land management to fight against erosion (construction of retaining walls, transport of earth upslope, etc.). In recent centuries, the expansion of the vineyard follows a complex history (the phylloxera crisis, changes in the way quarries, in particular, were run). Today’s vineyard soils and landscapes are cultural objects that have been shaped over time. The mechanised labour linked to recent replanting cannot be allowed to destroy this natural and cultural heritage. The effects of trenching and other often irreversible actions (e.g. excessive embankments) affect both the visible landscape (the extension of plots and removal of drystone walls and mounds) and the invisible heritage (nature and diversity of soils, buried archaeological heritage). The people of Burgundy who are seeking recognition and listed status for the diversity of climats, their exceptional heritage, must consider the consequences of such practices in the medium and long term.

Publication date: September 25, 2023

Issue: Terroir 2012

Type: Article


Christophe PETIT1, Emmanuel CHEVIGNY2, Pierre CURMI3, Amélie QUIQUEREZ2, Françoise VANNIER-PETIT4

1 University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne UMR 7041 ArScAn, 3 rue Michelet, F-75006 Paris, France
2 University of Burgundy, UMR CNRS 5594 ARTeHIS, University of Burgundy, France
3 UMR CNRS Agrooécologie Dijon, University of Burgundy, Agrosup, INRA, France
4 Geologist, La Rente Neuve, F-21160 FLAVIGNEROT, FRANCE

Contact the author


Vineyard soil, geological history, Burgundy, natural and cultural heritage


IVES Conference Series | Terroir | Terroir 2012


Related articles…

Effect of abiotic stress and grape variety on amino acid and polyamine composition of red grape berries

Vines are exposed to environmental conditions that cause abiotic stress on the plants (drought, nutrient and mineral deficits, salinity, etc.). Polyamines are growth regulators involved in various physiological processes, as in abiotic plant stress responses. Stressful conditions can modify grape’s composition, and in this work, we have focused on studying the effect of abiotic stress on the composition of polyamines and amino acids in grapes. In addition, the effect of grape variety on these compounds has been studied.

Methodological approach to zoning

An appellation or geographic indication should be based on the terroir concept in order to ensure its integrity. The delimitation of viticultural terroirs must include two consecutive or parallel steps, namely (a) the characterisation of the environment and identification of homogenous environmental units (basic terroir units, natural terroir units) taking all natural factors into account, as well as (b) the characterisation of the viticultural and oenological potential of these units over time.


Young white wines are typically released to the market a few months after harvest, to be consumed within a year, when their fresh fruity aromas are still dominant and appealing to modern consumers. Esters, particularly higher alcohol acetates (HAAs) and ethyl esters of fatty acids (EEFAs), play a central role in the fruity expression of young white wines [1]. However, these esters are known to undergo significant hydrolysis during the first months of aging [1, 2].


Brettanomyces bruxellensis is an ubiquitous yeast associated with different fermentation media such as beer and kombucha, where its presence is beneficial to bring an aromatic typicity. However, it is a main spoilage yeast in wines, in which it produces volatile phenols responsible for organoleptic deviations causing significant economic losses (Chatonnet et al., 1992). Cellar and winery equipment’s are considered as the first source of contamination, during fermentation and wine ageing process (Connel et al., 2002). Indeed, it is possible to find B. bruxellensis in the air, on walls and floors of the cellars, on small materials, vats and barrels.

Changes in red wine composition during bottle aging: impacts of viticultural conditions and oxygen availability

Bottle ageing is considered essential for most premium red wine production. An important aim of bottle ageing of wine is to achieve a balance between the oxidative and reductive development. This is typically evaluated by the accumulation of aldehyde compounds (causing oxidative off-flavour) and sulfur-containing compounds (causing reductive off-flavour) in the wine [1]