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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

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


IVES Conference Series | Terroir | Terroir 2012


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