Terroir and precision viticulture: are they compatible?

The concept of terroir or sense of place is almost as old as the wine industry. It is generally used as an all-encompassing term to reflect the effects of the biophysical environment in which grapes and their resultant wines are produced on the character of those wines. Historically, terroir has generally been considered at the regional or property scale. However, the recent development of Precision Viticulture promotes acquisition of a more informed sense of place by providing detailed measures of vineyard productivity, soil attributes and topography at high spatial resolution. Whilst associated research into vineyard variability lends weight to the concept of terroir in terms of biophysical impacts on grape and wine production, it also raises questions as to the scale at which terroir is a useful concept. These issues are explored using examples from the Padthaway and Sunraysia grapegrowing regions of Australia.

Authors: R.G.V. BRAMLEY (1) and R.P. HAMILTON (2)

(1) CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Food Futures Flagship and Cooperative Research Centre for Viticulture PMB n°2, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia
(2) Foster’s Wine Estates, PO Box 96, Magill, SA 5072, Australia

Email: Rob.Bramley@csiro.au

Keywords: Vineyard variability, spatial scale, Australia

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