Terroir and Typicity: proposed definitions for two essential concepts in the understanding of Geographical Indications and sustainable development

The content of this communication arises from the deliberations of a working group mandated within the framework of the INRA-INAO 2000-2003 research convention, which brought together INAO representatives and researchers who had worked on AOCs or PGIs, in disciplines from the sphere of the humanities (consumer science, marketing, rural development) and biotechnical sciences (agronomy, animal production science, technology, biochemistry). The aim was to suggest for the terms « terroir » and « typicity » definitions corresponding to objectives of an operational nature, in order to allow practitioners to work efficiently in the service of objectives specific to the geographical indications with tools that could be used for decisions concerning delimitation, production conditions and the accreditation of the product, and to scientific objectives so as to allow researchers to replace them in a general context and to help to revise them.
In this instance, they are put forward to the vine and wine scientific community, where the concepts of terroir and typicity are widely used.
The concepts thus defined comprise an analytical grid to be filled in during operational and research assignments.
The definition proposed for terroir has served as a basis for the work of a colloquium organised at UNESCO, and a UNESCO research group is undertaking a global inventory of terroirs within the context of its cultural diversity protection policy. The scope of the definition of terroir thus far exceeds the sole framework of geographical indications. Finally, the concept of typicity supposes the development of methods to characterise the sensory space of a product whose quality is not built on sensory assertions alone. This approach is therefore once again not limited to mere geographical indications, which leads one to move beyond the boundaries of sensorial analysis to establish links between the product space and the sensory space, which thereby constitutes the judgment of typicity.

Authors: François CASABIANCA (1), Bertil SYLVANDER (1), Yolande NOËL (1), Claude BERANGER (1), Jean-Baptiste COULON (1), Georges GIRAUD (2), Gilles FLUTET (3), François RONCIN (3) et Éric VINCENT (3)

(1) INRA, 147 rue de l’Université, 75007 Paris, France
(2) ENITA Clermont-Ferrand, site de Marmilhat, 63 Lempdes, France
(3) INAO, 51 rue d’Anjou, 57008 Paris, France

Email: fca@corte.inra.fr

Keywords: terroir, typicity, geographical indications, rural development

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