The concept of « terroir »: what does that mean ? What is it useful for ? French young adults perception

Far from complicated discussions on the relevant way to define « terroir », this article deals with the social perception that French young adults (aged from 18 to 30) have of this concept and the way it can help them to become wine consumers. For young adults, « terroir » has two major meanings: on the first hand, through the identification of restricted areas, it allows them to feel as a membership of a local community that they are proud to represent and to further, for example by drinking local wine; on the other hand, consumption of « terroir-products » is a means to struggle against the standardization of ways of life and to stand up for regional know-how and taste’s authenticity. As a result, and in spite of their difficulties to appreciate wine’s flavour, the concept of « terroir » appears important to help young adults to enter the complex universe of wine. Moreover, this issue seems to go past French frontier and concerns nowadays all wine producer countries. The aim is the same everywhere: it consists in charming consumers while offering them a high quality level and a « typicity » of the wine.

Author: Isabelle SAULLE

Département de sociologie, Université Victor Segalen, Bordeaux 2, 3 ter, place de la Victoire
33076 Bordeaux cedex, France


Keywords: French young adult, social perception, sociology, terroir, wine consumption

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