Wine growing terroirs: management of potential. New issues at stake for AOCs in France

Terroirs represent a heritage that must be studied and managed with appropriate methods; recourse to agronomic and oenological sciences alone is necessary, but is in no way sufficient without the contribution of the humanities.
The wine growing terroirs have undergone five major transformations in the space of 150 years, but nowadays we are witnessing a threefold pressure in terms of change concentrated over a short period:
– climate change, altering the « vine varieties – environments » correlation.
– a change in wine consumption habits, especially among young people and throughout the world.
– the emergence of environmental concerns with their consequences on the chemical means used to combat the enemies of the vine.
To rise to the challenge posed by these changes, recent research results must be taken into account by the AOCs, considering not the techniques in isolation, but the socio-technical itineraries all along the chain of potentialities in the production process from the grapes to the wine in the glass.
To the extent that AOCs put in place collective structures for controlling the vine vigour and furthering the integrated control over their demarcated areas, they will be rapidly able to meet the challenges presented by these change-related pressures. Recent results have made it possible to support initiatives by producers and are meeting with success: several examples are analysed and discussed.

Author: François RONCIN

Délégué national recherche et environnement, INAO, 51 rue d’Anjou, 75008 Paris, France


Keywords: wine growing terroirs, AOC, integrated production

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