Archive for the ‘Terroir’ Category

Apr 4, 2016

Terroir is a Myth

The idea that “Terroir” is the source of fine wine flavor is a myth. This is according to Professor Mark Matthews at the University of California, Davis in his new and controversial book: “Terroir and Other Myths of Winemaking.” As the title of this new book implies, the myth of terroir is only part of Matthews’ investigation. This post wants to explore only that part of Matthews’ new work that addresses terroir. In “Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing”, Matthews…

Mar 21, 2016

It’s Just Not True—Five Wine Myths

Very recently I’ve bumped up against a variety of statements and opinions that are presented as facts. Most have been circulating for some time and have recently raised their ugly head in one form or another. Others are relatively recently developed ideas. In every case, these statements and opinions are myths Consolidation is Putting the Wine Industry in Corporate Hands This is a huge myth that somehow keeps spreading and is almost always discussed whenever a winery of note changes…

Nov 19, 2014

Grapes, Not Wines, Are Impacted by AVAs

  There is a good case to be made that when comparing the French Appellation d’Origine Controlee (AOC) system with the American Viticultural Area (AVA) system, it is the American system of delineating grape growing regions that is far more invested in the theory of terroir than the French AOC system. This point concerning the relative commitment to terroir has been driven home to me while doing some work with the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance, which is currently in the…

Aug 5, 2014

The Romance of Terroir is Most Important…Not the Truth

A recent article in Spirits Business concerning the trend among Vodka producers to sell their drink based on provenance (where it came from) should remind the wine trade of something important to their own marketing efforts: The importance of the concept of “terroir” is not in the connection between the taste of wine and its terroir, but in the imagery, romance and meaning of place to the consumer. In the Spirits Business article, Claire Smith, head of spirit creation at…

Apr 15, 2014

Celebrating The Best Defined Wine Growing Region in California

One of the criticisms of the American Viticultural Area (AVA) system (our appellation system) in the U.S. is that it imposes so few rules on the use of a place-name that buyers can have few expectations of what they will be tasting when they buy a bottle of wine with “Russian River Valley”, “Sonoma Coast”, “Dry Creek Valley” or any other AVA on the label. Beyond requiring that a certain percent of the grapes used to make the wine must…