The “Idea of Quality” and “Terroir”
Anyone, in or out of the wine industry, looking for a brilliant and spot on analysis of the direction the global wine industry is taking should read Legendary Australian winemaker Brian Croser’s comments over at Fine Wine Press. His "The Idea of Quality: Creating Sustainable Competitive Advantage" was, I believe first presented as a speech. Though I am not sure.
In it Croser explains how the "idea of quality" has been overtaken by the "idea of terroir" and how embracing this particular notion of quality is the best path towards increasing the quality perception of Australian wine. Yet, his comments apply equally to any New World wine region.
Embedded in his words is the inherent question of the value and meaning of terroir. Is it a marketing phrase? Is it primarily an idea that speaks to the objective environmental factors that influence the growing of the grapes? Is terroir something that primarily informs us of what a wine should taste like?
These are questions that spring out of Croser’s piece, but are not truly addressed. I hope he will take a stab at these issues. In the mean time, he has written a short piece that should not escape the eye or anyone watching the wine industry seriously.