Q&A Thurs: Can nearby plants affect a wine’s flavor?
CAN THE FLORA AND FAUNA THAT SURROUND A VINEYARD CONTRIBUTE TO THE TASTE OR AROMAS OF A WINE MADE FROM THAT VINEYARD?
The answer is yes. The classic example used in California is the instance of a vineyard that might have eucalyptus trees surrounding it. In this case, people have claimed to detect a distinctive "minty" quality in the wine that is attributed to the oils from the tree adhering to the grapes and being transferred to the wine.
Another more common example is that of "native yeasts". Nearly all grapes have yeast on them that come from the vineyard and surrounding area. Some winemakers allow the wines to ferment using only these yeasts rather than adding commercial yeasts. The different yeast one uses to ferment juice can result in a different character in the wine. Some claim that to ferment with native yeast is a nod toward a more natural winemaking approach, an approach that is more in tuned with the terroir.