is an example of how well their marketing
techniques work. The success of the French, especially in
Bordeaux and Burgundy has dramatically increased the value
of making wine in those areas, virtually guaranteeing a
return on investment with every vintage.In some cases, it
almost doesn’t matter what chateau or domaine produced
the wine, because the brand is so strongly tied to the region.However,
it is the history of success that has allowed this to perpetuate,
it took time and lots of money.
Can the same approach be used successfully in the new world?
Napa Valley has as close to a terroir-like approach
with vineyards like Martha’s Vineyard, but does it
really make a difference? Sure Napa Valley has developed
an almost cult-like following among wine drinkers, but has
this truly benefited the region as a whole?
Many argue that it hasn’t. Land prices approach stratospheric
heights, grape costs escalate as a result and before the
“seeds of success” take, wineries fail. Sure,
collectors scramble for the many highly allocated premium
Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon wines, but this collecting
frenzy hasn’t yet established a strong regional branding.
Many are trying, though, to establish uniqueness and in
some cases succeeding. Only time will tell if the notion
of terroir becomes as important in the new world
as it is in the old.
In regards to the second answer, the regions and sub-regions
in many of the new world areas are so much vaster than their
counterparts in the old world. terroir becomes
much more a factor in grape growing in smaller delineated
areas, not across the vastness that is new world vineyards.
This vastness, combined with a high degree of variability
within viticultural zones, makes it nearly impossible to
create the precise delineation required to establish a sense
Take the Barossa Valley in Australia, an area that is approximately
100 square miles of vineyards with nearly 30 different soil
types present. Contrast this with Bordeaux in France, an
area that is approximately 250 square miles of vineyards
with only about 6 different soil types. How much specificity
can one establish with the high degree of variability found
in the Barossa Valley? I suspect very little.
Also, the scale of modern viticulture employed in new world
vineyards also makes the notion of terroir irrelevant.
Most new world winemakers are looking for ways to apply
greater generalization as a means to mass-market wines to
a global community. Because many of the regions and sub-regions
in the new world are virtually unknown outside of the local
area, there is almost no value to touting the specificity
of those unique locations. Lacking the prestige, new world
winemakers can do better by leveraging the areas that are
known, which leads to more and more generalization. A trend
diametrically opposed to the idea of terroir.
Terroir Change One's Perception of Wine? >