Does Terrior Change One’s Perception of Wine?

The jury is still out on the importance of terroir in new world wine regions. However, as the previous section indicates, the French have bet the farm on playing-up terroir as a key element of their marketing strategies. A recent advertising campaign aimed at strengthening the brand that is “Bordeaux” demonstrates how important terroir is at creating differentiation and subsequently, perceived cachet, which in turn translates into consumer dollars.

Spain is trying a similar tactic with a new campaign to bolster the wines of Rioja. In each case, the ads speak to the importance of “place” in establishing the character of these fine wines. Several California wineries are trying similar tactics, trying to establish a special importance to their particular corner of Napa, Sonoma, or Santa Barbara.

Ultimately, does terroir matter? For the novice wine drinker or collector, the answer is probably yes. Ensuring that one is drinking, or collecting, those wines perceived as “more important” because they come from a very unique “place” matters a lot to the novice and the collector.

For the seasoned, well-educated wine taster, terroir is less important. A seasoned wine taster is usually looking for value and not cachet. When the two can coalesce, that’s great. The seasoned wine taster is also looking for new experiences to broaden their knowledge and palate. While the seasoned wine taster can appreciate the value of terroir, it becomes less relevant to determining what the seasoned taster is apt to drink.

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