I have selected wines to sell based on the vineyards and based on the vignerons themselves.
A word about terroir.
In the early '90s, I heard winemakers like Dick Ward, John Skupny, Randall Grahm, and Cathy Corison, among others, talking about “wine made in the vineyard”. They used the word terroir. They were rebelling then against the notion, promoted by American agricultural universities in general, and U.C. Davis in particular, that making wine was more about the winery - chemistry, technology - than the land. These winemakers had for the most part graduated from U.C. Davis themselves and they were trying to make habitat-driven, French-style wines in California.
The French definition of terroir is related to a particular space and place:
“Le terroir serait donc un espace concret, tangible et cartographiable, à travers de multiples facteurs (géographiques: pédologie, géologie, géomorphologie, hydrologie, climatologie, microclimat, exposition, etc.).”
“The terroir would therefore be a tangible, and mappable space, through multiple factors (geographical: pedology, geology, geomorphology, hydrology, climatology, microclimate, exposition, etc.).
But, all said and done, the contemporary meaning of terroir - as it has to do with wine - is thanks to the California winemakers in the 1980’s and 1990’s and the worldwide reputation and media presence they had.
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