Vincabulary-Terroir (tɛrwar)

By. Neil Williamson, VWJ Editor

Terroir is a French “borrow”  word used to refer to the general characteristics a place impart on the taste of either wine or coffee. It is commonly used in English, and so may be seen either italicized or not. While the full extent to which the taste is affected by the plot of land grapes or coffee beans are grown on is disputed, most connoisseurs consider terroir to be an important part of both the wine and coffee experiences.

Exactly what constitutes terroir is also a matter of some debate. Most people include such things as soil type, sun exposure, altitude, weather, and drainage as being integral parts of a wine or coffee’s terroir. Others also include aspects of technique, such as spacing of plants, how the fruit is harvested, methods of drying or aging, and even the social history of the plot of land.

For the French, terroir is the defining feature of wine, with the grapes used being a secondary concern


About virginiawineclub

Chairman Virginia Wine Club Tasting Panel Editor, Virginia Wine Journal
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