12th Terroir Congress next-to-last day fouses on ground zoning methods

‘The most accurate and homogeneous possible terroir knowledge is not only the basis of research but also a key tool to the highest quality terroir wine production’, Kees van Leeuwen, professor of Bourdeaux University, has said in the next-to-last Congress day opening lecture.

To do so, it is necessary to carry out a zoning process. It is to say, the setting of diverse ground zones according to the data obtained and the aim of the research. These aims range from phenological study to landscape protection from urbanization processes.

Van Leeuwen has mentioned the different approaches to vineyard zonification. They are the geological, which offers a synthetic knowledge of the local geology, so it is not really useful because it does not deepen into the ground and wine relationship factors, which are the terroir basis.

The most appropriate approach to vineyard zoning is the paedological one. It is focused on the ground and offers tiny-detailed information. ‘It enables researchers to understand interactions between soil and the vineyard’.

Accurate data collection by means of precise measurement and suitable parameters to the information to be known is another pillar of the zoning process. That’s why it is essential to have instruments ‘well located and accurate, whose quality must be controlled to prevent data loss’.

But knowing the soils has not only to do with instruments and information collection. Van Leeuwen has urged the attendants ‘to ask the growers and producers themselves’. ‘They have a really deep knowledge of the ground they work’, has stated.

Hernan Ojeda: ‘Climate change will be an opportunity for some growers’

The so dreaded climate change will not be an odd for everybody, for some vine growers it may be ‘an opportunity for those vineyards suffering from water excess’. This the conclusion of Pech Rouge Experimental Unit Assistant Manager, Hernán Ojeda, who has opened the third day of the 12th Terroir Congress.

Ojeda has exposed the results of a research carried out in the French region of Languedoc-Roussillon, aimed at analysing vineyards’ behaviour in different humidity situations.

But, how are vines affected by different hydric situations? According to the research done by Ojeda’s team, in excessive humidity situations, there is a vigor excess and too big a berry, which makes quality dilute.

In optimal humidity conditions, which are determined after analysing several factors, vegetative growth and berry size are a little lower but there is an increase in polyphenols.

To obtain these conditions, it is required to apply techniques which manage vines to achieve their optimal humidity level.

Among others, Ojeda has mentioned canopy management or mulching. But the expert has focused on the relevance of shading. It ‘s to say, protecting the vines from the sunshine. This could also be even more profitable and energy-saving provided the use of solar panels on the roofs.

Anyway, when water scarcity reaches certain levels, irrigation is the only technique that keeps the required humidity. “Climate research data show that water scarcity is going to increase so an efficient use of water will become essential”, Ojeda has stated standing for reuse of water and drip irrigation as the one which guarantees accuracy and water efficiency.

Terroir as a vine growing culture, core of the Congress second day

The improvement of vineyards exploitation has been the core of the second day of the 12th Terroir Congress which is being held in Zaragoza during this week.

The adjective terroir involves the development of soil and vine management techniques which provide the wine with distinctive characteristics. So said, Professor Vittorino Novello, from University of Turin, who has opened this second day.

Novello has focused on the relevance of aspects such as the canopy management to get a balance between vegetative and productive growth, something which will be transferred to the wine and will valorize terroir wines.

Other distinctive aspect of terroir wines is the vine vigor control. This can be controlled by appropriate trimmings, by using the accurate nitrogen fertiliser amount and the accurate amount of water required in order not to break the balance and to get the desire wine type.

As well, ‘the care of vine leaves, their density, and distance are key to prevent illnesses without the need to use chemical substances’ have to be more than growing techniques. “They should be cultural practices”, Novello has stated.

 

Although scientists are unanimous regarding this issue, it arises certain doubts among growers. So has said Thibaut Verdenal, a Swiss agronomical engineer who has exposed the conclusions of a research on the best moment to defoliate vines to avoid fungi diseases. “We did the research to solve growers’ doubts on this issue”, has pointed out.

Zaragoza opens the 12th Terroir Congress calling to coherence by the first Spanish Master of Wine

A toast using the clay cups representative of the Congress has officially opened the 12th Terroir Congress, which gathers together during this week more than 250 world wide experts on wine.

The first Spanish Master of Wine, Pedro Ballesteros, has given the first master lecture of the Congress, which has been opened by the Regional Minister for Rural Development and Sustainability, Joaquín Olona.

‘Political and marketing interests are before scientific interests’, has said Ballesteros, in whose view, terroir studies make sense to get a better knowledge of the soils on which vines are grown and to share it, but not so much to influence on consumers.

‘I don’t think research on terroir has a direct effect on consumers. They will be used for short-term and market interests, which are also fair, but we have to be aware of that’, has pointed out.

During his lecture, entitled “Consumers’ perception on terroir”, Ballesteros has been critical to “incoherences” around this concept. In this way, he outstands the breaking between the “magical balance” around the terroir and what is done afterwards in wineries thinking of the consumers.

In any case, Ballesteros, is a heavy terroir supporter. He sees terroir as an ecosystem which involves changes in the grape, must and wine features, and that shows distinctive organoleptic characteristics.

Terroir against depopulation

The Regional Minister for Rural Development and Sustainability, Joaquín Olona, has been the responsible for closing the Congress opening event. Olona has described the wine sector as ‘exemplary in aspects such as depopulation struggle, internationalization and knowledge advance’. Olona has also remarked the ‘hard work’ by the Organising Committee to bring to Zaragoza an event “which will enable prescribers to know Aragonese wines’.