Terroir and clones: What do they mean?

Terroir is a term used regularly when discussing wine. But it is a term that is also met with controversy and conflict. What is terroir? It is an amorphous term with no clear consensus.

In Burgundy, where they have been carving up land for hundreds of years, perhaps they have a good sense of their “terroir.” But what about in California where the wine industry is younger?

Julia Jackson from Jackson Family Wines hosted a conversation about the terroir of the West Burgundy Group, a portfolio of boutique wineries producing estate-based, site specific wines from Burgundian varieties grown in vineyards across the cool climate regions of California and Oregon.

Eugenia Keegan, Julia Jackson, Erik Johannsen, Craig McCallister, Adam Lee, Steve Heimoff

The conversation included winemakers Erik Johannsen (Champ de Rêves), Eugenia Keegan (Gran Moraine), Adam Lee (Siduri) and Craig McCallister (Wild Ridge), as well as Steve Heimoff, Jackson Family Wines director of wine communications and education, and moderated by Gilian Handelman, Jackson Family Wines director of wine education.

Terroir, Clone 777 and Pinot Noir

To begin, each person provided their definition of “terroir.” Julia Jackson sees terroir as the “synergy of microclimates, soil, climate, cover crops, perennials, geology and man, to some degree.”

Read the complete story in the Napa Valley Register.