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AUSTRALIA

Map Of Australia
BAROSSA VALLEY
The Soils of the Barossa Valley
Wednesday, 22nd December, 2010 - David Farmer


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For a dozen or so years now I have spent many happy days digging holes, chipping rocks, and studying the landscapes of a large number of Australian and New Zealand vineyard regions. The object is to try and understand what role things like soils, rocks, and the shape of the landscape, play in the role of creating wine flavours. This is an area French winemakers are very keen on and goes under the general topic of 'terroir'. more...


History of the Barossa Valley and Its Landscapes
 - David Farmer

A Highlight Summary of the Barossa Landscape
1. Many of the worlds wine regions have developed on sediments that have a recent origin and were created by the melting of ice sheets that began about 18,000 years ago. Most are dated at less than 12,000 years old. Some of the vineyards of Argentine, Chile, New Zealand, and Oregon-Washington are examples. Many other European, New Zealand, and South American vineyards grow on landscapes that are younger than 300,000 years with the main vineyards of Bordeaux being on terraces about 1,000,000 years old. more...


EDEN VALLEY
The Landscape and Terroir of Eden Valley
Thursday, 29th September, 2011 - David Farmer

Quick Facts
The Eden Valley GI region adjoins the Barossa Valley to the east and is of a similar size.
This region is a hilly upland plateau divided in two by the valley of the North Para River which flows north.
This upland region is about 200 metres higher than the Barossa Valley and vineyards are planted at heights of 400 to 550 metres. more...


COONAWARRA
The Red Soils of Coonawarra - Part of a Unique Terroir
 - David Farmer

Many of Ausralia's finest red wines are made in Coonawarra and it is one of the country's few world class wine producing areas. Coonawarra, like most of the world's great vineyard areas, is a clearly defined, localised, geographic setting. This setting and the other influences that make up the terroir may explain the particular wine flavours that make Coonawarra wines so popular with consumers. All vineyard areas can make delicious and affordable wine, but very few have the terroir to make wines for which consumers will pay greatly increased prices. more...


LANGHORNE CREEK
The Landscape of Langhorne Creek and its Vineyards
 - David Farmer

The Location, Vineyards and a Brief History

The Langhorne Creek wine district borders Lake Alexandrina and vines now cover about 6000 hectares with most of this planted in the last dozen years. The Murray River flows into Lake Alexandrina on its way to the sea, and is a large body of shallow water that has ponded behind high coastal dunes that impede the flow of water into the Southern ocean. Except in times of drought when the ocean outlet of the Murray River may close there is an exchange of sea water from the ocean into the lake. more...



NEW ZEALAND

Map Of New Zealand
OVERVIEW
Notes on Aspects of the Terroir of Some New Zealand Vineyard Regions
 - David Farmer

Most of the soils of New Zealand vineyards are derived from glacially produced sediments. The current ice age started about 2.5 million years ago. Of this period New Zealand glacial sediments cover the last 650,000 years.

The major cycles of this ice age, cold to warm to cold, have a length of about 105,000 years. As well there are numerous shorter span cycles, thus as the main cycle breaks from the cold spell there can be a number of colder and warmer periods as it heads down to the maximum part of the warm cycle. We are probably in the maximum part of the warm cycle now. more...


MARTINBOROUGH
Aspects of the Terroir of Martinborough
 - David Farmer

The Regional Setting

Few areas have given as much heart to ‘new world’ vineyards owners working to establish new wine regions than the triumph that is Martinborough. The recognition that Martinborough had potential for viticulture was recognised by Derek Milne a soil scientist who had done a doctorate on the soil types of the region. This work was continued by Keith Vincent. more...


MARLBOROUGH
Some Aspects of the Terroir of Marlborough and the Related Awatere Valley
 - David Farmer

The Regional Setting

Marlborough is the most exciting new wine region developed in the last three decades anywhere in the world. Over 50% of New Zealand wine is now produced in Marlborough.

The landscape is similar to other New Zealand wine areas with a valley made up of a sequence of stranded river terraces which step down to the Wairau River. It is on these terraces which have two distinct ages; 14,000 years and younger, and 14,000 years to 24,000 years, that most of the vineyards are planted. These are called here the younger and older terraces. more...


OTAGO
Aspects of the Terroir and Vineyards of Central Otago, New Zealand
 - David Farmer

From tiny beginnings in the mid 1970’s by Rippon which planted a few rows in 1974, and William Hill which commenced plantings in 1973, vineyards in Otago have steadily grown with the major expansion coming after 1990. The district can now produce over 100,000 cases of wine each year of which about 80% is pinot noir. This figure is set to grow rapidly in the years ahead to well over 200,000 cases and in a big harvest over 300,000 cases. Currently there are some 1800 hectares planted. more...


OTAGO EXTENDED
Other Regions of Central Otago
 - David Farmer

There are other small vineyard areas that were not examined. One of interest is Lindis River near Tarras which is probably on a river terrace cover with the interest being that it is in the north east corner of the Cromwell Basin. If this area turns out to be favourable it would open up a very large new area for viticulture. more...


GIBBSTON
The Terroir and Wines of the Gibbston Valley and Wineries and Its Western Sub-districts
 - David Farmer

The Gibbston Valley is the closest of the Otago vineyards to the tourist town of Queenstown, a town which fringes the glacial derived Lake Wakatipu. This lake used to drain south west to the sea but recently, probably in the last 10,000 years, this route was blocked and the new lake overflow, the Kawarau River, drains to the east. more...


CROMWELL
The Terroir and Wines of the Cromwell Basin and Bannockburn
 - David Farmer

The Cromwell Basin is the most important of the Central Otago regions measured by the area under vines and there are planted intermittently along the valley for 35 kilometres although the pioneering vineyards are clustered at the southern end near the town of Cromwell. The first vineyard was planted by Olssens along Felton Road in the southern sub-region of Bannockburn in 1989. more...



ARGENTINA

Map Of Argentina
Altitude, Argentina and the Riverland
Sunday, 11th September, 2011 - David Farmer

Should you be interested in creating a wine empire, The Daily Mail, 17th July, 2011, reports that the Estancia Punta del Agua; a one million acre estate, in San Juan province in western Argentine, is for sale. The estate lies about 150 kilometres NNE, of San Juan which has a wine history back to 1569. more...


Wine Notes from a Trip to Argentine
Tuesday, 26th October, 2004 - David Farmer

The Trip to Mendoza, the Wine Capital

Buenos Aires sits on the bank of a large river system that drains the Western Andes and the North Eastern Brazilian high plains. These rivers have created a fertile flat land that covers a huge area. The drive west from the capital to Mendoza the Argentinean wine town is an endless spectacle of corn fields, Soya bean crops, cows and horses. more...


LANDSCAPE & TERROIR RELATED ARTICLES
Wine Flavours, Climate, Weather, Soils and Geology

Sunday, 12th January, 2014

The following six articles are based on a talk I gave to the Field Geologists Club of South Australia, on May 2nd 2013.

I took the opportunity to talk to this group to consolidate my thoughts which are captured in the general term 'terroir' which have been maturing since the late 1990s, a time when I wanted to understand the science behind the role of nature, as distinct from wine-making, in the flavours of wine. more...

Terroir Goes Higher and Higher

Friday, 19th October, 2012

Steadily the vine spreads into new regions across the globe and who knows what taste pleasures await us in the years ahead. The vast sweep of country from Turkey to China looks very inviting. more...

The Vines of the NSW South Coast

Wednesday, 28th March, 2012

The birthplace of Australian wines was naturally the Sydney basin. Urban pressure has swamped the vineyards of Sydney though a few lonely outposts survive, such as Camden Estate Wines at Camden where the first plantings date to 1820. Thus it was to be further north in the Hunter Valley that the early vineyards were to survive. more...

Remarks on the Geology and Wines of McLaren Vale

Monday, 6th February, 2012

In August, 2010, a geological map of the McLaren Vale wine region was published. This is the final version of a preliminary map from 2000. I love maps and to me both are works of art though the full blown 2010 version is a thing of beauty. This map shows in great detail the many geological formations from very young to old which underlie this famous vineyard region. more...

The Landscape and Terroir of Eden Valley

Thursday, 29th September, 2011

Quick Facts
The Eden Valley GI region adjoins the Barossa Valley to the east and is of a similar size.
This region is a hilly upland plateau divided in two by the valley of the North Para River which flows north.
This upland region is about 200 metres higher than the Barossa Valley and vineyards are planted at heights of 400 to 550 metres. more...

Altitude, Argentina and the Riverland

Sunday, 11th September, 2011

Should you be interested in creating a wine empire, The Daily Mail, 17th July, 2011, reports that the Estancia Punta del Agua; a one million acre estate, in San Juan province in western Argentine, is for sale. The estate lies about 150 kilometres NNE, of San Juan which has a wine history back to 1569. more...

A Comment on the Red Soils of Heathcote

Sunday, 1st May, 2011

When commenting about wine regions it's not a simple task to write about the geology and the origin of landscapes and soils. Consider this example of the confusion that one region has managed.

Heathcote, the Victorian region noted for fine shiraz makes great use of the districts red soils in selling and marketing. Some say the best vineyards are located on the red soils, and it's suggested, they produce the best wines. Here are nine recent comments. more...

The Excitement of Te Muna Road

Thursday, 7th April, 2011

Looking back over the last 40 years it is amazing the number of new wine regions that have developed across Australia and New Zealand. From farming land to vineyards and still pioneers are finding small sub-regions that are worth a shot. more...

The Soils of the Barossa Valley

Wednesday, 22nd December, 2010

For a dozen or so years now I have spent many happy days digging holes, chipping rocks, and studying the landscapes of a large number of Australian and New Zealand vineyard regions. The object is to try and understand what role things like soils, rocks, and the shape of the landscape, play in the role of creating wine flavours. This is an area French winemakers are very keen on and goes under the general topic of 'terroir'. more...

How Does Soil and Rocks Influence the Taste of Wine?

Wednesday, 19th May, 2010

My studies have lead me to the conclusion that the chemistry of the soils and rocks in which the vine grows add little if anything to the taste of wine. Wine does not show a taste that can be related back to primary or secondary minerals in the soils and weathered rocks. The soils and rocks do though have an important bearing on how necessary nutrients are taken up by the vines and most specifically how the vine gains access to water. This does affect the taste in a major way. more...

Discussions about Soil, Rocks and Wine with Max Marriott

Monday, 27th July, 2009

I have written a lot about the topic of 'terroir' and was recently asked by Max Marriot, landscape photographer and specialist writer, to offer some thoughts about geology, wine and the like. This was to help with an article he was commissioned to do for the New Zealand Grape Grower. more...

In the Footsteps of Colonel Light

Wednesday, 10th June, 2009

I have spent many a happy day wandering the hills and vales pondering how the Barossa landscape formed. An area of great interest is Rocky Gully that runs down from the eastern edge of the Eden Valley into the Barossa Valley. This gully makes no sense to me as it seems to be much bigger than the tiny stream that drains it could possibly have created. more...

An Expression of Unusual New Zealand Terroir

Wednesday, 1st April, 2009

The Chaytor family were early Marlborough settlers (1830-40?) and had grazing properties that spanned country from north of Blenheim at Spring Creek through to Picton. One of these properties, possibly 'Marshlands', near Spring Creek, is now part of the extensive vineyard, Shepherds Ridge, of 73 hectares. Alas I do not have firsthand experience of the Shepherds Ridge vineyard. Wine reviews have been very favourable with many wines scoring 90 plus. more...

On One Hand Terroir Gets Bigger - On the Other it's Taken Away

Saturday, 6th September, 2008

The concept of 'terroir' or a sense of place that it is said may be reflected in the taste of a wine is now embedded in the psyche of French wine makers and many disciples world-wide. It was not always so as there is little mention of this concept until the 1970's though it can be argued that it encapsulates the idea of single vineyards as represented for example by the 1855 Bordeaux left bank grading. more...

Specific Site or Blending?

Sunday, 22nd June, 2008

If you believe what wine writers everywhere are telling us you would come to the conclusion that the very best wines are always site specific. By this they mean you must be able to see the vineyard which produced the grapes and coupled with this they may discuss how the wine expresses the terroir of the site. more...

Buying Wines That Have a Sense of Place

Friday, 11th April, 2008

Currently a number of wine writers are emphasising that wines with a sense of place taste better, or those that express terroir have the true taste of wine. Indeed I gather they are saying that they can detect a wine with a sense of place from drinking it. more...

An Update on the Unfathomable Idea - Terroir

Wednesday, 3rd October, 2007

The idea that the site, the location and aspect, of the vineyard and its exposure to the elements of climate will affect the taste of the grapes and hence the wine seems so obvious as to be hardly worth debating. Any owner of a vineyard whether it is flat as a tack in the Australian Riverland or clinging to a slope in a cool climate region will tell you that part of the vineyard always produces superior fruit to the rest. The famous region of Burgundy has known for five hundred years that parts of its golden slope produce better wines than the rest. more...

Geology Cannot be Found In Wine

Thursday, 18th September, 2006

An aspect of marketing is to tell the story about the product and to enhance the story it can be a good idea to weave in a myth, a mystery or some 'undefined' extra element. The idea is to create for the consumer an emotional bond with the product that goes beyond the mere utility of the product. more...

Terroir - Can It Possible Shine Through the Background Noise

Tuesday, 4th July, 2006

It seems to make sense that the taste of a wine reflects where it is grown. After all Barossa wines do have different aromas and flavours to Tasmanian wines. The French use the term 'terroir' to describe the differences that refect the sense of place where the grapes are grown. more...

Wine Quality: Does Terroir Matter?

Friday, 14th October, 2005

Olivier Gergaud from the University of Reims and Victor Ginsburgh (pictured) of the Université Libre de Bruxelles deserved better than the couple of smart headlines they attracted when they presented a paper at the UK Royal Economic Society annual conference in Nottingham in March this year. The Sunday Observer declared "French bitter over wine study" and Decanter magazine on its website summarised that "Terroir plays no role". But apart from a reference or two on wine web sites that was the extent of the references that I found on Google for the paper Natural endowments, production technologies and the quality of wines in Bordeaux. Does terroir matter? Yet the Gergaud and Ginsburgh paper is one of the more significant contributions yet made to the debate about the comparative impact of terroir and wine making skills on the wine we drink. A look at the Observer's and Decanter's coverage of the story perhaps provides a clue to the overall paucity of the coverage. more...

Terroir: The Role of Geology, Climate, and Culture in the Making of French Wines

Friday, 14th October, 2005

Any vineyard owner will tell you that certain areas of their vineyard make better tasting grapes than other areas. Why some areas of vineyards and vineyard districts deliver better grapes and hence better wine is the subject of terroir studies. The Europeans and particularly the French are very interested in this topic. They extend the meaning of the word which we can roughly say is the flavour effects that come from the vineyard location to include cultural ideas which unite man with the soil. more...




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