All posts tagged: Terroir

The dark matter of dirt

With millions of unknown species existing in a ton of soil, biologist Edward Osborne Wilson has called bacteria “the dark matter of the biological world.” While our knowledge of the roles known bacteria play in the vineyard enables us to make delicious wine, the unknown far exceeds the understood when it comes to analyzing these soil microbiomes. According to biochemist Paco Cifuentes, who has compared studies from hundreds of vineyards, there’s a distinct kingdom of organisms found only in soils farmed sustainably with organic fertilizers. When evaluating the health of a vineyard, the presence of these organisms becomes a marker for sustainability and diversity. “In a conventionally-farmed vineyard, you’ll find on average 500–700 different types of microorganisms,” says Cifuentes. “In sites that are farmed sustainably, we find anywhere from 1,000–1,200 microorganisms, the majority of which are bacteria.” This promotes an environment of checks and balances where beneficial organisms can effectively suppress harmful organisms and help prevent disease. That vast array of potentially present microorganisms includes “a dozen or so very distinctive organisms that never show …

Soil Survey: a crossword puzzle for the terroir obessed

Dirt.  It’s the first thing that comes to mind when I think about the influence of terroir and its contribution to the flavor in wine is one of the most controversial and debated topics among wine enthusiasts.  I created this crossword puzzle to help my WSET Level 3 students study soil types in a creative way.  Even if you’re not a student of wine you’ve probably already encountered many of the soils I’ve included here.  So, put on your geological thinking cap and have at it with these clues Soil Survey Clues. You’ll can find the answers here. Soil Survey Answer Key