Geosciences and wine: the environmental processes that regulate the terroir effect in space and time
Geosciences and wine: the environmental processes that regulate the terroir effect in space and time
Editor(s): E. A. C. Costantini, E. Vaudour, G. Jones, S. Mocali, and A. Cerdà

The terroir concept has become popular in many parts of world. Originally developed for wine, terroir is now applied to fruits, vegetables, cheese, olive oil, coffee, cacao and other crops, linking the uniqueness and quality of both beverages and foods to the environment where it is produced, giving the consumer a sense of place. Climate, geology, geomorphology, and soil are the main environmental factors, which comprise the terroir effect at different scales. Often considered immutable at the cultural scale, and under human influence, the environmental components of the terroir are a set of processes, which together create a delicate equilibrium and regulation of the terroir effect on products in both space and time.

Due to both a greater need to better understand regional to site variations in crop production and the growth in spatial analytic technologies, the study of terroir has shifted from a largely descriptive regional science to a more applied, technical research field. Furthermore, the explosion of spatial data for these technologies has made the within-field scale of study more valuable to the individual grower, resulting in greater adoption and application. The symposium forming the basis for this special issue focused on four main areas of terroir research: (1) quantifying terroir component influences on plant growth, fruit composition and quality, mostly examining climate–soil–water relationships; (2) the metagenomic approach to unravel the role of soil microbial communities in driving the biogeochemical cycles of both macro- and micronutrients and the functional diversity of terroirs; (3) regional fingerprinting (examining the chemical signature of products for authentication); and (4) terroir zoning (mapping terroirs), and precision agriculture (using technologies to better manage the crop system and lower costs).

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SOIL, 1, 427–441,,, 2015
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18 Mar 2015
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E. Vaudour, E. Costantini, G. V. Jones, and S. Mocali
SOIL, 1, 287–312,,, 2015
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17 Mar 2015
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