Exploring the origins of wine regionality

The world’s best winemakers create wines that are distinctive and unique to the region from which they originate. These wines are said to express ‘terroir’ – a sense of place.  

The University of Adelaide is bringing together experts from around the world in a two-day virtual conference – the XIII International Terroir Congress on 17-18 November, 2020 – to discuss the science that creates and defines regionality in wine. 

“To find out what underpins wine terroir is a holy grail, it is what makes wine so diverse and appealing,” says Associate Professor Collins, Congress Convenor. 

“But we are only now beginning to understand why the same grape variety can make such different wines depending on the soil and climate, for instance why a Shiraz wine from the Rhône Valley in France, from Tuscany in Italy or from the Barossa Valley or McLaren Vale in Australia, can taste so different. 

“By bringing together experts from around the world in viticulture, wine and sensory science to share their knowledge we are coming closer to the answer, and with this information we can assist viticulturists and wine makers to maintain or adapt their unique regional wine styles under the pressures of a changing climate. 

“This biennial event – the International Terroir Congress – has been running since 1996 with previous congresses in France, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, Hungary and the United States of America. 

“The University of Adelaide won the honour of hosting the 2020 congress two years ago, which is a reflection of the breadth and scale of our wine programs. The University’s Waite Research Precinct is home to over 70% of the wine research activity in Australia and to world-class undergraduate and postgraduate wine degrees.” 

The main themes of the XIII International Terroir Congress are organised into four live virtual sessions held 7-9 am and 7-9 pm on Tuesday 17 November and Wednesday 18 November to take into account different time zones: 

  • Scales of Terroir – terroir has impacts at multiple levels, from the molecular to global scales 
  • History and Innovation of Terroir – an exploration of how terroir has evolved and will influence the future 
  • Terroir Conservation – safeguarding aspects critical to terroir and agile adaptation to challenges 
  • People Shaping Terroir – influence and enhancement of terroir. 

Further information on the congress and the full program can be found at https://terroircongress.org.au/ 

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