Environment shapes the fruit of the vine

31 OCTOBER 2001

When viticulture lecturer Dejan Tesic wanders into a vineyard over the next few months, he will be more interested in the climate and soil than the grapes.

When viticulture lecturer Dejan Tesic wanders into a vineyard over the next few months, he will be more interested in the climate and soil than the grapes.

The role of climate and soil in shaping the characteristics of wine is the focus of a new study by the Charles Sturt University academic. 

Dr Tesic is looking at the growing environment, or the French term terroir, that determines fruit quality in different grape varieties. 

He will gather information from vineyard sites in two climatically different regions: the mild Mornington Peninsula region of Victoria and warm to hot district of Cowra, NSW. 

Dr Tesic has secured a contract with the Mornington Peninsula Vigneron’s Association to study the terroir of the region.

It is hoped his findings will lead to improved vineyard site selection and management practices in addition to tailoring existing vineyards to maximise quality.

“This is a relatively new approach to investigating site characteristics, based on the French concept of terroir,” Dr Tesic said.

“So far, terroir is not widely used in any of the ‘new world’ regions of Australia, California and New Zealand.”

The results will be important, Dr Tesic said, as the Australian wine industry predicts that its future lies primarily in branded wine products that reflect the distinctiveness of their regions.

“We’re trying to develop a big picture of how environment affects wine growth and characteristics,” he added.

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Wagga Wagga Agriculture & Food Production Wine & Grape Production