Soil Signatures

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Explore one of the key tenets of terroir: the notion that a wine’s fundamental character is derived from its place of origin. Do soil signatures exist? How do climate and topography come into play?

Over eight webinars, our instructors and panelists will explore this topic in general while closely examining twelve of the most significant vineyard soils in the wine world: Clay, Limestone/Chalk/Marl, Schist/Slate, Volcanics, Sand/Sandstone, Granite, and Gravels/Rolled Pebbles.

Register now and join us for this fascinating exploration of soils !

REGISTER NOW (CLOSED) INSTRUCTORS LIVE WEBINARS

WHAT'S INCLUDED ?

    • A preparatory pre-recorded webinar on rocks and soil.

    • 8 live webinars : an introduction to geology, pedology and edaphology plus seven live panel discussions that delve into specific soil/rock families with two area experts; with the exception of the first webinar, all panel discussions are moderated by Andrew Jefford

    • written brief by wine writer, Andrew Jefford, discussing the concept of terroir and all the issues and controversies revolving around the topic.

    • In preparation for each panel discussion, students will be provided with a pre-recorded lecture on the geology of that particular soil/rock family delivered by geologist, Brenna Quigley, plus a written brief summarizing key learning points. A list of the wine regions where each soil/rock family can be found around the world will also be provided.

YOUR INSTRUCTORS

     


Andrew Jefford

Award-winning Wine Journalist
and Book Author

Brenna Quigley

Geologist and Terroir Specialist

Robert White

Soil Scientist and Author

Dr Pedro Parra

Terroir Consultant

   

About Andrew Jefford

Andrew Jefford has written for many British newspapers, including The Evening Standard (for ten years), The Financial Times, The Guardian and The Times; he is today Contributing Editor and a regular columnist for both Decanter and The World of Fine Wine, as well as Academic Advisor to the Wine Scholar Guild.  He is one of three Co-Chairs for the London-based Decanter World Wine Awards, the largest global wine competition.  He has also broadcast extensively on wine, tea and other subjects for BBC Radio in the UK.  He leads study tours in France for the Wine Scholar Guild, and lectures on wine globally. 

Andrew has also written twelve books and guides including The New France, Andrew Jefford’s Wine Course and Whisky Island (about the island of Islay). He has won eight Roederer Awards and eight Glenfiddich Awards for his journalism.   He and his family spent 15 months in Australia between 2009 and 2010, (during which he was Wine Writer in Residence to the Wine 2030 Research Network and a Senior Research Fellow at Adelaide University). Since then, he has lived in Languedoc, France.

About Brenna Quigley

Brenna Quigley is a geologist and terroir specialist committed to thoughtfully applying the science of geology to the world of wine. She works with wine professionals in all areas of the trade in order to precisely understand and define the most impactful elements of terroir. Currently based in Napa, California Brenna has experience around the world including France, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Oregon. She is passionate about making the science of geology accessible to sommeliers and vigneron alike, in order to promote a better understanding of the world around us, and highlight how wine can help us appreciate our dynamic planet. 

About Robert White

Robert White is Emeritus Professor of Soil Science in the University of Melbourne, where he held the Chair of Soil Science from 1994 to 2003. Previously he was Professor of Soil Science and Director of the Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre at Massey University, New Zealand. He has extensive experience in soil science nationally and internationally, having worked in CSIRO and universities and been a private consultant in the viticulture industry from 2004. His main experience is in soil, water and nutrient management in countries as diverse as Australia, USA, UK, NZ, China and southern Africa, where he has led national and international research teams. He has received several awards for his research and authorship, including the JK Taylor and JA Prescott awards and the Prix Agronomique of IMPHOS, and is an honorary life member Soil Science Australia and life member of the International Union of Soil Sciences. He is the author of Principles and Practice of Soil Science, now in its 4th edition, Soils for Fine Wines, Understanding Vineyard Soils, now in its 2nd edition, and Healthy Soils for Healthy Vines, co-authored with Dr Mark Krstic. He also co-edited the four volumes of Earthscan’s Soil Science, published in 2009.

About Dr Pedro Parra

Pedro Parra grew up in Concepción, Chile.  His parents were both lawyers, but his grandfather was a film distributor and his grandfather’s cousin, Daniel Emilfork, was (and is still) considered Chile’s most famous film actor.  Pedro loved movies and music as a young man, especially jazz and rock – but nearly got thrown out of school since, as he says, “my body went to school but my head stayed somewhere else”.  Eventually he brought body and mind together for long enough to study Forest Engineering at university; he then went to France to study Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems – which led him, by chance, to work with the man he now called ‘the Lionel Messi of terroir’ – Michel-Claude Girard of the Ecole d’Agriculture de Grignon/AgroParisTech.  Pedro was awarded his PhD in Terroirs Viticoles in 2004.

Since then he has worked around the world as a Terroir Consultant, notably with Louis-Michel Liger-Belair and Jean-Marc Roulot in Burgundy, with viticultural consultant Alberto Antonini, with Sebastian Zuccardi and Antonio Morescalchi in Argentina and with Dani Landi and Fernando Garcia or Comando G in Spain’s Gredos.  In 2020 he published Terroir Footprints, a career memoir and autobiography packed with accounts of his work and his unique and highly individual insights into and theories concerning terroir.

 

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Registration currently closed


RECORDED WEBINARS - PREPARATORY CURRICULUM 

The preparatory curriculum is comprised of a preparatory pre-recorded webinar on rocks and soil.

Introduction to Geology, Soil and Terroir (1 hr. recorded webinar)

Geologist Brenna Quigley digs into the basics of rocks and soil, and their respective roles. You will be given the scientific foundation and the terms to discuss terroir to from a position of strength. Brenna will explore the different types of rocks, how they form. We will also discuss the difference between bedrock, soil, and subsoil in order to understand how soils form and how they support plant life. Finally, we will review the concept of terroir, and how the geology of a region can influence the character of its wine.

 


LIVE WEBINARS - DETAILED SCHEDULE

 

All panel discussions will be moderated by WSG Academic Advisor, Andrew Jefford.

   

 

WEBINAR #1: An Introduction to Soil Signatures

Monday, October 11th, 2021 at 6:00pm ET.

     

Lisa M. Airey

WSG Education Director

Brenna Quigley

Geologist and Terroir Specialist

Robert White

Soil Scientist and Author

     

About this webinar

In this initial webinar, we define and discuss the differences and relationships between rock (geology) and soil (pedology and edaphology). (Pedology refers to soil origin, morphology and classification while edaphology explains how soil influences living things, especially plants.)  Both disciplines are important to our series.

We will cover the concepts of bedrock, weathering processes, soils, soil ages, different soil chemistries, soil ‘temperatures’ and soil textures.  We will learn what the vine does with minerals and to what extent ‘the mineral spectrum’ impacts the vine and the resulting wine.  

What role does rock itself play in soils?  What about the role of humus, soil flora and fauna?  Are there ideal soil depths or soil horizons?  Can we say that certain soils are always good or always bad for viticulture?  Do different soils interact differently with the vine? Are there soil signatures?

About Lisa M. Airey

Lisa M. Airey, FWS, CWE has thirteen years of experience selling wine at the wholesale level and in training both sales force and wait staff. She sat on the Board of Directors for the Society of Wine Educators from 1998-2004 and co-chaired the committee which launched their Certified Specialist of Wine program and authored and edited the first CSW Study Guide. She served as Education Director of the SWE before assuming the same role for WSG. She oversees all WSG educational programming.

Lisa was knighted by the French government (Order Mérite Agricole) for her contribution to French agriculture, namely the development of the French Wine Scholar Program. She is an Accredited International Bordeaux Tutor through the CIVB, a Certified Burgundy Instructor through the BIVB and a Certified Rhône Educator through Inter-Rhône. Lisa graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Language and Linguistics, Magna Cum Laude.

About Brenna Quigley

Brenna Quigley is a geologist and terroir specialist committed to thoughtfully applying the science of geology to the world of wine. She works with wine professionals in all areas of the trade in order to precisely understand and define the most impactful elements of terroir. Currently based in Napa, California Brenna has experience around the world including France, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Oregon. She is passionate about making the science of geology accessible to sommeliers and vigneron alike, in order to promote a better understanding of the world around us, and highlight how wine can help us appreciate our dynamic planet. 

About Robert White

Robert White is Emeritus Professor of Soil Science in the University of Melbourne, where he held the Chair of Soil Science from 1994 to 2003. Previously he was Professor of Soil Science and Director of the Fertilizer and Lime Research Centre at Massey University, New Zealand. He has extensive experience in soil science nationally and internationally, having worked in CSIRO and universities and been a private consultant in the viticulture industry from 2004. His main experience is in soil, water and nutrient management in countries as diverse as Australia, USA, UK, NZ, China and southern Africa, where he has led national and international research teams. He has received several awards for his research and authorship, including the JK Taylor and JA Prescott awards and the Prix Agronomique of IMPHOS, and is an honorary life member Soil Science Australia and life member of the International Union of Soil Sciences. He is the author of Principles and Practice of Soil Science, now in its 4th edition, Soils for Fine WinesUnderstanding Vineyard Soils, now in its 2nd edition, and Healthy Soils for Healthy Vines, co-authored with Dr Mark Krstic. He also co-edited the four volumes of Earthscan’s Soil Science, published in 2009.

WEBINAR #2: The Clay Family

Monday, October 25th, 2021 at 12:00 noon ET.

     

Prue Henschke

Family Henschke

Dr Pedro Parra

Terroir Consultant

     

About this webinar

Clay fills the spaces between rolled-pebble and gravel terraces; schist and slate decompose into clay…so do volcanic elements! Clay also plays an important role in conjunction with limestone, loam, silt, and loess. What exactly is clay? How does it interact with the vine? What is its role among the classic vineyard soils of the world? This first deep dive will discuss the entire clay family in consideration of the fact that clay appears alone and in partnership with other soil and rock families around the globe.

About Prue Henschke

Prue Henschke is the viticulturist and a director of the 140 year old family winery in the Eden Valley Wine Region. She manages 105ha of vineyard which extends across the hills between Eden Valley and Lenswood in the Adelaide Hills Wine Region.

She has been a pioneer in restructuring the vineyards with new trellis types and better soil management using composts and mulches, which has led to the adoption of organic and biodynamic practices. Prue has used her expertise to bring back the native flora into the vineyard by using native grass swards and nectar-providing plants for beneficial insects.

Prue has been active on a number of industry groups such as the Adelaide Hills Vine Improvement as Chair, Australian Vine Improvement Inc. as Acting Chair, the Adelaide Hills Wine Region Viticultural Technical Committee, and is a strong campaigner for environmental issues.

About Dr Pedro Parra

Pedro Parra grew up in Concepción, Chile.  His parents were both lawyers, but his grandfather was a film distributor and his grandfather’s cousin, Daniel Emilfork, was (and is still) considered Chile’s most famous film actor.  Pedro loved movies and music as a young man, especially jazz and rock – but nearly got thrown out of school since, as he says, “my body went to school but my head stayed somewhere else”.  Eventually he brought body and mind together for long enough to study Forest Engineering at university; he then went to France to study Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems – which led him, by chance, to work with the man he now called ‘the Lionel Messi of terroir’ – Michel-Claude Girard of the Ecole d’Agriculture de Grignon/AgroParisTech.  Pedro was awarded his PhD in Terroirs Viticoles in 2004.

Since then he has worked around the world as a Terroir Consultant, notably with Louis-Michel Liger-Belair and Jean-Marc Roulot in Burgundy, with viticultural consultant Alberto Antonini, with Sebastian Zuccardi and Antonio Morescalchi in Argentina and with Dani Landi and Fernando Garcia or Comando G in Spain’s Gredos.  In 2020 he published Terroir Footprints, a career memoir and autobiography packed with accounts of his work and his unique and highly individual insights into and theories concerning terroir.

WEBINAR #3: Limestone, Chalk and Marl

Monday, November 8th, 2021 at 12:00 noon ET.

     

Olivier Humbrecht MW

Domaine Zind Humbrecht

Dr Pedro Parra

Terroir Consultant

     

About this webinar

Limestone deposits are quite significant in Europe due to that continent’s largely ‘submerged’ history through the Jurassic, Cretaceous and Palaeogene periods. This discussion will examine the similarities and differences between limestones of marine origin and those of lacustrine or freshwater origin (not a sediment but a chemical precipitate). What is the relationship between limestone and key European ‘fine wine’ regions? Is it historical, locational or is something causal at work?  Does limestone deserve its legendary reputation?  Is there a reason to hunt for limestone when planting vineyards in zones where limestone is uncommon?

 

About Olivier Humbrecht MW

Olivier Humbrecht (born in 1963) is the son of Leonard Humbrecht and Geneviève Zind who, after their marriage, formed Domaine Zind-Humbrecht.  He spent his  childhood helping out at the domain: “Even when I was little, I served wine to the clients.  And my father used to say to me ‘Go and get a good bottle of something or other out of the cellar’, and it used to be me that would get it and serve it.  That way I used to sort out and tidy up the cellar, and I got to develop a feel for the culture of wine, for that noble product which you drink with family and friends.”

Eventually he studied wine together with wine marketing and wine business for five years in Toulouse, and then got the chance to do his ‘military service’ working for Sopexa in London.  He leaned about and enrolled on the MW course, becoming France’s first ever Master of Wine in 1989.  He also met his future wife Margaret (a Scot) in London – and their subsequent travels in Scotland have led to him becoming a passionate whisky fan.

He began to work with his father, and converted the domain to biodynamics in the early 1990s.  His father had painstakingly built up a unique collection of hill-site vineyards over the decades, notably clearing and replanting a quarter of the great historic Grand Cru of Rangen de Thann with Olivier in his later school years.  Olivier has continued to build on this, notably with the recent acquisition of a parcel of Sommerberg to complement the family’s Grand Cru holdings in Brand, Hengst and Goldert, and to complement its other holdings of Rotenberg, Clos Hauserer, Clos Jebsal, Heimbourg, Herrenweg and Clos Windsbuhl.

Olivier’s respectful, non-interventionist winemaking, combined with his and his father’s fastidious viticulture, has given the world vintage after vintage of magnificently differentiated, nuanced bottlings: global white-wine references.  He has never stopped experimenting and improving on his work, using biodynamic practices, changed row orientations and re-thought canopies recently to produce a much greater percentage of dry wines than before.

About Dr Pedro Parra

Pedro Parra grew up in Concepción, Chile.  His parents were both lawyers, but his grandfather was a film distributor and his grandfather’s cousin, Daniel Emilfork, was (and is still) considered Chile’s most famous film actor.  Pedro loved movies and music as a young man, especially jazz and rock – but nearly got thrown out of school since, as he says, “my body went to school but my head stayed somewhere else”.  Eventually he brought body and mind together for long enough to study Forest Engineering at university; he then went to France to study Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems – which led him, by chance, to work with the man he now called ‘the Lionel Messi of terroir’ – Michel-Claude Girard of the Ecole d’Agriculture de Grignon/AgroParisTech.  Pedro was awarded his PhD in Terroirs Viticoles in 2004.

Since then he has worked around the world as a Terroir Consultant, notably with Louis-Michel Liger-Belair and Jean-Marc Roulot in Burgundy, with viticultural consultant Alberto Antonini, with Sebastian Zuccardi and Antonio Morescalchi in Argentina and with Dani Landi and Fernando Garcia or Comando G in Spain’s Gredos.  In 2020 he published Terroir Footprints, a career memoir and autobiography packed with accounts of his work and his unique and highly individual insights into and theories concerning terroir.

WEBINAR #4: Schist and Slate

Monday, November 22th, 2021 at 12:00 noon ET.

     

Miguel Torres Jr.

Familia Torres

Erni Loosen

Dr. Loosen

Dirk Niepoort

Niepoort Vinhos

     

About this webinar

Shale, slate and schist are members of the same family of foliated metamorphic rocks, and indeed, the terminology for these is often interchangeable in different languages. We will explore their developmental trajectory and clarify the differences between them. (Did you know that if heat and pressure continues, slate turns into gneiss and then migmatite?) Schist and slate, and the soils derived from them, form highly visible, distinctive vineyard terrains in four key European fine-wine regions: the Mosel and Rhine valleys, the Douro Valley, and Priorat. These rocks are often said to have the perfect vineyard aptitude of being free-draining at the surface yet water-retentive at depth. Moreover, these rocks are easily penetrable by vine roots.  Are these metamorphic rocks the non plus ultra of vineyard terroir? Are there any downsides? How common are these rocks around the world?

About Miguel Torres Jr.

Since September 2012, Miguel is General Manager of Familia Torres. He represents, together with his sister Mireia, the fifth generation of this 150-year old family winery. His focus is the production of wines from unique vineyards and historical estates and the recovery of ancestral varieties to tackle climate change.

Born in 1974, Miguel is the son of Miguel A. Torres and Waltraud Maczassek. He and his two sisters – Ana and Mireia – were raised in the Penedès wine county, surrounded by vineyards. As Miguel’s son, he learned about wine and vineyards from him, and his mother passed on her creativity as a painter.
Miguel studied Business and Management at the ESADE University in Barcelona and at the Kenan-Flager Business School in North Carolina, USA. He also studied oenology at the Rovira i Virgili University, in Tarragona. He worked at several companies from the food and perfume industries, before moving into wine.

In 2001, he joined the family business as Manager of the Jean Leon winery (owned by Familia Torres since 1994). He focused on improving the quality of the wines by remodeling the wine cellar as well as overseeing the construction of a visitors’ center dedicated to wine tourism.

In 2004, he became Marketing Director of Familia Torres and was responsible for some of the new ventures in Spain, especially the projects of Ribera del Duero, Priorat, Rioja and Rueda.

At the end of 2009, Miguel Torres Maczassek was appointed Executive President of Miguel Torres Chile. During a period of three years, he set the future strategy of the winery by committing to sustainability, organic winegrowing and high-end wines. He created ‘Las Mulas’, which has become a leading organic Chilean wine.

While in Chile, he had to manage the crisis resulting from the 2010 earthquake. He led a company-wide effort to raise funds for and build 43 homes for local families affected by the quake. Following this event, he decided to give the winery a fair-trade focus, making it one of the first privately owned wineries to do so. He obtained IMO-Fair for Life/Fair Trade certifications and began producing Estelado, the only sparkling rosé made from the País grape. In doing so, he pioneered the recovery of this variety, which arrived in Chile 500 years ago and has now become a symbol of Chilean winemaking.

Before returning to Spain, he restarted a project initiated by his father in the Empedrado valley (also called the Chilean Priorat) and planted Pinot Noir there for the first time. Several years later, this resulted in the wine Escaleras de Empedrado, the first Chilean wine to originate from terraced vineyards rich in slate.

In September 2012, Miguel Torres Maczassek became General Manager of Familia Torres. As a member of the fifth generation, he focuses on the production of wines from singular vineyards and historical estates, as well as the recovery of ancestral varieties as solution to climate change.

Since his father began the project in the mid’80, he and his sister have managed to recover over 50 ancient varieties including Moneu and Forcada, approved in the D.O Penedès, of which Miguel is a permanent member.

In 2015 Miguel Torres launched ‘Purgatori’, the most Continental climate wine of the family in the DO. Costers de Segre. In 2018 he completed the recovery of the cellar that was once the property of the Benedictine monks of Montserrat and opened a new winery.

Since 2016 he has personally managed the operations of the family winery in the DOQ Priorat, of which he is also a permanent member of the Consell D.O Priorat. His most personal wine project is Mas de la Rosa, launched in 2019, an exceptional wine from an 80-year-old vineyard planted on steep slopes from one of the first estates in Priorat.

He is a founding member of the first Mediterranean wine road in the Penedès region ‘La Carretera del Vi’, promoting the collaboration between wineries and councils to attract visitors to the wine region.

He speaks fluent Catalan, Spanish, English and French and a smattering of Japanese and German. In 2002, Miguel married Sarah Andrews, and they have 3 children: Carolina, Andrea and Miguel Sebastian. He enjoys spending time with his family, mountain biking, reading history books and drawing, a passion he inherited from his mother.

About Erni Loosen

Ernst Loosen was born into a great tradition of German winemaking. Since the Dr. Loosen estate on the Mosel River has been in his family for over 200 years, you’d think it only natural for Ernst to take up the family legacy as a profession. The truth is, though, that as a youngster Ernst was more fascinated by the numerous Roman ruins in the area than by the family vineyards. So he went off to college to study archaeology. In the mid-’80s, however, Ernst was faced with a decision. His father was ready to turn the estate over to the next generation and none of his brothers or sisters were old enough or interested enough to take it on. We could be melodramatic and say that it was time for Ernst to face his destiny, but really it was more of an odd-man-out decision. Happily, as it turns out, Ernst found his true calling among the broken slate of his family’s vineyards rather than the hewn stones of an old Roman ruin.

Ernst dove into winemaking with his customary fervor. He completed studies at Germany’s renowned winemaking school in Geisenheim and then launched into a self directed review of the great wines of the world. He traveled to Austria, to Burgundy and Alsace, even to California. He went wherever great wine was being made, seeking out the best winemakers to find out what they had in common. What he discovered was that they all share a dedication to producing intense, concentrated wines that boldly proclaim their heritage. They also
have a worldly outlook that allows them to maintain respect for tradition while tempering it with reason. This gives them the freedom to acknowledge that not all traditions deserve to be doggedly observed, and allows judicious use of modern winemaking techniques when it will improve quality.

It is this global market view to which Ernst heartily ascribes. It is a philosophy that balances the old with the new. It is a way of thinking that has allowed him to move beyond the easy and familiar, the tried and not necessarily so true, to make wines that stand out as truly distinctive and world-class.

When Ernst Loosen assumed control of the Dr. Loosen estate in 1988, he recognized a lot of potential that was going unused. His father and grandfather had both been more involved in politics than winemaking, so nothing much had been done to maintain the vineyards or update the cellar. Ironically, Ernst saw that his forebears’ disinterest had given him exactly what he needed to produce the kind of rich, gutsy wines that he prefers. Because his predecessors had been unwilling to invest in new vines for what was essentially a family hobby, Ernst inherited a good number of vines that were well over 100 years old — vines perfectly suited to the low-yield, highly concentrated style he wanted to produce. And the estate hadn’t succumbed to the trends of the ’60s and ’70s, when many growers were replanting their Riesling vineyards with lesser-quality, high-yielding varieties. His father’s neglect of the cellar also ended up working in Ernst’s favor. With no hightech equipment to tempt them, Ernst and his cellarmaster had no choice but to make wines in a minimalist manner, with very little handling and long, slow fermentations.

Since Ernst took over, Dr. Loosen wines have received countless awards and glowing reviews in the wine press. The estate has become a member of the prestigious VDP, Germany’s association of top-rated wine estates, and has been named one of the 10 best estates in Germany by nearly every wine publication worldwide. Ernst was named Germany’s Winemaker of the Year in the 2001 edition of Gault Millau’s Weinguide Deutschland and Decanter magazine’s Man of the Year in 2005.

In 1995 Ernst and his younger brother, Thomas, launched a second label Riesling, called “Dr. L.” By contracting with local growers, they are able to procure high-quality fruit to make a flavor-packed, nonestate wine that is very characteristic of the region. Dr. L Riesling exhibits the clean, lemony slate flavors of the Middle Mosel at a very affordable price. It makes a wonderful introduction to German Riesling and to the Dr. Loosen estate wines.

About Dirk Niepoort

Dirk Niepoort is a unique figure both within his native Portugal and in European wine more generally. 

Although he was born into a long-established port wine family (Niepoort was founded in 1842; he represents the fifth generation of his family to run it), Dirk's approach has been unconventional and free-thinking since the start.  He began his career by travelling widely, meeting and working with many other winemakers in different countries, and tasting voraciously. 

As a winemaker himself, he is self-taught, intuitive and iconoclastic. He has helped push the boundaries for what is possible both in the Douro and in other wine regions, both in Portugal and beyond, notably in Germany and Austria.  His influence has been significant in many fields, and notably in the quest for lightness, delicacy and refreshment in wine despite ever-warmer vineyard conditions, and  on the natural-wine movement.  He designs his own labels and has many interests beyond wine, and is a notable enthusiast for cuisine (he is a passionate cook) and for tea.

WEBINAR #5: Volcanics

Monday, December 6th, 2021 at 12:00 noon ET.

     

John Szabo MS

Author of Volcanic Wines

Dr Yiannis Paraskevopoulos

Professor of Enology,
University of West Attica, Greece
and leading Santorini wine producer

     

About this webinar

Having looked first at a sedimentary rock type (the limestone family), and next at a metamorphic rock type (foliated slates and schists), we now come to an igneous rock type and the large family of soils derived from such rocks.  With volcanics, we are looking at the large family of extrusive igneous rocks such as basalt, rhyolite and andesite which were exuded from the earth in lava flows. We will also examine vineyard soils derived from pyroclastic rocks, (those thrown rather than oozed from volcanoes) including tephra, ash, volcanic breccia, pumice and tuff. Why do pyroclastic materials provide such strong signatures in the wines crafted from them, while soils based on extrusive volcanic materials deliver much softer signatures?

About John Szabo MS

Master Sommelier John Szabo was the first Canadian to add the “MS” after his name in 2004, and he holds the WSET Diploma with honors. He’s a principal critic for WineAlign.com, and writes wine columns for MarQuee, Monarch Wine, CellArt.com and Grapevine magazines, as well as contributing frequently to international trade publications like Pix, Meininger’s and Wine & Spirits Magazine. John is co-host of the trade-focused podcast Wine Thieves, curator of the MarQuee and WineAlign Exchange wine clubs, and consultant for Fairmont/Accor hotels in Québec. His last book, Volcanic Wines: Salt, Grit and Power garnered much international acclaim, and he’s currently co-writing on a book on wine chemistry.

About Dr Yiannis Paraskevopoulos

Dr. Yiannis Paraskevopoulos, born in Athens, Greece 1959, studied Agronomy at the University of Thessalonica, Greece.
He did his post-graduate studies in enology at the University of Bordeaux, France, from where he graduated in 1988 with the title of Doctorate (PhD) in Viticulture & Enology.

Dr. Paraskevopoulos, since 1994, teaches at the Department of Enology of the University of West Attica, where he holds a position of Professor of Enology. Since 2018 he is the head of the department.

Additionally from 1989 until 1994 he worked at the “Y. Boutari & Son wine company” as winemaker at their wineries in Santorini and Nemea.

In 1994, together with Mr. Leon Karatsalo & Christina Legaki, founded “GAIA wines S.A.”, which currently owns two wineries, one on the Volcanic  island of Santorini & a second one on the slops of Nemea, in the north east of the Peloponnese.  GAIA also owns 20 hectares of vineyards where Greek wine grape varieties are grown.

Yiannis, also participates in two microbreweries located on the islands of Santorini & Mykonos.

WEBINAR #6: Granite

Monday, January 10th, 2021 at 12:00 noon ET.

     

Dirk Niepoort

Niepoort Vinhos

Dr Pedro Parra

Terroir Consultant

     

About this webinar

In the previous webinar, we looked at vineyard soils derived from key extrusive igneous rocks; in this webinar, we look at vineyard soils derived from key intrusive igneous rocks, notably the granite family.  These rocks are characterised by very slow rates of cooling deep within the earth, resulting in coarsely grained, tightly interfingered minerals with virtually no spaces between them.  In its massive state, granite is almost impenetrable, with little access for vine roots and almost no water-holding capacity. So, what renders it an important vineyard soil?

About Dirk Niepoort

Dirk Niepoort is a unique figure both within his native Portugal and in European wine more generally. 

Although he was born into a long-established port wine family (Niepoort was founded in 1842; he represents the fifth generation of his family to run it), Dirk's approach has been unconventional and free-thinking since the start.  He began his career by travelling widely, meeting and working with many other winemakers in different countries, and tasting voraciously. 

As a winemaker himself, he is self-taught, intuitive and iconoclastic. He has helped push the boundaries for what is possible both in the Douro and in other wine regions, both in Portugal and beyond, notably in Germany and Austria.  His influence has been significant in many fields, and notably in the quest for lightness, delicacy and refreshment in wine despite ever-warmer vineyard conditions, and  on the natural-wine movement.  He designs his own labels and has many interests beyond wine, and is a notable enthusiast for cuisine (he is a passionate cook) and for tea.

About Dr Pedro Parra

Pedro Parra grew up in Concepción, Chile.  His parents were both lawyers, but his grandfather was a film distributor and his grandfather’s cousin, Daniel Emilfork, was (and is still) considered Chile’s most famous film actor.  Pedro loved movies and music as a young man, especially jazz and rock – but nearly got thrown out of school since, as he says, “my body went to school but my head stayed somewhere else”.  Eventually he brought body and mind together for long enough to study Forest Engineering at university; he then went to France to study Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems – which led him, by chance, to work with the man he now called ‘the Lionel Messi of terroir’ – Michel-Claude Girard of the Ecole d’Agriculture de Grignon/AgroParisTech.  Pedro was awarded his PhD in Terroirs Viticoles in 2004.

Since then he has worked around the world as a Terroir Consultant, notably with Louis-Michel Liger-Belair and Jean-Marc Roulot in Burgundy, with viticultural consultant Alberto Antonini, with Sebastian Zuccardi and Antonio Morescalchi in Argentina and with Dani Landi and Fernando Garcia or Comando G in Spain’s Gredos.  In 2020 he published Terroir Footprints, a career memoir and autobiography packed with accounts of his work and his unique and highly individual insights into and theories concerning terroir.

WEBINAR #7: Sandstone and Sand 

Monday, January 24th, 2022 at 12:00 noon ET.


 
     

Cornelius Dönnhoff
Weingut Dönnhoff

 

Baptiste Grangeon
Domaine de Cristia and
Chapelle Ste Théodoric

     

About this webinar

In contrast to the previous four webinars, this discussion principally focuses on a family of weathered materials, as we did in the first webinar about clay.  Sandstone is notionally a rock type, but it is formed from weathered materials (usually grains of sand but on occasion fine rock fragments) in a matrix of clay or silt which is then cemented by calcium carbonate or silica.  There are thus many types of sandstone, from fine-grained to coarse (greywacke), and hard to soft.  Sand grains are often composed of quartz or feldspar (silicates) but many other types of sand exist, including calcareous sands, coral sands and volcanic sands (which are often black).  Sands are celebrated in wine circles since the phylloxera louse cannot survive in pure sands, making ungrafted grapevine cultivation possible. Unfortunately, sand is also very free-draining and may on occasion be very low in organic matter.  Is the most important thing about sand-based vineyard soils the other mineral and organic elements with which they are mixed?

About Cornelius Dönnhoff

Cornelius Dönnhoff bears with him the promise and burden of great expectations. Dönnhoff's world-renowned Rieslings were first carried into the international limelight by his father, but now it is the son assuming an increasing share of the responsibility for the estate in the small town of Oberhausen on the Nahe (pop. 400). "No one knows the Nahe, but everyone knows Dönnhoff," they say in the USA. And with the recent conclusion of his seventh vintage, this 33-year-old, university-trained viticulturalist has every reason to smile. He won three consecutive Feinschmecker Cups for his dry Riesling collection, and in 2012 the simultaneous distinction of both "Estate of the Year" and "Best White Wine Collection" from the renowned Eichelmann wine guide. In 2014 Stuart Pigott named him Winemaker of the Year in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Cornelius acquired his initial winemaking experience at his parents' estate, followed by an apprenticeship at the Dr. Heger wine estate in Ihringen and then university studies in viticultural techniques in Bad Kreuznach. Time abroad in New Zealand and Australia came thereafter. In 2007, he assumed the role of cellarmaster at Dönnhoff and currently runs the estate together with his father.

About Baptiste Grangeon

Baptiste Grangeon, together with his sister Dominique, took over the family domain founded by his grandfather Etienne and father Alain in 1999 after studying oenology, including a period of study in Burgundy.  Domaine Cristia is based in Courthézon and now extends to 60 ha, one-third of this in Châteauneuf itself.  All of its parcels lie in the east of the appellation, in La Cristia and La Roquette, adjacent to the sandy terroirs of Pignan, and are farmed organically, with certification since 2008.  Baptiste Grangeon has also formed a joint venture with US importer Peter Weygandt called Chapelle St Théodoric to produced Châteauneuf on sandy parcels using purchased fruit.

WEBINAR #8: Gravels and Rolled Pebble Terraces 

Monday, February 21th, 2022 at 12:00 noon ET.

 

Stéphane Derenoncourt

Leading Bordeaux and Napa consultant
     
 

Steve Smith MW

Smith & Sheth Wine Company and
Aotearoa New Zealand Fine Wine Estates

 

Louis Barruol

 Owner & winemaker at Château
de Saint Côsme in Gigondas

 
 

About this webinar

This webinar tackles the last major category of vineyard materials: gravels and rolled-pebble terraces.  Like sands and sandstones, these are weathered materials of hugely diverse origin, usually formed either by rivers or by processes associated with glaciation.  As with sands and sandstones, however, it is not so much the stones themselves as the clays and other materials with which they are associated or underlain which govern their quality potential as vineyard ‘soils’.  The chief advantages of gravels and rolled pebbles themselves is physical—the ability to drain freely, and to a lesser extent, to stock heat after sunset. Are there any contrasts or similarities between gravels, pebbles and breccia (angular rock fragments cemented by silica)? Are there any connections between gravels, pebbles and boulder clays or glacial moraines?

About Louis Barruol

Louis Barruol is the descendant of a family of wine growers who have made wine since 1490. After spending his childhood in Gigondas, he graduated in Economy and Agro-economy at Universities of Montpellier and Paris.

He took over the family property Château de Saint Cosme in Gigondas in 1992, aged 23. He then launched a negociant business called « Saint Cosme » in 1997 and began to develop partnerships with other growers all over the Rhone valley, especially the Northern Rhone. In 2011 he created Forge Cellars on Seneca Lake in the Fingers Lakes region of New York State with friend Rick Rainey : they began to plant vineyards, build a cellar, vinify and explore the potential of hundreds of plots. This work continues. 

In 2019, Louis bought the Château de Rouanne in Vinsobres, southern Rhone : an extraordinary 136-acre property located on the best slope of the appellation. He has been President of the Gigondas appellation since 2017.  

Louis is now 52. He played a lot of competition rugby and he plays the cello. He is married to Cherry and they have three children : James, Jenny and Alix.

About Stéphane Derenoncourt

[Full bio coming soon]

About Steve Smith MW

Steve is a graduate of Lincoln University and holds a Master of Wine from the Institute of Masters of Wine in London, being the first viticulturist in the world to hold this title. He was awarded the Sir George Fistonich Medal for outstanding contribution to the New Zealand Wine Industry in 2014 and was named one of the 50 most influential people in the world of wine by Decanter Magazine in 1999. He has spent his entire life since leaving high school in the New Zealand wine industry, firstly as an academic, then in business with Villa Maria, followed by co-founding Craggy Range, and for 16 years leading the business as CEO. More recently he co-founded and is Managing Director of both the Smith & Sheth Wine Company and Aotearoa New Zealand Fine Wine Estates that owns Pyramid Valley and Lowburn Ferry. He has consulted widely within the global wine industry on both viticulture and wider wine business strategy, and lead the creation of the Family of Twelve and the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association, as well as a term as an elected director of New Zealand Winegrowers between 2005 and 2010. Steve is also engaged in the wider agriculture, food and fibre sector and has been an active member in the Te Hono network since its inception in 2012. He was awarded a Prime Ministers Business Scholarship in 2015 to study corporate entrepreneurship, innovation and strategic marketing at Stanford University in California. He had a term as Chancellor of Lincoln University from 2016-2018 and is a ministerial appointment to the NZ Story Group, responsible for furthering New Zealand’s nation brand, the Primary Sector Council, and chairs the independent advisory panel for the Sustainable Future Food and Fibre Fund for the Ministry of Primary Industries.

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