French Wine

Displaying items by tag: soil

Wednesday, 30 March 2022 20:19

Five Fabled Vineyard Soils with Alex Maltman


Of all the vineyard soils of the world, a dozen or so have acquired a designation of their own.

Examples are New Zealands Gimblett Gravels (with their astonishing rise to fame), the albarizas of Spains sherry district (made of tiny but crucial architectural marvels), Californias enigmatic Rutherford Dust, the cherished Kimmeridgian of Chablis, and the spectacular terra rossa of Australias Coonawarra. The names probably mean little to most people but to wine enthusiasts they are features to celebrate, prompting images of exceptional places and wines of distinction.

In WSG Live, Alex Maltman will explore the stories and the science behind these five examples of elite vineyard soils, with names that are legendary in the world of wine.

Presenter: Alex Maltman

Alex is Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University, in Wales, U. K. He has a decorated career in university teaching and research together with a long-standing interest in wine: for nearly fifty years Alex has grown vines and made wine at his home in Wales.

Alexs scientific curiosity has always questioned things about wine including, inevitably, the fashionable but poorly understood relationship between wine and vineyard geology. This has led to publications in both the popular press and academic journals, and to various international lectures.

Alex has contributed to a number of wine books, such as the Oxford Companion to Wine and the World Atlas of Wine, and is the author of the acclaimed Vineyards, Rocks, and Soils: A Wine Lovers Guide to Geology (Oxford University Press 2018)

Published in Miscellaneous


In order to understand better the specificities that led not only to the present-day landscape but also to the soil and subsoil nature and diversity of the French vineyard, a travel in the past times is necessary.

In order to understand all the key events that occurred during the hundreds of million years of geological history. Being aware that a lagoon, a tidal-influenced shoreline, a broad river, a collision between two tectonic plates, the occurrence of a tropical climate… or ice ages led to a better comprehension of the identity of each French wine growing region.

Presenter: Françoise Vannier

After studying both at university and the French Insitute of Petroleum (IFP, -École Nationale Supérieure du Pétrole et des Moteurs-), I worked for an oil company until 2000, when my family moved to Burgundy. In this renowned wine country, I decided to transfer my geological skills to the study of “terroir”. I successfully completed a one-year diploma in Wine-tasting and Terroir at the University of Burgundy, (Dijon, France), and I now work as a consultant. My new career as a consultant began in 2003, and since March 2015, with Adama, a little company dedicated to vineyard terroirs. Since 2019, I also work for Terroir Invest, a society dedicated to the sale of vineyard estates.

I performed numerous studies along both Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune, for the renewing vineyard of Dijon, and for Marsannay, Fixin, Gevrey-Chambertin, Morey-Saint-Denis, Chambolle-Musigny, Pommard, Santenay, Les Maranges, further south for Lugny (Mâconais), or for Coulanges-la-Vineuse to the North (Yonne), but also elsewhere in France, especially with a starting project in the Val de Loire (Sancerre). I have also produced several preliminary technical reports to reclassify certain plots at a higher appellation level (communal for Lugny, 14 premiers crus for Marsannay, and a grand cru for Les Saint-Georges and other AOP). I also work for foreign estates (Chile, Japan, USA -California-, Italy...) in order to characterize the soil and the subsoil, and for terroir expertise.

Sharing my scientific experience, my expertise and my knowledge of the Burgundy vineyard either in French or in English, with students (the University of Burgundy, Burgundy School of Business, Lycée Viticole de Beaune, ISARA…) winegrowers, people working in and around wine, and for wine-lovers (e.g. the “Master class” of Allen Meadows, the “Masters of Wine”, the “Académie du Vin” of Tokyo and Paris, Jasper Morris MW (Berry Bros and Rudd) and for Anthony Hanson (Christie's in London) la Paulée de New York (Daniel Johnes) and so many others…) is a key goal in my work, which has become more of a vocation than a profession. Burgundy needs ambassadors to promote a scientifically grounded in-depth knowledge of terroir. I have given many presentations and organised field trips both in French and in English for the scientific community (International Terroir Congress, 2012), wine professionals, tourists and wine-lover associations. 

I have contributed to the geological chapters in Remington Norman’s (UK) book “Grand Cru”, to several articles in “Le Rouge & le Blanc”, “La Revue des Vins de France”, “le Magazine” of Ficofi; I am now an in-house expert for terroir geology in “Bourgogne Aujourd’hui”. I drew the cross-section geological maps in “The wines of Burgundy” by Sylvain Pitiot and Jean-Charles Servant, and I have done some posters for the Saint-Vincent in Saint-Aubin (January 2014). Most of my works are available through the educative website I provide information for CDs or websites for numerous estates, highlighting the characteristics of the terroir, and booklets for some appellations of both Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune. I was the subject of a four-page interview paper in the January 2014 issue of Decanter magazine.

Published in French Wine
Friday, 10 September 2021 09:26

The Myths of Terroir with Dr. Kevin R. Pogue


Terroir has often been defined as an untranslatable French concept with somewhat mystical attributes.

Some wine experts view terroir as an over-hyped myth, while others consider it to be primarily responsible for the unique sensory characteristics and distinctiveness of wines.

This webinar will explore how the concept of terroir has evolved over time, and how it is currently defined.

Examples of the misuse of the term for marketing will be highlighted as well as the scientific validation of terroir.

Presenter: Dr Kevin R. Pogue

Dr Kevin R. Pogue has been a professor in the Department of Geology at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington for over 30 years.

Dr Pogue’s research is primarily focused on variations in growing conditions related to vineyard topography, climate, and soil chemistry.

He has presented papers at national and international terroir conferences and his research has been featured in the New York Times and on National Public Radio's "Science Friday". 

He has authored five petitions for federally-sanctioned American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) and was honored with the Walter Clore award by the Washington State Wine Commission for his “significant dedication to the advancement of the Washington wine industry as an ambassador, mentor, and champion of Washington wines.” 

Dr Pogue provides vineyard site evaluations, AVA petitions, terroir-related web content, and promotional and educational materials through VinTerra, his consulting business.

You can find him online here:

Published in Viticulture


What is the relationship between soil properties and wine characteristics – cause and effect or cause of confusion? There is a broad divide separating scientists from traditional winegrowers. The vital facts concerning soil structure and chemistry are identified and compared to intuitive claims by vignerons. The seminar explores issues such as permeability and aeration and the critical question of water availability to the vine. Key elements including potassium, nitrogen and calcium are discussed. Last, the seminar outlines the widely differing soil types in global wine regions. In sum, this session has universal relevance to the study of wine and should not be missed by any serious student or educator.

Presenter: Roger Bohmrich MW

In 1993, Roger became one of the first Americans to pass the Master of Wine (“MW”) examination administered by the Institute of Masters of Wine in London. For ten years he dedicated himself to the MW cause, first as Education Coordinator of the North American educational program, then as Chairman of the No. American Advisory Board, leading the formation of the non-profit Institute of Masters of Wine (No. America), where he served three terms as its first President.

Roger has worked for two national importers, last as Senior Vice President-Marketing for Frederick Wildman & Sons, New York, where he directed a team in brand management, advertising, and public relations. He acted as buyer and liaison with wineries in a dozen countries, and also developed training and education for the firm’s staff and wholesale clients.

More recently, he set up the U.S. affiliate of Millesima, S.A., Europe’s leader in direct sales of fine wines to consumers via mail order and the internet. At present, he is an independent educator, speaker and consultant. Visit Roger’s website:

His articles and writing have appeared in Wine Business Monthly, Santé Magazine for restaurant professionals, and The Business of Wine – An Encyclopedia. Roger also provides the “Wine Q&A” replies to questions posted on

Roger has an intimate association with Rhône Valley wines, travelling regularly to the region to taste the new vintage and visit vineyards and cellars. He brings this expertise and his MW background to the Rhône Master-Level program.

Learn more about wines with the Wine Scholar Guild’s study & certification program and sign up for our Wine Study Trips.

Published in Viticulture

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