Terroir is generally defined as “a set of material and intangible elements that bear witness to the specific relations that a human community has established over the passage of time with a territory”.
Firstly, the terroir is based on a physical dimension associated with local specificities (geology, topography and climate). But over and above this, the terroir is a “cultural ecosystem” incorporating biological balances and human factors. A sustainable vision of the terroir presupposes, on the one hand, the conservation and enhancement of its natural potentials, and on the other, the transmission to future generations of a heritage that provides for the economic valorization of farms and territories.
Definition international organisation of vine and wine of vitivinicultural “terroir” (viti 333/2010) : vitivinicultural “terroir” is a concept which refers to an area in which collective knowledgeof the interactions between the identifiable physical and biological environment andapplied vitivinicultural practices develops, providing distinctive characteristics for theproducts originating from this area.
“terroir” includes specific soil, topography, climate, landscape characteristics and Biodiversity features.
As well as taking into account potential impacts (soils, aquatic environments, biodiversity), sustainability must also incorporate externalities related to the territory (tourist attractiveness, fire prevention, local activity). Vineyards on steep slopes and terraces testify to viticulture’s heritage contribution and to the subtle harmony that man has achieved with nature.
The sustainable management of terroirs must draw on the relevant information to evaluate the potential impact of viticultural practices. The complexity and interactions of the phenomena related to a territory call for the use of synthetic data in the form of indicators, bearing witness to the overall state of the biotope and helping to guide the strategies of players and decision-makers.