Terroir and GIS

What is terroir?
"Terroir" is a French term which means -All that is to do with wine- That is all those elements that go together to make a wine what it is; geographic elements such as climate and landscape geology etc but also other factors such as cultivation techniques and the controls on origin and labelling.

What is GIS (geographic information system)?
Geographic information system refers to a system of intelligent mapping which allows the user to access data, carry out analysis or modify information.

What relation has “terroir” to GIS?
GIS is a powerful instrument in providing accurate terroir information because it helps experts in the elaboration of data and their research. From a digital elevation model (a grid which covers the known territory) and from which one can deduce:

  • altimetry map, to vertically define the zone for the production of particular varieties of wine;
  • aspect map, to define the areas which to a greater or lesser extent are influenced by such factors as sunshine or the sea;
  • slope map, to understand the difficulties in cultivating the terrain but also their capacity to retain rainfall;
  • solar radiation map: to determine on the basis of DEM and information relative to latitude and season, the quantity of radiating energy that affects the areas.

Superimposing information and maps is possible, for example, looking for information on morainic hills between 100 and 300 metres, exposed to the south, with a low terrain slope, with deep topsoil, with daily temperature excursion greather than 15° average rainfall less than 50 mm, and so on. Then determine the areas within the field of research of a particular grapevine, or the production of a particular wine.

WebGIS technology allows one to visualize and distribute the results of the analysis, enabling it to be easily accessed by researchers, professionals, workers within the sector and wine-lovers. This free availability of information represents a stimulus to the growth of the culture and promotion of Italian wines.

WebGIS is an fundamental instrument in deciding marketing strategies for an area, starting from the possibility of superimposing information relative to the location of producers, consortium, wine producing areas, awards and other wine related information onto technical maps.