A Model for Selecting Viticultural Sites in the Piedmont Triad Region of North Carolina

A Model for Selecting Viticultural Sites in the Piedmont Triad Region of North Carolina

John Walter Nowlin (The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA) and Rick L. Bunch (The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 33
DOI: 10.4018/IJAGR.2016070102
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The North Carolina wine industry is growing at a fast pace. Many new vineyards are being planted with European varieties. Vitis vinifera varieties in general are the most challenging species of grape grown, requiring considerable effort to consistently produce yields of appropriate volume and good quality. The model produced in this research was designed to help guide site selection for V. vinifera vineyards in the North Carolina Piedmont. This is accomplished using a site suitability model and predictive geophysical parameters. The area of interest is Rockingham County, North Carolina. The model consists of four sets of factors each weighted and combined into sub-model composites. These sub-model composites represent the capability/suitability of: topography, soil, land use/land cover, and climate. The four sub-model composites were weighted and combined to produce the final output that summarizes the viticultural site suitability for the study area.
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The Literature: Regional Background And Gis Modeling Of Viticultural Site Suitability

The Concept of Terroir

Regionality is a fundamental concept in the geography of wine. An important term associated with wine and the concept of regionality is terroir. The term terroir comes from the French word for “earth” or “soil”. It is a viticultural concept that summarizes the set of variables associated with a certain place that, together, impart a local character to its wine. These variables embody both cultural and physical characteristics.

The cultural aspects of terroir relate to the practices of the viticulturist in the vineyard and the winemaker in the winery. Both affect the regional character of a wine and represent the cultural side of terroir. The physical elements of terroir such as climate, geology, soil, land cover, and topography differ from place to place. The complex interactions of physical elements produce unique environments capable of supporting viticulture. The model presented in this research focuses on the physical elements of terroir (Blij, 1983; Cox, 1999; Johnson & Robinson, 2007; Poling, E. B. (Ed.). 2007; Sommers, 2008; Van Leeuwen & Seguin, 2006; Vaudour, 2002; White, 2009; Wolf, 1995).

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