Precision viticulture: attaining the purest natural expression
Because producing a great wine starts in the vineyards, discover how we select and work with ours.
There is one conviction that we all share here at the winery, which drives our efforts: a good wine comes from a good grape.
Our quest for excellence begins with viticulture. Like an architect at his drawing board, we compose using the amazing natural resources of our land to obtain the kind of harmony for each variety which allows it to achieve its maximum expression.
This means that we spent years deciphering every parcel’s uniqueness, its soil and the impact of altitude on its climate… to achieve a pioneering ambition: not to think in terms of a single terroir but as many terroirs as there are rows of vines.
Now let us tell you more about how precision viticulture works.
But first things first, here is why terroir matters so much for us
Simply put, terroir is how the environment affects the taste of wine.
It is about 3 main elements for the vineyardist to work with:
- The soil (the earth’s surface) and its geological composition.
- The climate, whether or not it is hot (it is in our case), the temperature variations, the rainfall, etc.
- The terrain, which includes factors such as altitude, flora, water availability, etc.
These are the major elements that determine a good vineyard and, as its end result, great wine. Therefore, as in any great terroirs of the world, knowing and understanding the terroir - in all its variability - is critical to adapting and improving viticultural practices specifically for each of them.
Ultimately, a terroir-centered approach enables us to influence the grape quality: ripeness, aroma… to produce the most precise and tasteful wines.
On top of the terroir definition, there is one element in Terrazas de los Andes on which we have built our viticultural specificity: the altitude of the vineyards.
Our vineyards are all located in the foothills of the Andes, making Terrazas de los Andes the highest estate in the Mendoza region. Their altitude varies between 980m (3,214 ft.) and 1,620m (5,315 ft.).
In our latitude, the climate is generally mild and the amazingly high sunshine hours enable the vines to thrive. Besides the prodigious panorama that high-altitude vineyards offer, the main benefit from this lofty location comes from the cold nights, slowing the grapes’ ripening process and keeping their acidity balanced.
Moreover, at altitude, the temperature drops by 1 degree Celsius (34°F) for every 100 meters (328 ft.) higher up the slopes. Choosing the optimal elevation for each variety is our way of precisely monitoring the influence of climate on the quality of the grapes.
On top of climate and freshness, altitude in the Andes plays a crucial part in the definition of soil composition. The arid and rocky soil found here offers a low level of organic elements, forcing the vines’ roots to descend ever deeper in search of nutrients and hydration, so contributing to the intensity of the berries’ flavor.
Understanding all of our “micro-terroirs”
Mapping each block and sub-block of our vineyards and their slightest variations is critical to our capacity to adapt our viticulture practices proactively.
For instance, modern science has enabled us to measure precisely, row after row, every soil variation and fertility fluctuation, using “electro-conductivity” equipment.
As a result, we can tend to each micro-terroir and each vine in the most appropriate way instead of averaging them all out. This balance between each vine and its natural conditions allows us to start the harvest at the most optimal moment and ensure that the grapes in each of our wines attain their utmost expression.