Our land, Our Terroir

Our land, Our Terroir

The term Terroir, in a nutshell; the characteristic taste and flavour imparted to a wine by the environment in which it is produced. So…. there are several factors that contribute to defining “terroir”, the main ones being climate, topography, and soil. Soil is a major contributing factor in establishing notable characteristics of a wine, so please read on and learn a little about our soil.

The agricultural roots of this entire area and our property date back to the mid to late 1800’s. The Bedard family built there homestead here and farmed the land for many years.  Huron County is considered to have some of the best and most productive farmland in all of Canada.  This is referencing more traditional crops such as corn, beans, and wheat.

 

Our farm sits on a combination of silt/clay loam soil. This is relatively heavy soil, and so natural drainage of water through the soil is limited. Prior to planting our vineyard, we installed drainage tiles in a specific number of rows to help move the water. As they say “grapes do not like wet feet”. The systematic approach to tiling our vineyard ensures that there is still sufficient moisture in the soil to feed the roots, but the water also continues to move down through the soil, forcing the roots to follow. Long term we will have much healthier and resilient plants with their roots going down 40-50 cm into the soil…especially during dry periods.

As a brief overview, our soil would be classified as “sedimentary”.  This means the soil is mostly compromised of solidified minerals and organic deposits from the earth, often left behind by bodies of water.  In our case this would have happened during the formation of the Great Lakes.  The texture of our soil is classified as a combination of silt, clay & loam.  Loam is a combination of silt, sand, and clay, but throughout our vineyard we have found individual layers of these substrates.   

 

Roots finding their way this far down through the soil begins to reveal the story about our “terroir”. In fact, the real story starts about 20-30cm below the surface. While this subterranean network of roots, meanders its way through multiple sublayers of soil, it takes up specific mineral based characteristics from all of these striations.  These will eventually all become defining characteristics of the wine and help us in defining our terroir.

We are now starting the conversation about our terroir. We have started harvesting consistently for the past 2 years, and 2020 was the first year that we have gathered fruit from our entire vineyard.  So, I would expect it will take another 3-4 vintages until we can confidently describe our terroir. These are truly exciting times as we strive to gain a better understanding of our soil characteristics that will ultimately help in shaping and defining the wines from this region.

 

Prost and Cheers!

 

Frank

Chef and Cellar Hand

Schatz Winery

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