Wine is a traditional product with traditional explanations. Oft-romanticized, Old World notions of how to create fine wine have been passed down through generations and continue to dominate popular discussions of wine quality. However, many of these beliefs predate science and remain isolated from advances in the understanding of how crops grow and fruit ripens. Allegiance to them has frequently impeded open-minded investigation into how grapevines interact with the environment, thus limiting innovation in winegrowing.
In Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing, Mark A. Matthews applies a scientist’s skepticism and scrutiny to examine widely held beliefs about viticulture. Is terroir primarily a marketing ploy that obscures understanding of which environments really produce the best wine? Is reducing yield an imperative for high quality grapes and wine? What does it mean to have vines that are balanced or grapes that are physiologically mature? Matthews explores and dissects these and other questions to debunk the myths of winegrowing that may be holding us back from achieving a higher wine quality.
"Get ready to have some sacred cows of the wine trade –terroir, anyone?– toppled."
—Wine School of Philadelphia, Wine Gift Guide for 2015
"A must-read for any wine grape grower or winemaker who has ever wrestled with the most important myths of winegrowing or debated them with colleagues—and that would be all of us! It is also a great read for any wine consumer interested in looking at 'the man behind the curtain,' so to speak: the myths promoted by wine writers, tasting room staff, sommeliers and other wine gatekeepers."—Wines & Vines
"Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing is a myth-busting book. Matthews shows that our knowledge about wine and winegrowing consists of myths without any scientific basis. It is a very well-researched book. Matthews’ scholarship is unmatched."—The Washington Book Review
"I came away from reading Matthews’ essay on terroir more thoroughly convinced than ever that the idea of 'terroir' is likely the most abused and often most useless word in the world of wine. . . . 'Terroir and Other Myths of Winegrowing' is a book that is well worth reading, particularly by those who work in the wine industry either in the vineyard, in the cellar or in marketing."—Tom Wark Fermentation:The Daily Wine Blog
"A meticulously researched volume that every serious sommelier should read . . . if only to disagree."—The Somm Journal
“Mark Matthews’ quest to uncover the truth about our cherished beliefs about wine is provoking, stimulating, and full of fresh insights—read it and rethink your terroir!”—Markus Keller, author of The Science of Grapevines
“Matthews’ book flays, or in some instances eviscerates, common tenets of today’s viticulture and enology. This book should be required reading for all students of vine and wine, whether researcher, producer, or pundit.”—Sara E. Spayd, Professor/Extension Viticulturist at North Carolina State University