lunes, 9 de marzo de 2015

Vocabulary (Spanish - English ): Climate, Soil and Topography in Viticulture


Terruño is the spanish term employed in viticulture to designate the set of special characteristics that the geography, geology and climate of a certain place, interacting with the plant genetics, express in agricultural products such as wine.

In english terruño can be very loosely translated as "a sense of place," which is embodied in certain characteristic qualities, the sum of the effects that the local environment has had on the production of the wine.

At its core is the assumption that the land from which the grapes are grown imparts a unique quality that is specific to that growing site.

- CLIMATE: The climate is the factor that exerts the greatest influence in the development of the vine. This plant demands a great deal of heat and is quite sensitive. To be able to grow Vitis Vinifera, it is considered that average yearly temperatures should not be below 9 °C, with optimal figures of between 11° and 18 °C.

Temperatures exert a decisive influence on berry ripening and on wine composition. The tendency to produce wines with high alcohol contents and low acidity when temperatures rise is well known (greater drying out of soil, earlier growth stop, advanced ripening processes, etc.) while low temperatures produce wines with low alcohol contents and greater acidity. Temperature also has an effect on the grapes’ aromatic and polyphenolic contents, which affect wine quality significantly. There is another important concept: Temperature contrast (jump) between day and night temperatures. If there are high temperatures during the day and low temperatures at night during the ripening stage, the accumulation of anthocyanins, tannins and aromatic compounds is greatly benefited. This is because high, although not excessive, temperatures stimulate metabolic reactions, while low temperatures slow down the migration of the compounds that have been formed.


- A mediados de: Mid-
- Aguacero: Downpour
- Aguanieve: Wet snow
- Aridez: Aridity
- Arido: Arid
- Bochornoso (Pegajoso): Sticky
- Calor: Heat
- Caluroso: Hot
- Clima: Climate
- Cubierto: Overcast
- Chuvasco: Shower
- Deshielo: Thawn
- Duro, de condiciones dificiles: Hard
- Escarcha: Hoar
- Finales de: Late
- Fresco: Cool
- Granizo: Hail
- Helada: Frost
- Horas de sol (duración): Sunshine
- Humedad: Dampness
- Humedad: Humidity
- Humedo: Damp
- Humedo: Sumid
- Insolación: Sunlight
- Indundación: Flood
- Invierno: Winter
- Lluvia: Rain
- Lluvioso: Rainy
- Lluvioso: Wet
- Mesoclima: Mesoclimate
- Microclima: Microclimate
- Nevada: Snowfall
- Nieve: Snow
- Nube: Cloud
- Otoño: Autumn
- Otoño (US): Fall
- Parcialmente nublado: Partly Cloudy
- Pedrisco: Hailstone
- Precipitaciones: Rainfall
- Primavera: Spring
- Principio de: Early
- Racha de calor: Hot spell
- Racha de tiempo soleado: Sunny spell
- Rocio: Dew
- Sequia: Drought
- Sol: Sun
- Soleado: Sunny
- Suave: Mild
- Templado: Balmy
- Tiempo (Atmosférico): Weather
- Tormenta de granizo: Hailstorm
- Verano: Summer
- Viento: Wind

- SOILS: Although vines readily adapt to numerous soil types, the suitability of soils for viticulture is defined by their geological origin.

The soil’s depth is the first determining factor of the grapevine’s development potential, because it will determine the volume of soil occupied by the roots and, therefore, the amount of available water and nutrients. Deep soils with appropriate water availability and fertilising elements are suitable for large productions, while poor, shallow soils, with small water reserves do not allow the vines to develop fully, resulting in smaller production but of better quality.

The soil’s texture conditions the development of the root system, and therefore its capacity to absorb water and nutrients, affecting production quantity and quality. Grading distinguishes between coarse elements (gravel) larger than 2 mm and fine elements, which are in turn divided into sands (2-0.02 mm), silts (0.02-0.002 mm) and clays (less than 0.002 mm).

The proportion of these components results in different soil types:

a) Sandy soils
. Silt and clay content less than 20%. Loose soils, not very cohesive, with low water and nutrient retention, prone to drying out, easy for the root system to penetrate and easy to till. Organic matter decomposes easily and is readily absorbed. These are hot soils that advance ripening.

b) Clay soils. Clay content above 50%. Strong, adhesive soils that pack easily, forming hard masses with great water and nutrient retention. They are easily waterlogged, difficult for the root system to penetrate and difficult to till. These are cold soils that delay ripening and provide abundant production.

c) Loam soils. Fine element content between the two described above, with physical and chemical characteristics that are also between sandy and clay soils.

d) Stony soils: Predominating coarse elements. Their fertility depends on the proportion of fine elements. The large stones provide coolness and those on the surface irradiate light and heat toward the underside of the clusters during the day, resulting in early ripening.

The soil’s chemical composition also has a significant effect. Deficits lead to insufficient development of the plant, while excesses can become toxic. Part of the soil content can be compensated with fertilisers and amendments.


- Aluvion: Alluvium (A fine-grained fertile soil consisting of mud, silt and sand deposited by flowing water on flooded plains, in river beds and in estuaries).
- Arcilla: Clay
- Arcilloso: Clayey
- Arcilloso-calcareo: Argilo-calcaire (Mixture of clay and limestone).
- Arena: Sand
- Arenisca: Sandstone
- Arenoso: Sandy
- Caliza: Chalk (Soft, crumbly, highly porous (35%- 40%) type of pure limestone. Excellent drainage. Subsoil: substancial water-storing capacity.).
- Caliza: Limestone (Differs from chalk because limestone is hard, but chalk is porous and easily penetrable by roots).
- Calizo: Calcareous (Chalky, French for limestone).
- Calizo: Chalky
- De Granito: Granitic
- De Grava: Gravely
- Esquisto: Shale
- Franco: Loamy
- Granito: Granite
- Grava: Gravel
- Limo: Silt
- Marga: Marl (Rich soil consisting of a mixture of sand, clay and decaying organic material).
- Magroso: Marly
- Pizarra: Slate

- TOPOGRAPHY: Within the same wine region, the concept of climate can be greatly influenced by conditioning aspects such as altitude, slopes, valley depths, proximity of water masses or wooded areas, winds, etc. The way general climatic characteristics are modified by the local terrain is what defines the mesoclimate or local climate.


- Altitud: Altitude
- Caída: Drop
- Colina: Hill
- Con colinas: Hilly
- Cordillera: Great mountain ranges
- Empinado: Steep
- Estribaciones: Foothills
- Exposición: Exposure
- Ladera-colina: Hillside
- Ladera-montaña: Slopes
- Llano: Flat
- Llanura: Flatland
- Meseta: Plateau
- Montaña: Mountain
- Montañoso: Mountanous
- Nivel del mar: Sea Leves (Above sea level)
- Orillas de un Río: Banks (of a river)
- Paisaje: Landscape
- Plano: Flat
- Relieve: Relief
- Sistemas Montañosos: Mountain Ranges
- Subida, elevación: Rise
- Terraza: Terrace
- Valle: Valley

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