From Vines to Wines: The Terroir of Lincoln’s Wineries

Terroir is an important term in the world of wine. Understanding its definition and nuances will help you appreciate the wine you drink and the regions your wine comes from. Let’s step into the fascinating world of terroir and how it’s unique here in Lincoln.

What is terroir?

Terroir is a French term that refers to a sense of place. Wine is a unique beverage whose flavors and character can be traced back to the plot of land where the vines grow.

Terroir encompasses all of the environmental factors at play during the year it takes for grapes to ripen on the vine—climate, weather events, soil type, sun exposure, topography, and geography all make up terroir. All of these elements vary from region to region, and as you’ll see, even the slightest change can influence the wine.

Exploring Lincoln’s terroir

The wineries in Lincoln are located along the western stretch of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Vineyards are planted at varying elevations on slopes, hillsides, and river valleys. The elevation of the mountains offers something essential to the grapevines: temperature swings from day and night. During the day, the warm sun ripens the grapes. At night, the cool mountain air helps them retain their acidity and slow ripening, ensuring they can hang on the vine all season long.

The soils of Lincoln are well-draining and are made of decomposed granite and limestone, and some areas have crushed volcanic rock. Well-draining soils are very important in viticulture. As water drains deeper into the earth, the vines’ roots have no choice but to chase it down in search of sustenance. This causes them to grow strong and that translates to high-quality wines for years to come.

Visit a winery in Lincoln to taste terroir for yourself

Lincoln is made up of tons of microclimates and you’ll find that each winery in Lincoln has its own terroir as well. For example, one vineyard may be planted to a hill facing south, while another vineyard of the same grape is lower on a hill facing southeast, with slightly different soil. This will make their wines taste different from each other, even if they’re made from the same grape!

How to taste terroir

Our wines here at Wise Villa Winery are greatly influenced by an inversion layer in the vineyards which causes warmer winter temperatures and cooler summer temperatures This balancing weather pattern also provides balance to the Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Franc vines—imparting rich flavors while keeping acidity levels high and alcohol levels low.

Just up the road from us is Rancho Roble Vineyards, working with similar varietals on slightly different land. Their vineyard is surrounded by oak trees, which provide shade to the grapevines and preserve the soil beneath them. Having the oaks nearby helps steady the vines in the ground and offers a little “healthy competition” that causes the vines’ roots to grow stronger. This influences the quality of the wines.

Every winery has its own geographical story that makes up its terroir. It’s a fascinating way to explore a wine region and get a real understanding of just how important a sense of place is to a wine.

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