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CHAPTER 4

Introduction to viticulture

To obtain a sublime wine, an environment is needed that provides succulent, quality grapes with the necessary characteristics to produce the type of wine desired. To achieve this, viticulture (from the Latin vitis -vine, and cultura -cultivation) employs its know-how and dedication in the care of the vine. This knowledge -empirical rather than scientific- has been passed down from generation to generation.

However, viticulture does not turn its back on scientific advances, nor on technological developments. All approaches to the field are equally valid, they coexist in harmony and, as such, are collected in this chapter. We consider conventional or organic, sustainable, biodynamic approaches to viticulture. On what values are they based? What ideologies do they reflect? What are their strengths? And their weaknesses? What results do each of them offer?

The chapter ends with the expert perspective of Pedro Ballesteros MW (Master of Wine), who gives his view on one of the most heavily debated topics in the world of wine: the concept of terroir. A vision that is as revealing and up-to-date as it is loaded with logic about the different terroirs and how they influence the final perception of the wine.

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