Digging into Terroir: The Importance of Soil Health
Published August 13th, 2021 on Kind of Wild
There is a popular saying among winemakers that goes: ‘great wine starts in the vineyard.’ This is because the world of wine is centered around the concept of terroir. Terroir is how a particular region’s climate, soils, and terrain affect the taste of wine. No two winemaking regions are the same. There can be a myriad of differences between two vineyards that are right next to each other!
Terroir also takes into consideration the impact of the human hand. Winemakers influence the wine in different ways. This includes vine training, irrigation practices, canopy management, and pest control. The role of the winemaker is similar to a chef when provided with ingredients: the result depends on the skill. At Kind of Wild wines, we believe the secret to achieving the optimal result is to respect Mother Nature’s gifts and not mess with them unnecessarily. For us, this all starts at the source: the soil.
Better Fruit for Better Wine
Kind of Wild founders Adam and Jordan Sager reach for organic produce and other natural foods when providing for their families. It has become an ingrained lifestyle choice for the brothers:
“For years, we have bought organic foods. Yet, we noticed that consumers don’t always do the same with their wines. There’s no reason why a consumer can’t have access to a wide selection of certified organic wines from premium wine regions, so we decided to make it possible,” explains Adam. It was a natural transition to bring their passion for all things organic into the winemaking philosophy: “Our name is Kind of Wild, and we want our brand to be a contributor in helping to restore the planet. We believe healthy soils are a major factor in accomplishing this. Healthy soils produce a healthier plant, a healthier plant produces better fruit, and better fruit produces better wine. It’s a win-win!” adds Jordan.
This is why Kind of Wild has committed to exclusively using organically grown grapes to produce our high-quality wines. Our philosophy is that how we farm our soils can have an impact on climate change. Organic soils that are healthy and full of microorganisms are proven to combat climate change because they regenerate legacy carbons from above. This theory was recently highlighted in a full-length documentary called ‘Kiss the Ground.’
How is Soil Health a Solution for the Climate Crisis?
Narrated by Woody Harrelson, the documentary sheds light on a “new, old approach” to farming called “regenerative agriculture” . According to Kiss the Ground Development Director Agatha Hannah, soil health can be a solution for the climate crisis because: “When soil health is optimized for increased soil biology and improved soil structure, mineralization, nutrient supply, moisture, and temperature, the resulting healthy soil functions to its maximum capacity. This, in turn, enhances the soil’s capacity to express a vineyard’s terroir fully.”
For centuries, farming has been an inherently exploitative process. Processes such as tilling (a type of drainage system that removes excess water from soil below its surface) and pesticides have led to soil erosion. As a result, this has damaged our ecology, health, and climate. The documentary proposes a solution called ‘regenerative agriculture.’ This is an ethical practice that encourages one to put back into the soil what you take out through farming practices. Regenerative agriculture aims to capture carbon in soil and aboveground biomass, reversing current global trends of atmospheric accumulation. At the same time, it offers increased yields, resilience to climate instability, and higher health and vitality for farming and ranching communities.
According to Agatha, healthy soils are a real solution for climate change: “Healthy soils increase biodiversity above and below the soil surface while increasing both water holding capacity and sequestering carbon at greater depths, thus drawing down climate-damaging levels of atmospheric CO2, and improving soil structure to reverse civilization-threatening human-caused soil loss.”
The documentary, which is currently screening on Netflix, highlights the differences in traditional and regenerative agricultural farming results. In one scene, a regenerative rancher in North Dakota stands on the boundary between his lush acreage and his neighbor’s arid farmland. The message is clear: there is hope, but the change starts with us.
Kiss the Ground & Get Kind of Wild!
Kiss the Ground was founded in 2013, but 2020 was a watershed year for both organizations as Kind of Wild was founded and Kiss the Ground’s documentary movie was released.
Kiss the Ground is a nonprofit organization that has since become a Kind of Wild wines environmental partner. When Kind of Wild launched in April 2021, it was a first for the US wine market. The brand offers customers a global collection of certified organic and vegan wine discoveries delivered directly to your doorstep to support winemakers that farm healthy soils. Kind of Wild’s dedication to sustainable farming extends to all elements of the brand. All our wines are made with grapes grown on certified organic vineyards and are certified vegan (produced without animal products for fining). They are low in sulfur, and all growers are encouraged to incorporate regenerative farming practices in their organic vineyards to benefit soil health. In addition, Kind of Wild has committed to donating at least 1% of its revenue to partner environmental foundations such as Kiss The Ground + Organic Farming Research Foundation that promote and provide support for organic and regenerative farming.
If the concept of terroir is anything to go by, then besides a particular region’s climate, soils, and aspect, it’s the impact of the human hand that truly affects the taste of wine. It is an undeniable symbiotic relationship. At Kind of Wild wines, we believe terroir can be quite fragile, and poor viticultural and winemaking practices can negatively interfere and ultimately obscure the terroir expression. As we are determined to produce the highest quality wines, we view it as our role to work in collaboration with nature to rewild it – one glass at a time.
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