Travel Writers and Terroir

Last week I was invited on a press trip, also known as a familiarization trip or editorial research trip to Healdsburg, Calif. In two and one-half days, I visited six Sonoma County wineries and learned about the area’s winemaking history. I’ll write about traveling to Healdsburg in the May/June issue of Evansville Living, and in this blog over the next few weeks.

I am always interested in the journalists I’ll meet on these trips — more than a few now freelance for the magazine. On this trip, I traveled with journalists from AAA Journeys, Canadian Geographic, PHOENIX Magazine, Tallahassee magazine, Better Home and Gardens, DeSoto magazine, FIDO Friendly magazine, Tampa Bay magazine, and Lake & Sumter Style magazine, in addition to 15 freelance travel journalists on assignment. It’s fun and rewarding to share ideas and story angles.

I was in Healdsburg for only 60 minutes when I heard the word terroir, and would hear it many times, as winemakers described the importance of Sonoma’s world-class terroir, where the Alexander River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Russian River Valley meet.

“Healdsburg is a unique place on the planet,” says Bill Williamson, president and founder of Williamson Wines. “Napa is more singular; here we can grow a great variety of grapes.”

Does Indiana have a unique terroir for grapes?  Certainly, says Jeanette Merritt, marketing director for Indiana Wines. “Indiana soil is very different from north to south, east to west. Where you may find great limestone rich soil in southern Indiana, northern Indiana will have soils that are heavier in clay. That means grapes grown in one part of the state may taste different than grapes grown in other areas. This is beneficial to the consumers so there are many different styles and wines to try from our 73 wineries in Indiana.”

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