Terroir is a French term that doesn’t really have good translations. It was developed as a way to describe how different wines made of the same grapes, even in the same region, could have different characters. Part of this of course is the winemaker’s taste and techniques. But terroir acknowledges that every farm is different, with a unique set of soils, microclimates, and vines that have their own history different from the next vineyard’s.
Recognizing that landscape, traditions, and culture are interrelated, the concept of terroir has been expanded to include human dimensions of place while it also is increasingly applied beyond wine to elevate the unique characteristics of other products.
Recently my friend Wendy Neale applied this concept to describe how I travel: “you bring your terroir with you!” This has become increasingly important as I’ve spent nearly two years on the move. Important to me are my soft sateen sheets, feather pillow, favorite coffee cup, beautiful wine glasses (travel-proof polycarbonate), chef’s knife, fork and spoon, and pillar candles…
This enables me to make home wherever I am. A candle and a nice wine glass can make a hotel room feel like mine.