SAFN member Mark Anthony Arceno will be contributing a food and agriculture perspective to this fascinating topic! It is scheduled for 10:15am-noon on Saturday, November 17 in the San Jose Convention Center (Executive Ballroom 210 F). His presentation will be at 10:45am.
“Variability and Change: Terroir and the Place of Climate Among Ohio Winegrowers”
This paper examines the question of what happens to terroir and the identities of winegrowers and the plants in their care as a dominant global discourse maintains a rhetoric of climate change. Defined anthropologically, terroir is the confluence of climate, soil, and overall environment, as well as the local know-how and training of people to produce spatially-located foodstuffs with distinctive nuances in both quality and taste. Importantly, this work positions climate as not necessarily changing but rather as seemingly always being variable. While relatively few winegrowers have been growing grapes and making wine in Ohio for a few decades (i.e., long enough to speak in terms of climate change), many more are relatively new to the artisanal and industrial wine landscape (i.e., within the timeframe of climate variability). And though they are not outright deniers of climate change per se, the Ohio winegrowers of this paper do recognize “off” or troublesome years and tend to maintain records in an otherwise “scientific” fashion. Drawing on sensory ethnography, walking and semi-directed interviews, and participant observations in vineyards, wine cellars, and tasting rooms, this paper argues that the taste of place does not change in local ecological contexts, but that the processes and narratives regarding their production do. In so doing, this work problematizes how winegrowers make sense of the decisions they have to make in order to manufacture the “taste of place.”