Digital Terroirs for the Hunter Wine Country Private Irrigation District


Terroir is a commonly used concept in France and other European countries for the designation of quality wines. This concept has not been widely developed or accepted in Australia. The work will attempt to define terroirs numerically for the lower Hunter valley, based on soil, geological and terrain data as well as information on grape and wine quality.


Professor Alex McBratney, Dr Budiman Minasny

Research Location

Sydney Institute of Agriculture - Australian Technology Park

Program Type



The concept of terroir is at the base of the French wine Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) system that has been the model for appellation and wine laws across the globe. At its core is the assumption that the land from which the grapes are grown imparts a unique quality that is specific to that location.
This concept has not been widely developed or adopted in the Australian wine industry. The lower Hunter valley is small wine-growing area some two hours north of Sydney which produces prime wines and therefore the concept of terroir may attractive as a value-adding proposition.
A database of more than 1000 soil profiles comprising soil data and NIR/MIR soil spectra have already been collected for the area. Additionally there is a spatial information system comprising landuse and terrain data. The project would seek to gather data on grape yield and quality and wine quality using standard criteria as well as NIR/MIR spectra. These two data sets will be fused to produce initial digital terroir definitions and a map for the area comprising the Hunter Wine Country Private Irrigation District.

Additional Information

A candidate with strong background in viticulture, œnology or soil science or related subjects with a penchant for quantitative approaches. Experience in GIS will be beneficial.

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terroir, viticulture, oenology, digital soil mapping, soil modelling, GIS

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1220

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