Wine regions can be basically divided into two types of climates: cool climate and warm climate. Wine grapes from warmer climates generate higher sugar levels (which produce higher alcohol wines), whereas cooler climate wine grapes generally have lower sugar levels and retain more acidity.
There are hundreds of different types of soil, rock and mineral deposits in the world’s vineyards. Most vineyard soils can be sorted into about 5 to 6 different types of soil that affect the flavor of wine. While there is no scientific proof associating the taste of ‘minerality’ to actual minerals in a wine, something does happen. It’s almost as though some types of soils act like a tea-bag for water as it passes through to the vine’s roots.
Believe it or not, altitude is an increasingly important focus for quality vineyards. Besides elevation, things like geological features (mountains, valleys, being located far inland), other flora (plants, microbes and trees) and large bodies of water affect how a wine from a particular region tastes.
Traditional winemaking (and vineyard growing) techniques can also contribute to a wine’s terroir. Even though tradition is a human interaction, ancient winemaking methods tend to be highly dependent on the region’s climate, soil and terrain.