Dry farmed wines tend to have more pronounced terroir, but do they taste better? While that’s technically a matter of opinion, we’ve got information that may help you decide for yourself.
If you’re new around here, we’re very passionate about both making and drinking wine. We drink wine to celebrate, to bring people together, and sometimes just because it’s positively delicious and we all deserve more joy in our lives. We choose to share our love of wine by mindfully growing, harvesting, and crafting delicious wine that’s free of residual sugars and toxins.
To accomplish that, the SECCO Wine Club vineyard exclusively practices dry farming. While it’s not always practical for every vineyard, it’s non-negotiable for us for a few reasons.
The biggest question we get asked about dry farming is whether dry-farmed wines taste better. Obviously, we’re a bit biased. So, let’s take a closer look at what dry farming is and how it impacts the taste of wine.
What Are Dry Farmed Wines?
Dry farming is when crops are grown without irrigation, and it’s often much more common in regions with precipitation of less than 20 inches yearly. Basically, these plants must rely on any residual moisture in the soil from the wet season. Areas with limited moisture do well with this technique since it can reduce or even eliminate runoff and evaporation.
On top of simply using less water, it uses less energy overall. Irrigation can require many hours to set up and manage, not to mention regular maintenance and repairs on equipment.
When plants are irrigated, their roots tend to stay closer to the surface since they’re used to frequent watering. Conversely, dry farmed plants will grow deep roots so they can more easily access water deep underground. That often makes dry farmed plants more capable of acclimating to new conditions.
This growing technique isn’t suitable for every vineyard for several reasons. We won’t get into the minutiae, but things like soil quality, “mother rock,” and average rainfall can have a big impact on whether dry farming will be successful.
Bottom line? Dry farmed wines are those that have been created using grapes grown with this particular farming technique.
Do Dry Farmed Wines Taste Different?
Yes, although it’s easier to pick up on if you’re already a bit of a wine connoisseur. Does that mean you have to be a sommelier? Absolutely not. It does mean, however, that you should be familiar with terms like “terroir.”
Since the roots of dry farmed grapes must grow deep and broad to collect as much groundwater as possible, they’re more likely to come in contact with the unique nutrients and minerals of the area. Less water also limits shoot growth, so the plants end up focusing more on ripening.
When grapes are able to spend the majority of their energy on ripening, they tend to ripen sooner with higher acidity and sometimes lower alcohol. Additionally, this tends to make the flavor characteristics of the region more concentrated in these grapes. That’s why irrigated grapes often lead to wines that taste the same every year, whereas vintages tend to be more distinct in dry farmed wines.
Do Dry Farmed Wines Taste Better?
We think they do. However, it’s really a matter of personal opinion.
For us, the concentration of flavors that are characteristic of specific regions is absolutely fascinating. We love being able to taste the difference between wines grown in various regions throughout Italy, or even across the world. And we’re not the only ones who feel that way.
In an interview with Forbes, a vintner from Sonoma stated, “We have been fully dry farmed for about five years now, and I can tell you that after the initial struggle, the results are far better in almost all parameters—most especially wine quality, and expression of terroir.”
Try Dry Farmed Wines For Yourself!
One of our favorite things about wine is that it’s a sensory experience. It involves visuals, texture, taste, and aroma. Yes, we think dry farmed wines taste better. But the important thing is what YOU think! That means you’ve got to get out there and do some wine tasting to see for yourself.