Wine Terroir and the Soil Bacteria: An Amplicon Sequencing–Based Assessment of the Barossa Valley and Its Sub-Regions

Jia Zhou, Timothy R. Cavagnaro, Roberta De Bei, Tiffanie M. Nelson, John R. Stephen, Andrew Metcalfe, Matthew Gilliham, James Breen, Cassandra Collins, Carlos M.Rodríguez López

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A wines’ terroir, represented as wine traits with regional distinctiveness, is a reflection of both the biophysical and human-driven conditions in which the grapes were grown and wine made. Soil is an important factor contributing to the uniqueness of a wine produced by vines grown in specific conditions. Here, we evaluated the impact of environmental variables on the soil bacteria of 22 Barossa Valley vineyard sites based on the 16S rRNA gene hypervariable region 4. In this study, we report that both dispersal isolation by geographic distance and environmental heterogeneity (soil plant-available P content, elevation, rainfall, temperature, spacing between row and spacing between vine) contribute to microbial community dissimilarity between vineyards. Vineyards located in cooler and wetter regions showed lower beta diversity and a higher ratio of dominant taxa. Differences in soil bacterial community composition were significantly associated with differences in fruit and wine composition. Our results suggest that environmental factors affecting wine terroir, may be mediated by changes in microbial structure, thus providing a basic understanding of how growing conditions affect interactions between plants and their soil bacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number597944
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
StatePublished - Jan 7 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Zhou, Cavagnaro, De Bei, Nelson, Stephen, Metcalfe, Gilliham, Breen, Collins and Rodríguez López.


  • 16SrRNA
  • Barossa Valley
  • Illumina
  • soil microbiome
  • terroir
  • vineyard soil bacteria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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