Photo by Jaime Casap on Unsplash

I attended a virtual wine and cheese tasting a few weeks ago (it was AMAZING), and besides leaving with a new favorite blue cheese and Riesling, I also left having learned about terroir.

According to Wikipedia, terroir is is a “French term used to describe the environmental factors that affect a crop’s phenotype, including unique environment contexts, farming practices and a crop’s specific growth habitat.”

And together, those environmental factors can give a wine its characteristic flavor.

Learning about terroir, I thought about applying the concept to people. If you know me personally or have been reading this blog for a while, you know that ‘place’ is a big deal to me. Understanding and connecting to where I live is critical to my identity, and I know a lot of others feel the same.

I think about how we’re born into a place, but then circumstances can move us around, for better or worse, by choice or involuntarily.

Where we are and where we’ve been contributes to our worldview, our values, our customs, our personality, our health, our attitudes, and probably even other, more superficial things like like our sense of style. It’s our terroir.

I grew up in central California, went to college in Boston, studied abroad in Costa Rica, lived in Philadelphia, worked in Delaware, and now have lived in Durham for a decade. I’ve visited towns and cities and states and countries that have been familiar and completely foreign in many different ways. And all of these things have affected my sense of place and, ultimately, my sense of self.

So, what’s your terroir like? How has it affected you?

Want more ‘place’ stuff? Check out: That’s So South of Shaw: Geographic Health Disparities in My Hometown

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