Responding to Terroir

Carmenere Grapes

Merlot Grapes

Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes

Three of the Bordeaux grapes can be traced to the same parents.  Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, and Merlot are all genetically related to Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.  All of these grapes grow in Bordeaux.  Yet, their terrior requirements are different.  Merlot, which is prevalent on the right bank of the Dordogne River, grows best in a cool, damp climate.  Clay soil holds in moisture, and Merlot vines do well in it.  Cabernet Sauvignon, the king of the left bank of the Gironde River needs heat and does best in a self-draining, gravel soil.  Carmenere, practically an identical twin to Merlot, has been all but banished from Bordeaux, but she has reappeared, unexpectedly in Chile, where she shuns too much water as well as too much heat.  Though genetically related, each of these grapes needs different soils and climates.


When my son was young and needed to be reprimanded, I very quickly learned that ‘time-out’ had absolutely no effect on him, nor did a scolding.  Molding his behavior was frustrating, until I discovered that taking away a toy as a consequence did have an effect on him.  He responded positively to that negative reinforcement.  My daughter, on the other hand, was unphased when I used the same technique on her.  She found another toy and continued playing uneffected.  However, she did respond positively to time-out.  For whatever reason, sitting in a chair in the kitchen was something she would avoid at all costs. 


Our parenting style is part of our children’s ‘terroir.’  We set the conditions and climates in which they will grow.  Not all children respond the same way to the same conditions.  Just like the grapes that are genetically related, but have different growing needs, so each child responds differently to different environments.  Finding what’s most nurturing for each of our children is one of the great challenges and rewards of parenting.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s