Does Terroir or appellation sell? Never more than this time of the year do you sell brand names, no one wants to experiment when giving gifts. You want the person you are buying for to know the value you attach to his business or friendship. Meerlust Rubicon flies of the shelf or wine like Nederburg and Zonnebloem for the price conscious. Great gift from lesser known farms are bought for the family as they can be disappointed and it will have no real financial consequence for the buyer/giver.
Does Terroir play a role in the time of giving, maybe if you are not from South Africa and want to buy South African. Then you hear comments like " Do you have wine from Stellenbosch" because if you know very little you can hang onto Terroir rather than an individual farm as an indication of quality. What does Terroir tell those of us who are more knowledgeable about wines? It tells you what to expect from that particular Shiraz or Sauvignon Blanc, fruit or grass, jammy or spicy. No other indicator is as good at predicting what might be in the bottle. "Oh, this is Pomerol, well it will be smooth round and velvety" as oppose to the more herbaceous Graves or St Estephe. Despite the producer. And then you get the odd ones like good Pinot Noir from Wellington or elegant Shiraz from Paarl (instead of blockbusters), that confuses the whole concept of Terroir as it can't be placed as easily.
Does appellation matter? From a tourism point of view it matters a lot and for a chance to buy something similar if you can't find your favourite or the one you know. So yes, Terroir certainly has a place and appellation does make the wine world a little less confusing. You can read more on this subject at Adam Dial - Appellation America [firstname.lastname@example.org]