About Terroir Talking

Elizabeth Hecker

As a graphic designer working with wineries for more than twenty years, I had the opportunity to learn about grape varieties and the uniqueness of each vineyard, from soil and climate to viticulture. Wine seemed to be magic, infused with history, culture and a sensory story waiting for me to give it form.

When I tasted a Priorat wine, a vivid image of the glistening schist landscape filled my mind’s eye even though I had never heard of the region before. I had been entertaining the idea of a cross-cultural investigation into the people of the vine, so when the time came to explore its viability, I thought I would visit the Priorat first. What was waiting for me there was not only a distinctive wine heritage but also a force of nature so powerful it changed the course of my life. 

I spent the next four years meeting the people of the Priorat, young and old, whose lives have been defined by the vines. I photographed the landscape and the vineyards in every season. Alone in those vineyards, hearing only the sound of the air and the occasional bird singing, sensing the multitude of fractured pieces of ancient schist supporting my place on the Earth—this was the genesis of Terroir Talking.


My father used to tell me I did not have to understand everything. I thought, “Of course I do. How else will I make sense of out of life?” And that need to inquire deeply remains at the core of who I am. For me, storytelling is a fluid, serendipitous process. If a question comes to mind, I need to explore it. If I do not, it feels like I have lost an opportunity to discover something I might not otherwise know. 

There are also times of stillness when words flow. When I am alone in the vineyards or wandering quietly in cellars, I imagine what life is like for a vine, a wine fermenting, a barrel awaiting a new vintage. I consider it my job to surrender to each moment and become a conduit for the sentient stories that emerge. 



Some of my greatest moments have come when the initial awkwardness of an interview transitions into connection. I do as much research as I can so my questions are personal and thought provoking. Then I try to fade into the background and let the person I am interviewing move through space as if I were not there. That is when I can feel them and understand their relationship to the vines and their sensibility for making wine. Trust is the greatest gift we can give to each other. I take these experiences very seriously and write each person’s story as my gift to them for their trust in me.



I never intended to be my own photographer. It just happened while I was out exploring. In the moment, I saw so much, and knowing from experience that the moment might never happen again, I started shooting. Everything I had learned was swirling around in my head while I stared through the lens. Knowledge and the camera took me deeper and deeper. Life, in all its splendor, was jumping into my camera. Thanks to the magic of digital photography, I was full of curiosity and without any fear. The result was a huge collection of images. After a lot of encouragement, I created a collection of the images available for purchase with the added benefit of demonstrating my commitment to preserving our ecology by donating of 50% of the proceeds to Conservation International, an organization whose efforts are create and constructive.


My mission with Terroir Talking is to promote mindfulness of our relationship with nature through the life of wine. Perhaps our appreciation for wine will encourage us to take better care of its source, because without nature there is no wine. Terroir Talking Collection offers a selection of photographs as fine art prints. I donate 50% of all sales to Conservation International to support their efforts in protecting the environment. They are highly rated for transparency and commitment to protecting nature through science, innovation and collaboration with communities, businesses and governments around the world. 


Discovering the Priorat has taught me that when our lives are integrated with nature, we discover a more sentient rhythm and our values change. The Priorat has been an inspiration to me, so I wanted to share its story with the world. 

Ethos Priorat is a coffee table book about the nature, spirit and wine of the region. Vivid photography and poetic prose convey a story that takes the viewer on a journey into the Priorat and explores all the elements that make a great wine: geology, climate, biodiversity, history, culture and, of the course, vineyards, viticulture and winemaking. And true to Terroir Talking’s values, it focuses on the relationship of the people to their vines.

My hope is that through the story of the Priorat, people will realize how much there is to be discovered in a glass of wine. When I close my eyes and surrender to my senses it becomes a kind of meditation. Imagining the source of a wine provides an escape from daily life and an opportunity to explore other realms.

Soon Ethos Priorat will become the coffee table book I had imagined. There is nothing like ink on paper to provide a portal into our imagination. If you sign up for Terroir Talking news you will be the first to know when the book is released. 



Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you might have. The most reliable way to reach me is by email using the form below. I will respond promptly. Many thanks for your interest.

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