Good Wine Soil

One of the things that I related to today was when the guy was talking about how the soil affects the taste of wine. One of the reasons I related to this is because I’m from a place that has a lot of distilleries and vineyards and I hear a lot of how important the soil is. I was curious as to what kind of soil made the “right” kind of soil to have a vineyard.

Something that a lot of people agree on that makes really good wine is produced in limestone rich areas. Technically, the soil is enriched with calcium carbonate, which is the principal chemical component of limestone. Calcium-based soils have a lot more going for them then just calcium though. Calcium helps soil retain water, which is ideal for growing grapevines. However, grapevines don’t thrive well if the soil is waterlogged. Calcium has a chemical structure that helps the soil drain water when there are heavy rains. This makes limestone rich areas great for having vineyards.

Calcium rich soils are also related to easier nutrient uptake. Grape vines take up nutrients through a process called cation exchange. This is where tiny little hairs on the roots absorb nutrients. Calcium helps the roots take up more nutrients by a process called flocculation, which makes more cation sites available on the vine root. It is also believed that calcium helps maintain acidity in grapes.

After I did some research about how limestone, calcium, and grape vines relate, I looked up a map of the places with the greatest deposits of limestone and matched them up against the best vineyards around the world. Some of the top ones are; Australia, Spain, Italy, France, Napa Valley, and Germany. While not all have huge deposits close by, you can clearly see that there is limestone around. The place with the greatest soil for producing wine is Burgundy, France in Champagne (I wonder where it got that name?) and the Loire Valley. Image

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9 thoughts on “Good Wine Soil

  1. I’ve always been interested in things like minerals and their properties. A lot of people think small factors like that wouldn’t have such a big impact on our crops but as you’ve said they can affect quite a lot. It is so interesting how just the right mix of minerals and other components in soil can lead to a favorable outcome while mixes with maybe just one variable changed can lead to something entirely different.

  2. This is such an interesting phenomenon! I wonder if there are any places that intentionally change the make-up of the soil to produce different kinds of wine?

  3. Never thought that soil was such a key “ingredient” to good wine! I knew grapes were, but never really realized how important the things we take for granted are.

  4. In South West China and Tibet, there are lots of red wine brands in those areas. They tastes very different from those European red wine. They all taste good in different ways.

  5. The guy in the video talking about the how the soil affects the wine actually has a TED talk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhqZ0RU95d4 The way that he talks about his entrepreneurial spirit and drive to turn his passion and enthusiasm into profit made me not surprised to see him appear in this documentary alongside movie stars and nobel laureates.

  6. I thought that the Dirt video was interesting. What got my attention was when the wine guy actually ate the dirt. I was fascinated learning that dirt was actually a main ingredient when it came to making wine.

  7. Yeah I think I saw in a movie that the soil makes the wine. The good soil for wine actually looks dry and bad. But that is because it has a lot of calcium in it.
    I’m not sure if it’s true or not but this is what I remember.
    Interesting information. Thanks!

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