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.