Appears in
Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Vines, in common with other plants, may require additions of fertilizers to overcome the deficiency in the soil of a particular nutrient (see soil nutrients). However, grapevines do not require such fertile soils as many other crops. Indeed, the vineyards most highly regarded in terms of the quality of wine they produce are generally grown on relatively infertile soils. While a modicum of nutrient stress may enhance quality, this is not to suggest that the fewer the soil nutrients the greater the wine quality. For example, a severe nitrogen deficiency will limit shoot, root, and leaf growth, and fruit yield, and also cause a stuck fermentation, potentially contributing to poor wine quality. Typically, a vineyard producing wine will receive less fertilizer than one producing table grapes.