Irrigation: The mechanics

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About
Soils vary in their ability to store water. The ‘field capacity’ is the maximum amount of water a thoroughly wetted soil will retain after normal drainage. The driest moisture content at which vines can extract water from the soil is called the ‘permanent wilting point’. Between these two limits is the amount of available water in a soil. The ability to store water is highest for silt soils and lowest for coarse sands and gravels. The latter soils are preferred for fine wine production as there is less likelihood of excessive water supplies to the vine following rainfall.