Soil and Wine Quality: Other factors

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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The great variation of soils over even short distances means that generalizations of any kind are dangerous. In some vineyards, especially those on alluvial soils, the soil type may change dramatically over a few metres, despite an apparent uniformity at the surface. For the same reason, soil management procedures are seldom equally appropriate across an entire vineyard, let alone between different vineyards.

A second point is that, despite this, management technologies are increasingly becoming available which obviate many of the effects of this variability. This is especially so in the New World. Among the more important is adoption of drip irrigation, which in climates with a dry summer can go far towards giving the vines a controlled water regime that is little influenced by soil type. Similarly, techniques of soil and (especially) leaf or petiole analysis are making possible a more controlled vine nutritional regime, so that differences in nutrient supply by the soil are moderated, or even, potentially, eliminated.