Soil Fertility

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

soil fertility, the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of a soil determining its ability to support vigorous plant growth. A fertile soil is generally understood to be one with a high content of available plant nutrients, moderate to high organic matter content, supporting an active and diverse soil biota, good soil structure and drainage, and typically a loamy soil texture that can store large amounts of water. Neither soil acidity nor soil alkalinity will be excessive, so that the nutrient elements will all be in a favourable balance of availability for plant growth. Recent research in Australia by Oliver et al. and Riches et al. have identified a minimum set of important biophysical and chemical properties and their optimum ranges for healthy vine growth and yields of quality fruit.