The soil is one of the factors that make up the terroir and is determinant to achieve unique characteristics in the grape and, therefore, in the final wine.
We have been talking on several occasions about the key role of all the elements that make up the terroir. Depending on the particularities of that terroir (climate, orientation, altitude, soil, etc.), the winegrower will obtain a final product with unique properties. However, the soil takes on special importance when conferring the wine its essence.
The optimum development of the vine depends, to a great extent, on the type of soil in which it is planted, as well as on the work and practices carried out by the winegrowers on the soil. The appropriate soil for the vine should not have an excess of organic matter, otherwise, it would get too much plant vigor, which would result in larger than normal grapes, which would house very diluted compounds. In addition, it must allow good drainage, since the retention of water would only cause problems derived from excessive humidity, and would prevent the roots from growing along the different strata.
As you can see, there are many soil factors that affect the development of the vine and the characteristics of the grapes. Although the type of soil is only one of them, it is interesting to know its incidence on wine and its properties.
The soil types in the vineyard
The heterogeneity of the world geography offers a large number of variants that make possible the production of regional wines, adapted to the peculiarities of the soil. The classification of soils is developed from its texture or granulometric composition:
Sandy soils: They are very permeable and allow faster ripening of the grapes. They produce very aromatic wines with a low alcohol content. They are, in general, soft and easy to drink wines.
Clay soils: The morphology of these soils allows them to retain a greater load of nutrients and water. They offer fruity wines and with greater structure, thanks to longer ripening cycles.
Granitic soils: These are soils that adapt very well to temperatures since they absorb heat during the day and cool during the night. They produce very aromatic wines with saline touches.
Slate soils. These are soils that hardly have organic matter and they are, therefore, very permeable. Their wines are very mineral, with higher alcoholic content than the previous ones and quite aromatic, with a predominance of toasted notes.
Limestone soils: Whenever the excess limestone and the chosen pattern are avoided, the limestone soil facilitates the good development of the vines. It contributes a great alcoholic content to the wines, as well as a low acidity and a great variety of aromas.
Volcanic soils: These are soils composed of material from old volcanic eruptions. Its dark color (lava remains) allows it to retain sunlight well. The “volcanic” wines have a great body and contain mineral aromas, especially the smoked touches.
In addition to all the properties conferred by the types of soil on the vine, there is a fundamental factor that is invisible to the eyes. You know which one is it? The microbial community of your vineyard. This can be affected by the characteristics of the soil, and it has a significant impact on the wine. Discover everything you did not know about your vines and get your wines to have all the nuances you want. WineSeq will help you get it!