Dirt and the Quality of Wine

As I was reading everyone’s blog posts for Week 6 on the Eliie Harmon of the Dirt exhibit, I became interested to do some of my own research on dirt. I have always been curious about the soils in which wine grapes are grown on to influence the flavor, color and aroma of wine. I learned that the soiled composition o vineyard is essential to the production of high quality wine. The soil is the base that supports the root of the vine and impacts the drainage levels and amount of mineral nutrient supplies the vine receives.




Check out this video on an expert wine make explaining how the quality of soil affects the quality of grapes, which affects the quality of wines.


Moisture of Soil: The soil in which wine grapes are grown have to ability to greatly influence the wine through its impact of water availability to the grapevine roots. It has been found that a moderate amount of water to vines during fruit development can enhance the grape color, aroma, flavor, and acidity. This means that soils that regularly become depleted of moisture early in fruit development grow into high quality grapes.

Nutrients in Soil: Additionally, soils influence wine grape sensory characteristics by their supply of mineral nutrients to the grape vines. It has been shown that both a deficit and excess of mineral nutrients can result in negative consequences. For example, an excess amount of nitrogen is correlated with resulting in vegetative aromas (vegetable smells) when produces into wines, while a deficiency in boron constrains that color development in red grapes. 



I have learned that experienced and knowledgeable vineyard management is vital to the quality of wines. While soils do not directly contribute to chemical compounds in wines, there is a great need for delicate regulation of moisture, in addition to mineral nutrient supplies in vineyard soils.