terclim by ICS banner
IVES 9 IVES Conference Series 9 GiESCO 9 GiESCO 2023 9 Managing soil health in vineyards: knowns and unknowns 

Managing soil health in vineyards: knowns and unknowns 


Context and purpose- The use of soil conservation practices in wine grape production is becoming common throughout the world in response to an increased awareness of the value of soil health to maintain crop productivity and environmental quality. However, little information is available on the meaning of soil health within a viticultural context, and what soil properties should be targeted to achieve both the agronomic and environmental goals of wine grape producers. Conservation practices lead to increases in soil organic matter which may improve soil water retention, and increase soil C content therefore constituting a potential avenue to adapt to droughts and sequester C. Well-known management practices such as the use of cover crops, compost or no-till, although effective, seem to result in highly variable outcomes in soil organic matter and other soil health indicators. This variability is likely associated to the application of the practices in different soils and climates. Thus, integration of soil health building practices needs a thorough understanding of their efficacy under different conditions. Furthermore, additions of soil organic matter could trigger emissions of CO2 and N2O, a potent greenhouse gas that could represent a potential tradeoff of soil conservation practices. Finally, nutrient and water availability may be affected by the increase in soil organic matter having consequences for vine balance and grape quality.

Material and Methods– Over the course of six years we performed a survey to winegrape growers in different regions in California to understand their perception and definitions of soil health. Furthermore, we caried out a series of field trials at commercial vineyards in California where we tested the effects of different soil conservation practices on soil health, greenhouse gas emissions, vine yield and grape quality.

Results- This presentation will provide an overview of recent research carried out in close collaboration with the wine grape industry to provide a better definition of soil health that is specific to this crop. Furthermore, the efficacy of conservation practices to build soil health relative to potential tradeoffs, such as the emissions of greenhouse gasses or reductions in grape quality, will be evaluated. Finally, the stacking of practices will be discussed as an avenue to maximize benefits to soil health and reduce environmental tradeoffs, as proposed in the framework of regenerative farming.


Publication date: June 21, 2023

Issue: GiESCO 2023

Type: Article


Cristina LAZCANO1, Charlotte DECOCK2, Kerri STEENWERTH3, Mallika NOCCO1, Amelie GAUDIN4, Elisabeth FORRESTEL5, Patricia SKINKIS6, Kristopher COVEY7, Mark BATTANY8, Ellen BRUNO9, Noelymar GONZALEZ-MALDONADO1, Corinne BUTLER2, Connie T.F. WONG1, Amanda RODRIGUEZ1, Axel M HERRERA1, Imane SLIMANI1

1Department of Land, Air and Water Resources. University of California Davis
2Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences Department. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
3USDA-ARS, Davis
4Department of Plant Sciences, University of California Davis
5Department of Viticulture and Enology, University of California Davis
6Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University
7Skidmore College
8University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources
9Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California Berkeley

Contact the author*


grapevine, cover crops, compost, no-till, C sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions, sustainability


GiESCO | GIESCO 2023 | IVES Conference Series


Related articles…

Impact of some agronomic practices on grape skins anthocyanin content

Wine colour is the first quality characteristic to be assessed, especially regarding red wines. Anthocyanins are very well known to be the main responsible compounds for red wine colour. Red cultivars can synthesize and accumulate anthocyanins in berry skin to express their colour. However, anthocyanin accumulation is often influenced by a series of factors, such as genetic regulation, phytohormones, environmental conditions and viticultural management.

Characterization of Glycosidically Bound Aroma Compounds of País cv. grapes of different Chilean zones

Úbeda-Aguilera, C., a Callejón, R. M., b Peña-Neira, A c. a Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma de Chile, Chile b Área de Nutrición y Bromatología. Facultad de Farmacia. Universidad de Sevilla. C/ P. García González nº 2, E- 41012. Sevilla. Spain c Department of Agro-Industry and Enology, Faculty of Agronomical Sciences, University of Chile, Post Office Box 1004, Santa Rosa 11315, La Pintana, Santiago, Chile País grape has been estimated to arrive to Chile almost 500 years ago, being the first strain grown in this country. Traditionally, this grape has been used to mix with other varieties, to produce poor quality wines, but today is beginning to be used in the production of high quality wines. However, very little is known about the chemical characteristics of this variety.

Ageing of Sauvignon Blanc white wines with Specific Inactivated Dry Yeasts: Effect on physical and chemical characteristics

Del Barrio-Galán, R.a, b, Gómez-Parrini, A.a, Peña-Neira, A.b a Lallemand Inc. Chile y Compañía Limitada, Rosario Norte 407, piso 6, Las condes, Santiago, Chile b Department of Agro-Industry and Enology, Faculty of Agronomical Sciences, University of Chile, Post Office Box 1004, Santa Rosa 11315, La Pintana, Santiago, Chile It is well known that polysaccharides, mainly mannoproteins, play an important role on physical, chemical and sensory quality of wines. The ageing of white wines on lees is used in order to release higher amounts of polysaccharides by the autolytic processes in order to obtain higher-quality wines. However, this technique is too slow, because the temperature and pH conditions are not the most suitable for this process. In addition, it can also involve certain disadvantages such as a greater demand on winery resources, a longer period of wine storage, the appearance of reduction notes and some microbiological alterations.

Effect of ageing with Specific Inactivated Dry Yeasts on the volatile composition of Sauvignon Blanc and Carménère wines

Úbeda-Aguilera, C a, b, Peña-Neira, A.b Del Barrio-Galán, R.b, c a Biomedical Sciences Institute, Science Faculty, Universidad Autónoma de Chile, Chile. b Department of Agro-Industry and Enology, Faculty of Agronomical Sciences, University of Chile, Post Office Box 1004, Santa Rosa 11315, La Pintana, Santiago, Chile c Lallemand Inc. Chile y Compañía Limitada, Rosario Norte 407, piso 6, Las Condes, Santiago, Chile The wine is a complex matrix made up of several compounds which can interact among themselves throughout the wine ageing process, thereby modifying their sensorial characteristics. It is well known that during ageing of wines on lees, polysaccharides (mainly mannoproteins) can be released and can interact with the aromatic fraction modifying its volatility.

New molecular evidence of wine yeast-bacteria interaction unraveled by untargeted metabolomic profiling

Bacterial malolactic fermentation (MLF) has a considerable impact on wine quality. The yeast strain used for primary fermentation can consistently stimulate (MLF+ phenotype) or inhibit (MLF- phenotype) malolactic bacteria and the MLF process as a function of numerous winemaking practices, but the molecular evidence behind still remains a mystery. In this study, such evidence was elucidated by the direct comparison of extracellular metabolic profiles of MLF+ and MLF- yeast phenotypes. Untargeted metabolomics combining ultrahigh-resolution FT-ICR-MS analysis, powerful machine learning methods and a comprehensive wine metabolite database, discovered around 800 putative biomarkers and 2500 unknown masses involved in phenotypic distinction.