Electromagnetic conductivity mapping and harvest zoning: deciphering relationships between soil and wine quality

Using electromagnetic conductivity mapping and GIS technology, we identified two unique soil zones within a 0.8-hectare Cabernet Franc block in central Virginia, USA. For three vintages we implemented a differential harvest and experimental winemaking based on soil zoning and noted that each zone produces unique wines despite the fact that both consist of the same rootstock, clone, row orientation, trellis system, vine age and undergo the same farming practices.

Significant differences observed between the two lots, particularly potassium (K+) levels and pH of the fruit and wine, have been consistent from vintage to vintage. Our findings suggest a relationship between soil physical characteristics, site hydrology, soil chemistry, nutrient levels in the vine and fruit, and wine chemistry (specifically K+ and pH).

Authors: Ernest BEASLEY IV, MS, CPG (1), Benoit PINEAU (2), Lucie MORTON (3)

(1) HydroGeo Environmental, LLC, 418 East Main Street, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
(2) Pollak Vineyards, 330 Newtown Road, Greenwood, Virginia 22943
(3) Vitipiont International Research Centre, PO Box 5607, Charlottesville, Virginia 22905

E-mail: ebeasley@HydroGeoEnvironmental.com

Keywords: geophysics, viticulture, terroir, soil, management zoning, potassium, wine, precision viticulture

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