Grapegrowing soils

The soil plays a key role in viticulture since it defines the planting depth, development and aeration of the root system and also controls the absorption of mineral elements and water conditions of the plant (1). Topography has been considered a determinant of the quality of wine from the Roman Empire; however, the classical treatises on viticulture pay little attention to soils and do not analyze the importance of adequate soil management. Grapevines have a remarkable adaptability to the soil type and may live and thrive in very different soil types. However, the soil type is a determinant of the quantity and quality of grapes produced. It is possible to asset that varieties do not belong to any place; the climate, soil, and the work of man are the real factors of quality (2). The basic aspect of the expression of terroir is the interrelationship between soil, climate and variety when those are optimized. Because of this interrelationship is impossible to define the “ideal” soil for a vineyard, since optimal results may be reached in different climate-soil-vineyard management combinations. This article summarizes the role of soils in viticulture.

Author: Vicente SOTÉS

Universidad Politécnica de Madrid-ETSI Agrónomos. Ciudad Universitaria s/n, 28040 Madrid (Spain)


Keywords: Pedology, geology, geomorphology, physico-chemical characteristics, water content, microbial diversity.

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