ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

The geology of wine is important to the wine-maker, but of very little importance to the drinker. However, a geologist with an interest in wine is almost inevitably going to take more than a passing interest in what lies beneath vineyards. This may have resulted in the importance of the geology being over-rated. Many wine writers who are not geologists have dutifully described the geology associated with particular wine regions without actually stating how the geology is important. Jake Hancock was quick to realize that a lot of what is written about geology in wine books is at best misguided and at worst utterly wrong, and set about putting this to rights at every opportunity. Vines derive most of their nourishment from a depth extending down to 0.6 m, but will, most of the time, rely on water from down as far as 2 m for transpiration. Only during periods of drought will they draw significant water from >2 m. Clearly then, in areas where there is a deep cover of drift or a deep soil horizon, geological influence on vines will be minimal. Even where the soil is thin, geology will, in many areas where vines are grown, only control the quality of the grapes indirectly through influence on soil composition, geomorphol-ogy and water retention. These factors will be examined, together with examples of instances where geology does have a direct influence on wine quality.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Geology and wine: a review
Jennifer M. Huggett
HUGGETT, J.M. 2005. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association,117, 239–247. The geology
of wine is important to the wine-maker, but of very little importance to the drinker. However,
a geologist with an interest in wine is almost inevitably going to take more than a passing
interest in what lies beneath vineyards. This may have resulted in the importance of the geology
being over-rated. Many wine writers who are not geologists have dutifully described the geology
associated with particular wine regions without actually stating how the geology is important.
Jake Hancock was quick to realize that a lot of what is written about geology in wine books is
at best misguided and at worst utterly wrong, and set about putting this to rights at every
opportunity. Vines derive most of their nourishment from a depth extending down to 0.6 m, but
will, most of the time, rely on water from down as far as 2 m for transpiration. Only during
periods of drought will they draw significant water from >2 m. Clearly then, in areas where
there is a deep cover of drift or a deep soil horizon, geological influence on vines will be
minimal. Even where the soil is thin, geology will, in many areas where vines are grown, only
control the quality of the grapes indirectly through influence on soil composition, geomorphol-
ogy and water retention. These factors will be examined, together with examples of instances
where geology does have a direct influence on wine quality.
Key words: viticulture, terroir, soil, slope
Department of Mineralogy, the Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD,
UK and Petroclays, 15 Gladstone Road, Ashtead, Surrey KT21 2NS, UK
1. INTRODUCTION
The role of the underlying rock in viticulture is at least
four-fold. It influences the soil type (except where the
soil is alluvial), it permits penetration of vine roots to
varying degrees depending upon the nature of the rock,
it controls geomorphology (slope) and it assists or
hinders drainage of rainwater. This review will con-
sider the importance of each of these to viticulture, but
as they are all tied up in the French concept of terroir
this will be examined first.
2. THE CONCEPT OF TERROIR
Terroir is a concept that originated in France. When
lecturing on wine, Jake Hancock defined terroir as ‘A
delimited area with its own characteristic geology,
climate and methods of viticulture’. However, Jake
Hancock (1999) stated:
It is dicult to think of another country where it
could have started, since it has features so charac-
teristic of second-class French thinkers, a combi-
nation of the obvious (e.g. the quality of a plant
depends where you grow it) and the mystical.
Hancock has not been the only person to criticize
terroir. The Australian wine expert Busby stated:
‘Where there is a perceived marketing advantage in
associating a wine with soil in a specific region the
terroir concept is being exploited’ (Busby, 1825). It
was Jake’s view (Hancock, 1999) that when Henri
Coquand published a correlation of cognac quality
with the chalkiness of the ground in which it is grown
(Coquand, 1857) it was a deliberate hoax rather than
poor science: the quality zonation is circular, the
geology approximately linear (see also Selley, 2004,
2005). At the time it is probable that it was gener-
ally known to be a hoax, but subsequently became
accepted as a serious explanation of cognac quality
which no one bothered to check. Consequently, the
hoax persisted for a remarkably long time, even
being quoted and ‘explained’ in Wilson (1998). More
recently, Australian soil scientist White wrote ‘Most
scientists admit they cannot express quantitatively the
relationship between terroir and the characteristics of
wine produced from that terroir’ (White, 2003). It
might also be said that the concept of terroir is
essential to the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée system
A version of this paper was presented orally at a joint meeting
of the Geological Society of London, the Geologists’ Associ-
ation and the Palaeontological Association: The life and work
of Jake Hancock (1928–2004) held at the Geological Society,
Burlington House, London, 14 October 2004. The meeting
was convened by Professor John C.W. Cope, who has also
been Guest Editor for the manuscripts arising from the
meeting, now published in the Proceedings.
Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association,117, 239–247. 0016-7878/06 $15.00 2006 Geologists’ Association
that eectively acts (often quite rightly) as agricultural
protectionism in France.
The concept of terroir is also implicit in the tendency
to associate wine flavours with aspects of the soil or
bedrock. There are some instances where this may,
indeed, be the case, as with the perceived slight salti-
ness of wines produced where there is a high salt
content in the soil. The Manzanilla of southern Spain
is often described as having a saltiness derived from its
proximity to the sea (though I have not been able to
locate any chemical analyses that might confirm this).
While Peynaud (1996) described Cabernet Sauvignon
grown in the Golf du Lyon sand flats as having
seaweed flavours, that may in fact be due to the high
concentration of sodium chloride found in the sand
flats compared with that found further inland. This is
conceivable because salt is highly soluble in water.
Perhaps the most widely stated association of wine
flavour with a mineral is the supposed ‘flinty’ character
of Chablis wine. To a geologist it is dicult to imagine
how a material as insoluble in normal groundwater as
flint could contribute to the flavour of any wine, let
alone what the flavour of anything so hard and insolu-
ble could be. Equally fanciful is the suggestion that
flint, shale and slate-bearing soils impart a ‘gunflint’
character to Riesling (Berry, 1989).
3. SOIL AND WINE QUALITY
Soil chemistry is influenced strongly by the underlying
rock, except in alluvial soils. Vines require all the usual
plant nutrients (mainly N, P, K, Mg, Fe) that are
present in well-maintained soil on any rock, hence the
parent rock type has little direct influence on wine
quality. Of these components, N, Mg and Fe are
principally required for leaf growth, while K and P are
essential for flower and fruit production. Nitrogen
deficiency is the most widespread problem in vine-
yards; however, this is a factor controlled almost
entirely by artificial addition of nitrogen in the form of
manure and artificial fertilizers, and by the actions of
soil bacteria. Phosphorus is obtained as phosphate
from fluorapatite, apatite and francolite, which may be
in the soil or the underlying rock. A deficiency of
apatite is rare in vines, despite its low solubility. This is
because vines belong to the group of plants that have a
symbiotic association with mycorrhizal fungi, which
enables them to absorb sucient phosphate. Geology
is a major factor in the abundance of K
+
in soils – it is
present chiefly in potassium feldspar, mica and illite,
though the exchangeable K
+
found in smectite and
vermiculite is the most accessible to plants. Smectite
and vermiculite are found mostly in soils and in
Mesozoic and Tertiary sediments, while mica and
K-feldspar are present in a wide range of igneous,
metamorphic and sedimentary rock-types. K
+
and
PO
4
3+
tend to be concentrated near the surface,
especially in clay-rich soils, while Ca
2+
and Mg
2+
tend
to be concentrated lower in the soil profile (Jackson,
1995). Potassium (essential for fruit development in all
flowering plants) is most abundant in soils formed on
volcanic rocks (e.g. Madeira, and the Kaiserstuhl in
southern Germany), slate (e.g. Mosel and Porto) and
shale (e.g. Porto). However, too much of the essential
nutrients can also be bad for vines. In Burgundy in
the 1950s over-zealous use of chemical fertilizers was
responsible for loss of wine quality that was corrected
only slowly by a return to more traditional methods of
soil maintenance (Hanson, 1995). Exceptionally, par-
ticular soils may be depleted in essential elements due
to a natural deficiency of them in the underlying rock.
Soils formed on limestone generally contain less iron
than soils on other rock types, hence they are more
likely to be used for growing white grapes, which
require less iron than do red grapes. In Bourgueil,
in the central Loire region of France, most of the
Cabernet Franc is grown on alluvial sands and con-
glomerates with a low iron content that can lead to
chlorosis of the leaves. The better Bourgueil vineyards
are on middle Turonian Tueau Blanc (a fine-grained
limestone) which contains a small amount of glauco-
nite (Voss, 1995). The vines may obtain the iron
directly from the glauconite, though it is more prob-
ably that this mineral weathers in the soil profile
to form kaolinite and iron oxyhydroxides, before it
becomes available to the vines.
Vines derive most of their nourishment from a depth
extending down to 0.6 m, but will, most of the time,
rely on water from as far down as 2 m for transpira-
tion. Only during periods of drought will they draw
significant water from >2 m. At these times high
porosity and low permeability (in both the soil and the
underlying rock) will be an advantage. Soil thickness is
an important factor in wine quality; in general, leaner
wines are produced on thin soils and, on deep alluvial
soils, wines can be ‘flabby’ if yields are not rigorously
controlled. In Australia, because of the prevalence of
summer drought in many wine-making regions, vine-
yards have been planted on thick alluvial soils with
greater water retention than on many in situ soils. Soil
texture varies with the proportions of clay, silt, sand
and pebbles. The more sand and pebbles the more
free-draining, the more clay the greater the water
retention. Swelling clays (smectite and vermiculite) are
able to expand and hold weakly bonded water layers in
the interlayer sites. On a macroscopic scale, this means
that pores can become blocked and the flow of water
restricted, leading to water logging. In most vine
cultivars this can lead to root damage; some cultivars
are able to withstand some water logging, but high soil
moisture invariably accentuates berry cracking and
subsequent rotting (Jackson, 1995). Another property
of clay-rich soils is that they lose heat faster than stony
soils. Much of the heat (solar radiation) absorbed is
transferred to water as it evaporates, thus cooling the
soil.
In Bordeaux, ranking of cru classé estates has been
correlated with the presence of deep, gravel- and
sand-rich soils located on small rises close to rivulets or
J. M. HUGGETT
240
drainage channels (Seguin, 1986). These features pro-
mote rapid drainage and are thought to encourage
deep root penetration. In these coarse-textured soils,
water occasionally can percolate through soil to a
depth of 20 m within 24 hours. Deep-rooted vines are,
therefore, better able to survive damage from heavy
rain or drought than are shallow-rooted vines. In Saint
Emilion eight out of thirteen of the first growths
are grown on the slope formed by the Molasse du
Fronsadais, between the plateau alluvium and the
limestone known as the Calcaire à Astéries (Fig. 1).
These soils, which are thicker than those on the
Calcaire à Astéries and thinner than the plateau
alluvium, have been enriched with calcium-rich loess
silt derived from Jurassic and Cretaceous limestones,
and blown there during the late Pleistocene (Van
Leeuwen, 1989; White, 2003). On the Calcaire à
Astéries the soils are very thin and the water table very
deep; to compensate, the vines have developed very
deep roots, but are still prone to water shortage during
periods of drought. Generally speaking though, the
underlying geology of Tertiary marls and sandstones
is of less significance to wine quality throughout
Bordeaux than are soil depth, drainage and micro-
climate.
It has been concluded from a major study of the soils
of Burgundy that vines produce the best wine where
the soil contains both ‘clay’ (which in this context
probably includes silt and some sand, as Gadille (1967)
does not mention either size fraction) and pebbles. The
explanation given for this is that pebbles improve
drainage while clays do the reverse (or, more optimis-
tically, clay improves water retention) and also add
fertility in the form of exchangeable cations. Clearly,
the presence of sand will also improve drainage, so
that soils formed by weathering of clay-bearing sand-
stone would also provide a favourable physical
environment for viticulture. An example of this is the
three Montrachet vineyards in Burgundy. At Chevalier
Montrachet (Fig. 2), at the top of the slope, the soil is
20% clay and 80% pebbles, of the three vineyards this
is considered to make the most elegant wines. Batard
Montrachet, at the base of the slope is described as rich
and fat and has a soil with 50% clay and 50% pebbles.
Le Montrachet, between the other two vineyards is
considered to produce the finest wines, has a soil with
32–36% clay and 64–68% pebbles. While this might be
inferred to indicate the ideal pebble and clay propor-
tions for making fine wine, the position of the vine-
yards on the slope and soil thickness may also be
important. The importance of slope is discussed below.
Re-radiation of heat from the ground can be an
eective mechanism for minimizing the overnight
drop in air temperature around vines. The diuse
Fig. 1. Cross-section through Saint Emilion. Eight out of thirteen of the first growths are grown on the slope formed by the
Molasse du Fronsadais (adapted from Van Leeuwen, 1989).
GEOLOGY AND WINE
241
reflectance, known as the albedos, of most rocks is in
the range 0.1–0.3, i.e. 10–30% of radiation from the
Sun is reflected (Hancock, 2005). Stony soils, and dark
ones in particular, retain most of the heat absorbed by
day and are able to radiate it back to the air around
the vines by night. In climates marginal for viticulture,
the presence of dark pebbles (such as the slate of the
Mosel) is a highly advantageous soil property. In
Australia it has been found that grapes ripen earlier
on Red Brown Earths than on the paler Solonised
Solonetz soils (Rankine et al., 1971). However, it
should be noted that the strength of re-radiation is
inversely proportional to the square of height above
ground – doubling the height of the grapes above the
ground results in a four-fold reduction in energy
reaching them (Jackson, 1995).
In Châteauneuf-du-Pape stream-rolled cobbles,
derived from Alpine Molasse and known locally as
galets are viewed as a sign of quality (Fig. 3). No
explanation of how the cobbles aect quality has been
found and there is no correlation between the presence
of these stones and wine quality. Wilson (1998) sug-
gested that it is, in fact, the red clay soil and ferrugi-
nous sands of the better vineyards that are important
to wine quality.
4. SLOPE AND WINE QUALITY
Hanson (1995) quoted R. Gadille as saying that slope
has a greater influence on the quality of wine than does
bedrock. In the higher latitude wine regions of the
world, this is probably true, as the amount of sunshine
Fig. 2. The soils of the three Montrachet Crus: (a) Chevalier Montrachet, the top of the slope, with 20% clay and 80% pebbles;
(b) Le Montrachet, the mid-slope, with 32–36% clay and 64–68% pebbles; (c) Batard Montrachet, with 50% clay and 50%
pebbles.
Fig. 3. The soil of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, with Alpine
molasse-derived cobbles known as galets.
J. M. HUGGETT
242
reaching the vines and the drainage will be controlled
largely by slope. Hancock (2005) expressed this math-
ematically as I=Ksin(a+ß), where Iis the intensity of
radiation received on the slope, Kis a constant, ais the
angular elevation of the Sun and ßis the angle of
inclination of the slope to the horizontal along a
meridian (to the south in the Northern Hemisphere,
to the north in the Southern Hemisphere). This is
illustrated in Figure 4.
It follows from this relationship that slope will be of
greatest importance early and late in the growing
season when the Sun is lower in the sky than it is in
summer. Hence, slope is particularly important for
avoiding frost in spring and assisting with ripening in
autumn. Thermal belts on slopes comprise a layer of
cold air at the bottom of a valley and another near the
ground over the plateau above the slope (Hancock,
2005). As a result of this, the temperature dierence
between sites no more than 3 km apart horizontally,
maybeasmuchas8(C over height dierences of
<100 m (Hancock, 2005). Germany, the most north-
erly wine growing region in mainland Europe, is
renowned for its steeply sloped, south-facing vineyards
in the fault-controlled valleys of the Mosel and the
Rhine. However, in wine regions with regular summer
drought the enhanced amount of sunshine reaching
slopes facing the Sun (south-facing in the Northern
Hemisphere, north-facing in the Southern Hemisphere)
and the enhanced drainage on slopes will be a
disadvantage rather than an advantage.
The importance of geology has been argued most
vociferously in Chablis (northern Burgundy, France),
but has now been ocially abandoned. It is generally
acknowledged that chardonnay, the grape of Chablis,
produces the finest wines on alkaline soils formed
on limestone and carbonate-rich mudrocks (marls).
Chablis, as a defined region, was recognized by the
wine tribunals in 1923 as being grown on a sub-soil of
Kimmeridgian limestone (actually a carbonate-rich
mudrock in this region), while Petit Chablis could be
grown anywhere else within the 20 communes of
Chablis. This was opposed strongly by some growers
who argued, probably correctly, that orientation, slope
and altitude are as important as sub-soil and, more-
over, some quality Chablis had always been grown on
Portlandian limestone. Figure 5 shows that, in Chablis,
the mid-slope favoured for quality vineyards through-
out Europe, coincides with the Kimmeridgian outcrop.
The relatively soft Kimmeridgian carbonate-rich
mudrock is capped by Portlandian Barrois limestone
and underlain by the Calcaires à Astartes (both true
limestone). The Serrein River has cut down through
the Barrois, which forms the caps of hills, and
the softer Kimmeridgian carbonate-rich mudrock,
which now forms the slopes. The south-facing slopes
naturally receive the most Sun, which in such a north-
erly wine region as Chablis is important. It is on these
slopes that the Grand Cru Chablis is grown. In 1976
the reference to Kimmeridgian limestone was dropped
from the definition of Chablis and it was acknowl-
edged tacitly that slope and orientation are of greater
importance to wine quality in Chablis.
Subsequently, the geological misunderstanding has
crossed the Channel, with English wine growers mak-
ing much of planting on the Kimmeridgian, while not
realizing that in this country the Kimmeridgian is clay,
not limestone as in France.
In Burgundy the best vineyards are frequently on the
mid-slope. This is not just because this is where the soil
composition is ideal, but because the mid-slope is
where the greatest amount of sunshine is received on
the SE–SW-facing slopes. In Champagne the mid-slope
is also the preferred site for vineyards (Fig. 6). It was
formerly erroneously thought that this was due to a
special property of the Chalk in this part of the
slope. According to Chappaz (1955): ‘The winegrowers
of old, although ignorant of the geology, always
stopped their vineyards right at the contact of the two
Chalk formations’ – the Belemnite (Campanian) and
Micraster (Santonian) biozones. This was repeated in
Fig. 4. Illustration of the relationship between slope and solar radiation (after Hancock, 1999).
GEOLOGY AND WINE
243
Fig. 5. (a) Geology of the area around Chablis, with cross section X–X’ (adapted from Wilson, 1998). (b) Map of the Premier Cru, Chablis and Petit Chablis
vineyards (adapted from the French Geological Survey map and drawn to the same scale as the geological map in (a)).
J. M. HUGGETT
244
subsequent literature (e.g. Forbes, 1967) and became
an accepted ‘fact’, without any questioning as to why
to vines should perform so dierently in adjacent chalk
zones of similar mineralogy. The real reason for the
dierence is the soil. The Chalk hills in Champagne are
capped by soft, Paleocene sands and muds, which are
locally lignitic. These sediments have been washed
down the chalk slope, as far as the base of the
Belemnite zone (Wilson, 1998). Wilson (1998) argued
that it is the lignite that is critical to the soil quality
because it contains inclusions of pyrite and thus pro-
vides iron and sulphur, elements in short supply in
chalk. However, it is as likely that the soil is enriched
by the clay minerals and pyrite (probably weathered to
other ferric iron minerals and sulphate by the time it
reaches the Belemnite zone) not derived from the
lignite.
5. BEDROCK CONTROLS ON WINE QUALITY
The ideal water balance for vines is provided by a
bedrock with medium to high porosity (c. 15–45%),
high fracture permeability (>100 mD) and low matrix
permeability range (c. 1–100 mD). The porosity and
permeability characteristics of the range of rock types
on which vines are grown most commonly are shown
in Table 1. This shows that chalk most consistently
provides the ideal porosity and permeability for viti-
culture. However, moderately cemented, fractured
limestones other than chalk, sandstone and conglom-
erate will also frequently fulfil the criteria for the ideal
water balance, as can deeply weathered and fractured
schist or granite. Where the slope bedrock is impervi-
ous, e.g. shale, drainage through the rock is extremely
slow and most water will move down slope as surface
runo, taking soil with it.
Geology is only one of many factors in wine quality
and, in most cases, the influence of the bedrock is only
indirect. There are wine regions where only one rock
type is present, yet the quality of the wine produced
varies enormously due to other factors. Examples are
Champagne (chalk) and Mosel (schist), where the
viticultural methods are probably the most important
control. There are equally famous wine regions where
the soils are derived from a variety of rock types
without any associated variation in quality, examples
Fig. 6. Cross-section through Cramant-Avizee, Champagne (adapted from Wilson, 1998).
Table 1. Approximate porosity, matrix permeability and mass permeability ranges for the rock types on which most vines are
grown.
Rock type Porosity Matrix permeability Mass permeability
(%) (mD) (mD)
Sandstone & conglomerate <40 30–400 50–3000
Shale 8–20 <0.3 10–10 000
Limestone (other than chalk) <25 very variable very variable
Chalk 30–45 2–3 30–3000
Granite & schist <0.1 <0.01 variable, often high
GEOLOGY AND WINE
245
are Bordeaux, Rheingau and Beaujolais (Wallace,
1972; Seguin, 1986). However, there are a few wine-
making areas of the world where the underlying rock
has a real influence on wine quality and a selection of
these is discussed below. The Coonawarra district is
discussed in most detail, because this is the region that
the author was working on with Jake Hancock at the
time of his death.
In the Douro, a bedrock of schist (rich in K) is
preferred over granite (also rich in K) because the
schist rock is much more fractured than the granite,
permitting greater penetration of rainfall and of
the vine roots. In contrast, the great vineyards of
Beaujolais are on both granite (Chiroubles, Fleurie,
Moulin-à-Vent, Chenas) and schist (Morgon, Brouilly,
Julienas, Saint Amour). This is because in Beaujolais
the granite is intensely fractured and deeply weathered
(Pomerol, 1984). Professor Leneuf and Dr Lautel of
Dijon University believe that the particular character
and robustness of Moulin-a-Vent wines may be due to
the presence in the granite of a seam rich in manganese
minerals (Wilson, 1998).
Coonawarra is an area where there is, indeed, a
geological explanation for the success of vineyards in
that area (Hancock & Huggett, 2004). The principal
feature to which the quality of the best Coonawarra
wines has been widely attributed (e.g. Mayo, 1991;
White, 2003) is a narrow strip of Terra Rossa
laterite soil. This soil overlies the Upper Pleistocene
Padthaway Formation. This formation is composed of
lacustrine and lagoonal dolomites, limestone, claystone
and sandstone. The Padthaway Limestone beneath the
Terra Rossa has undergone extensive solution so that
what remains now is a collapsed limestone solution-
breccia (Fig. 7). Hancock & Huggett (2004) estimated
from visual observation that the overall porosity is
high, perhaps S30%. This is a much higher porosity
than should be encountered in the unaltered limestone.
The matrix permeability is inferred to be highly vari-
able. Some of the pebbles and boulders of unaltered
limestone with limited solution porosity will have very
low matrix permeability, probably no more than
5 mD, while the patches of limestone–sand will have
high matrix permeabilities, possibly >100 mD. How-
ever, this contrast is minor compared with the antici-
pated permeability of major vertical joints and sub-
horizontal bedding planes, all enlarged by solution.
Gaps of several centimetres are common, and per-
meabilities of >1 D are anticipated. Thus, the drainage
conditions at Coonawarra are ideal for vines and are
remarkably similar to those in true chalks, as described
by Hancock & Price (1990). The Terra Rossa has a
high mass-permeability and will allow any excess rain-
fall to penetrate the underlying, also highly permeable,
limestone. Hence, after even very heavy rainfall, excess
water will drain away. It follows from this that the
limestone solution-breccia will hold moisture for the
vines, during even months of no rainfall. The annual
rainfall in Coonawarra is around 650–660 mm. It falls
between April and December, particularly during the
winter months, while the harvest coincides with a dry
period (Kidd, 1983; John, 1990). Although some grow-
ers do irrigate, it is clear from the above that irrigation
should only be necessary in Coonawarra for the estab-
lishment of new vines and possibly to ensure the
take-up of nitrogenous manure.
Fig. 7. Terra Rossa laterite on limestone solution-breccia profile at Rouge Homme, Coonawarra. The measuring pole is 1 m.
J. M. HUGGETT
246
6. SUMMARY
In hot climates, prone to summer drought, soil may be
the most important factor after viticulture, while in
cooler climates, slope and slope aspect are probably
the second most important factors. Slope and slope
aspect are controlled by a combination of geomorpho-
logical and geological factors. Only rarely, as in the
Coonawarra and the Douro, is the bedrock an import-
ant factor in wine quality.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Being asked to write this paper and to give the talk that
preceded it meant pay-back time for the author. Pay-
back for the many bottles of excellent wine that Jake
shared with the author at his kitchen table – usually
preceded by consultation as to which would be the best
variety of potato to serve with the chosen wine. The
author would also like to thank Andy Gale and Dick
Selley, whose comments on an earlier draft much
improved the manuscript.
REFERENCES
Berry, E. 1989. The Wines of Alsace. The Bodley Head,
London.
Busby, J. 1825. A treatise on the culture of the vine and the art
of making wine. R. Howe, Government Printer, Australia.
Chappaz, G. 1955. Le Vignoble et le Vin de Champagne. Louis
Lamat, Paris.
Coquand, H. 1857. Réunion extrordinaire a Angoulême du 6
au 14 septembre 1857. Bulletin de la Societeé Géologique de
la France, 14, 841–903.
Forbes, P. 1967. Champagne the Wine, the Land and the
People. William Morrow and Co, New York.
Gadille, R. 1967. Le Vignoble de la Côte bourguignonne. Les
Belles Lettres. Publications de l’Université de Dijon, Paris.
Hancock, J.M. 1999. Feature Review – “Terroir; The role of
Geology, Climate and Culture in the making of French
Wines” by James E. Wilson 1998. Journal of Wine
Research, 10, 43–49.
Hancock, J.M. & Price, M. 1990. Real chalk balances the
water supply. Journal of Wine Research, 1, 45–60.
Hancock, J.M. 2005. Geology of wine. In (Selley, R.C.,
Cocks, L.R.M. & Plimer, I.R.; eds) The Encyclopaedia of
Geology Volume III. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 85–90.
Hancock, J.M. & Huggett, J.M. 2004. The geological controls
in Coonawarra. Journal of Wine Research, 15, 115–122.
Hanson, A. 1995. Burgundy. Faber and Faber, London.
Jackson, R.S. 1995. Wine Science principles and applications.
Academic Press, London.
John, P.G. 1990. Wine making expectations for premium
Coonawarra dry red styles. Proceedings of the 7th
Australian Wine Industry Technical Conference. Publisher?,
Place?, 11–15.
Kidd, C.H. 1983. General description of Coonawarra. In
(Lester, D.C. & Lee, T.H.; eds) Coonawarra Viticulture.
Proceedings of a seminar by the Australian Society of
Viticulture and Oenology, Coonawarra, June. Publisher?,
Place?, 5–6.
Mayo, O. 1991. The wines of Australia. Faber & Faber,
London.
Peynaud, E. 1996. The Taste of Wine. John Wiley and Sons,
Inc, New York.
Pomerol, C. 1989. Terroirs & vins de France. Bureau de
Recherches géologiques et minieres, Orleans (English
translation printed by R. McCarta).
Rankine, B.C., Farnachon, J.C.M., Boehm, E.W. & Cellar,
K.M. 1971. Influence of grape variety, climate and soil on
grape composition and quality of table wines. Vitis, 10,
33–50.
Seguin, G. 1986. “Terroirs” and pedology of wine growing.
Experientia, 42, 861–873.
Selley, R.C. 2004. The winelands of Britain; past, present and
prospective. Petravin, Dorking.
Van Leeuwen, C. 1989. Carte des sols du vignoble de
Saint-Emilion. Syndicat Viticole Saint-Emilion,
Saint-Emilion.
Voss, R. 1995. Wines of the Loire. Faber and Faber, London.
Wallace, P. 1972. Geology of wine. 24th International
Geological Congress (IGC). Publisher?, Place?, Section 6,
359–365.
White, R.E. 2003. Soils for fine Wines. Oxford University
Press, Oxford.
Wilson, J.E. 1998. Terroir, the role of Geology, Climate and
Culture in the Making of French Wines. Mitchell Beazley,
London.
Manuscript received 4 March 2005; revised typescript accepted 11 June 2005
GEOLOGY AND WINE
247
... (geological alteration of the bedrock constitutes the soil parent material). This affects the soil characteristics that govern water dynamics, as well as nutrient availability Huggett, 2006;Morlat and Bodin, 2006). In Brazil, pXRF spectrometry has been applied to determine soil parent materials with adequate accuracy (Mancini et al., 2019), since traces of these materials are left in the soil. ...
... The wine market is traditionally ruled by geology, with the description of the vineyards often found on wine bottles as a guide for consumers (Huggett, 2006). However, the soil- parent material analyses, alongside the pXRF spectrometry, revealed soils which had different tracer characteristics formed from the same parent material (Resende et al., 2019;Silva et al., 2019); this might be due to differential pedogenetic processes promoting soil differentiation. ...
Article
Full-text available
Southeastern Brazil is an emergent region in terms of the production of high-quality fine wines. To contribute to typicity assessment, the soils (morphology, mineralogy, chemical and physical analyses), parent material (geologic maps and portable X-ray fluorescence spectrometry) and climate (temperature and precipitation) were characterized in seven vineyards located in the state of Minas Gerais and São Paulo, Brazil, by carrying out state-of-the-art terroir analysis and assessing the environmental variations of the study sites. A soil profile was described and sampled in the central part of each vineyard. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) biplots were used to analyze the relationships between these factors and the composition of wines (2016, 2017 and 2018 harvests) produced from Syrah in commercial vineyards in different municipalities of Três Corações (TC), Cordislândia (COR), Andradas (AND), São Sebastião do Paraíso (SSP), Três Pontas (TP), Espírito Santo do Pinhal (PIN) and Itobí (ITO). The vineyards were grouped according to soil and climate characteristics. Group A was composed of COR, AND and PIN vineyards, which exhibited the highest correlation with soil Al 3+ content and accumulated rainfall. The group's wines had the lowest ash alkalinity, total polyphenol index (TPI) and pH values and the highest fixed acidity. Group B consisted of the TP and TC vineyards, which had the highest soil organic matter and boron contents and the highest thermal amplitude with similar values (15.4 °C in TC and 15.2 °C in TP); their wines showed average composition. Group C comprised ITO alone, which was characterized by the shallowest and least developed soils. Its wine had the highest flavonol content and high dry extract, color intensity, TPI, alcohol content and sugar values. Group D contained the SSP vineyard, in which the soil subsurface horizons were correlated with the highest wine pH. Late harvest in this vineyard caused the most dehydration of grapes and consequent concentration of most wine compounds (human effect on terroir). The terroir information produced in this study adds substantial value to the wines produced under the tropical environmental conditions of southeastern Brazil, for which such studies are very rare. By characterizing the natural factors (soil, soil parent material and climate) and human factors (vineyard management and wine characteristics) related to terroir, this study can also provide historical information about the wine from this emergent region (the historical factors). In addition, its results can be used to guide producers in their choice of vineyard cultivation sites according to preference in wine composition.
... Soil evaluation is based on avoiding the deleterious characteristics for vines such as flooding, impervious soil layers, excessively low or high nutrient levels or pH and insufficient organic matter [2,3]. In hot climates, prone to summer droughts, soil may be the most important factor after viticulture (grape cultivation and harvesting practices), while in cooler, terrain slope and slope aspect are the second most important [4]. Sandy soils are poor in water holding capacity, but plants absorb easier almost all the available water. ...
... Sandy soils are poor in water holding capacity, but plants absorb easier almost all the available water. High-clay soils hold high quantities of water, but a large proportion of it, is easily absorbed from the vine roots [4]. In general, clayey soils have better water retention capacity and volumetric wetness than sandy soils, and sandy soils have better drainage [5]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Climatic conditions have been acknowledged to affect table-grapes production and postharvest quality. The correlation of the monitored environmental conditions such as rainfall and ambient temperature, with postharvest quality properties such as pedicel detachment force, pH, brix, grape volume, for three cultivation years 2015-2017 was analysed. The significance of the climatic variability on the postharvest quality was examined based on a hydrothermic index used in viticultural zoning namely Branas, Bernon, Levadoux (BBL) for two phenological stages the Budbreak-Flowering and Flowering-Veraison. Their analysis revealed correlations of good efficacy between the BudBreak-Flowering BBL and Flowering-Veraison BBL with the postharvest quality, adopting the Box-Cox transformation for variance stabilization and accuracy improvement of Pearson correlation between the analysed variables. The statistical analysis also revealed specific dependencies of the tested quality properties from the climatic indices and management zones that could be implemented in the postharvest management of table-grapes, according to the management zones delineation as these are determined in the context of the precision viticulture.
... In addition to diversity in landraces, physical factors of weather and climate, including airflow, vineyard slope and orientation, temperature, and water availability can also be an important role, as suggested by Maltman, (2008), researching the sensory qualities of wine grapes. Geological factors, however, generally only influence the sensory quality of wine indirectly, according to Huggett (2006), whereas viticultural methods are more important. All these aspects of the terroir can, as stated by White et al. (2009), contribute to "the perceived enjoyment of wine, independent of the sensory characteristics of the wine itself." ...
Thesis
Full-text available
The underlying assumption throughout this thesis is that the continuity of a cultivated diversity can be strengthened by investigating its sensory qualities and specifying particular culinary utilities of landraces and cultivars. How can a foodstuff’s sensory qualities and culinary utility be explored, tested, and refined together with the food industry and the public meal? This thesis aims to create a path toward sustainable gastronomy with greater sensory variation that originate from a cultivated diversity. The thesis bridges sensory science, culinary arts, and food design, using sensory descriptive methods with consumers as well as trained sensory panelists, consumer tests with different target groups, and a recipe-development process joined up with culinary arts and agriculture. The thesis is based on four papers. Paper One shows that cultivated diversity generates a range of flavors and textures to advance in food and cooking. Paper Two investigates the interacting influence of cultivar, place of cultivation, and year of harvest on the sensory quality of peas. In Paper Three, a recipe development process is modelled and applied to gray peas, showing how appealing plant-based products can be developed. Finally, Paper Four suggests that unique/novel and natural are promising terms to use for plant-based food products, both of which could be strengthened by elements of artisanal but not vegetarian associations. A cyclic investigation and the inclusive continual improvement of a foodstuff’s sensory qualities and culinary utility with purpose and target is proposed and applied in the culinary funnel model (Paper Three), and culinary action as a tool for multi-sectoral cooperation in Paper Four. Since sensory variation is necessary for gastronomic potential, it would be useful to perceive cultivated diversity as a fundamental quality in any cuisine. Who knows which species and cultivars might be favored in the light of climate change, unsustainable resource consumption, and a growing food demand?
... Total As, Cd, and Pb in Vineyards 1 and 2 were significantly higher than Vineyards 3 and 4 in California. However, the variation in the total micronutrient concentrations of these micronutrients is most likely due to geological and pedological differences across the five vineyards [4,9,31]. Soil Cd and Pb were significantly higher in Vineyard 1 than all other vineyards despite being a rural, agricultural area located away from local pollution sources. ...
Article
Full-text available
Wine is a popular beverage and may be a source of nutrient and toxic elements during human consumption. Here, we explored the variation in nutrient and toxic elements from soils to grape berries and commercial white wines (Chardonnay) at five USA vineyards (New York, Vermont, California, Virginia) with strongly contrasting geology, soils, and climates. Samples were analyzed for macronutrients (Ca, K, and Mg), micronutrients (Mn, Cu, and Zn), and toxic elements (As, Cd, and Pb). Our study showed contrasting macronutrient, micronutrient, and toxic element concentrations in soils and in vines, leaves, and grapes. However, plant tissue concentrations did not correspond with total soil concentrations, suggesting a disconnect governing their accumulation. Bioconcentration factors for soil to grape berry transfer suggest the accumulation of Ca, K and Mg in berries while Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, and Pb were generally not accumulated in our study or in previous studies. Wines from the five vineyards studied had comparable nutrient, micronutrient, and toxic metal concentrations as wines from Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Czech Republic, and Japan. The transfer of nutrients and toxic elements from grape berries to wine indicated that only Ca, K, and Mg were added or retained while concentrations of all other micronutrients and toxic elements were somewhat to extensively diminished. Thus, there appears to be a substantial effect on the geochemistry of the wine from the grape from either the fermentation process (i.e., flocculation), or a dilution effect. We conclude that soils, geology, and climate do not appear to generate a unique geochemical terroir as the transfer and concentration of inorganic nutrients appear to be comparable across strongly contrasting vineyards. This has several implications for human health. Nutrients in wine have potential impacts for human nutrition, as wine can meet or exceed the recommended dietary requirements of Ca, K, Mg, and Fe, and toxic metals As and Pb concentrations were also non-trivial.
... Wilson (1998) considerou que aspectos físicos de uma vinha, associados à litologia, podem ser afetados por parâmetros como fluxo de ar, declividade, propriedades térmicas e disponibilidade de água, os quais influenciariam o crescimento da videira. Huggett (2006) observou que, em climas quentes, sujeitos à seca do verão, o solo pode ser o fator mais importante, enquanto em climas mais frios, a declividade e a exposição solar são fatores influentes. Maltmann (2008) refletiu sobre o papel da litologia na tipicidade do vinho, apontando mal-entendidos sobre as relações entre rocha e vinho. ...
... Burgundy), south facing slopes allow for a higher amount of solar radiation reaching the surface, whereas the steeper slopes of esteemed plots (e.g. Burgundy crus) increases light and heat energy interception (Huggett, 2006;Jackson, 2008). Although steep slopes enlarge erosion risks, they enable cold air to drain away during radiative frost events, a frequent event in high latitude vineyards. ...
Article
Viticulture is a complex and dynamic system, where climate is a key environmental component of plant suitability and productivity. From field to farm level, climate also plays a prominent role in ongoing practices, shaping winegrowers’ decision making and adaptive management. With a changing climate, the wine sector faces many environmental and socio-economic challenges, to which winegrowers are required to adapt. Given the perennial nature of grape growing, there is a need to develop strategies that deal with both short- and long-term climate changes, while likewise accounting for contextual vulnerability. The content of this article aims to provide an overview of climate-driven scales, outlining the spatial complexity and temporal dynamics in viticulture. In addressing these aspects, this literature review offers a framework of scale and cross-scale interactions for policymakers and stakeholders to use when considering responses to attenuate climate change and to reduce its impacts on grape and wine production. The article concludes by discussing the local and context-dependent nature of viticulture in a changing global climate, by emphasizing that the question of scale is fundamental to assessing expected impacts, understanding uncertainty and framing sustainable policies and responses over space and in time.
... This study demonstrates that the trend of marketing single origin coffees for their unique flavor profiles does, indeed, have a sound basis. We may be able to improve the classifications with additional data sources, particularly soil types, as this has been demonstrated to affect the flavor of other agricultural commodities, such as wine (Huggett 2006;van Leeuwen 2010). Also, in this study, we are assuming that the country scale is the appropriate one for coffee flavors, whereas distinguishing broader global regions (e.g., Central America vs. Africa) or more localized differences (e.g., Matagalpa, Nicaragua vs. Jinotega, Nicaragua) may be better. ...
Article
Full-text available
We examine the gustatory properties and flavors of 742 coffees from the Cup of Excellence program in Central America to determine if there are distinct quality profiles for each of five coffee-growing countries, which can provide evidence of coffee terroir. We further compare these properties with the price of a coffee at auction to answer the following research questions: (1) Does the presence or absence of specific properties impact a coffee’s price at auction? (2) Can flavor profiles be used to identify a coffee’s country of origin? (3) Are the effects of descriptors upon price mitigated by country, or do they vary by country? Employing statistical and machine learning techniques, we find evidence of terroir in coffee production, and that the country-scale flavor profiles resulting from this can have a substantial impact on the coffee’s auction price. This information can potentially assist coffee growers in aligning their product’s qualities with the qualities their buyers are seeking. It can also enable the development of formal appellations to confirm each country’s unique coffee profile.
Chapter
Terroir can be defined as an interactive cultivated ecosystem, in a given place, including climate, soil, and the vine. Wine sensory attributes are influenced by terroir. The first condition for high terroir expression is that the precocity of the grapevine variety should be suited to the local climatic conditions in such a way that full fruit ripeness is reached by the end of the growing season. The second condition is that vines should experience a factor limiting yield and vigor, e.g., water deficit stress or low nitrogen availability. Because terroir involves many factors, related to both the plant and the physical environment, terroir must be studied by a pluri-disciplinary approach. Terroir expression can be optimized through adequate plant material and vineyard management.
Thesis
In this master thesis several facets of the Late Middle Palaeolithic in Eastern France are examined. The focus of the study is on bifaces of the MTA and their distribution in the southern Burgundy as well their technological background. As a basis for the work the site Charbonnières (Mâcon) and artefacts found there are used. With the help of different investigation methods (e.g. work step analysis, attribute analysis, geographical analysis) a picture of the Paleolithic landscape is drawn. In addition, different theories and thoughts about culture and tradition are worked on. - Authors Version (German) can be requested.
Article
The originally French term terroir has long been used to denote the qualities of a place which influence the qualities of a product such as wine. It has many wider connotations, but in terms of the aptitude of a grape‐growing area of land, is often supposed to rest upon a solid geological basis. Whilst bedrock of some kind is necessary for the formation of soil, and the subsequent cultivation of grapevines, the kind of rock varies widely across wine‐producing areas of the world. Yet in the appreciation of wine, it is sometimes supposed that things like limestone, granite, and chalk may be tasted in the product, signal the terroir it has come from, and justify its reputation. In this commentary I suggest that such evocation of geology forms part of the commercial positioning of wine, but that its over‐use can draw attention away from viticultural opportunity, practice, and savoir‐faire, as well as the rhetorical nature of terroir's communication. In this commentary I suggest that the evocation of solid geology forms part of the commercial positioning of fine wine, but that its over‐use can draw attention away from viticultural opportunity, practice, and savoir‐faire, as well as the rhetorical nature of terroir's communication.
Book
In recent years, viticulture has seen phenomenal growth, particularly in such countries as Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Chile, and South Africa. The surge in production of quality wines in these countries has been built largely on the practice of good enology and investment in high technology in the winery, enabling vintners to produce consistently good, even fine wines. Yet less attention has been paid to the influence of vineyard conditions on wines and their distinctiveness-an influence that is embodied in the French concept of terroir. An essential component of terroir is soil and the interaction between it, local climate, vineyard practices, and grape variety on the quality of grapes and distinctiveness of their flavor. This book considers that component, providing basic information on soil properties and behavior in the context of site selection for new vineyards and on the demands placed on soils for grape growth and production of wines. Soils for Fine Wines will be of interest to professors and upper-level students in enology, viticulture, soils and agronomy as well as wine enthusiasts and professionals in the wine industry.
Article
Chalk is a limestone but should not be confused with normal limestones whose porosities and permeabilities are distinct from those in chalks. Typical chalk has a high porosity of around 30–45%, a low matrix permeability (2–3 mD) and a very high mass permeability (30–3000 mD). These properties mean that chalk provides an ideal drainage for vines, both holding water for the roots during drought and draining easily during heavy rain.
Article
The special feature of the Coonawarra district for the production of quality wines is not the famous Terra Rossa but the underlying limestone. This is an unusual solution-breccia with ideal drainage for holding and providing moisture to the vines.
Soils f or fi ne Wines
  • R E White
White, R.E. 2003. Soils f or fi ne Wines. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Réunion extrordinaire a Angoulême du 6 au 14 septembre 1857
  • Coquand
Coquand, H. 1857. Réunion extrordinaire a Angoulême du 6 au 14 septembre 1857. Bulletin de la Societeé Géologique de la France, 14, 841-903.