Grapes and Soil type: A strong bond
There are several types of soils in which grapevines grow, sandy soils, clay, silt, loam or volcanic soils and each one of them has a substantial impact on the grapes’ character.
Sandy soils are made of large particles, are well-drained and retain heat. In warm climates, sandy soils make wines that are softer with lighter acidity and tannin and less color. In cooler region, sandy soils retain heat and drain well to produce highly aromatic wines. Sandy soils also shows resistance to pests.
Clay soil is made up of tiny particles that tend to store water for a longer period. In extreme weather conditions, clay soil tends to remain cooler which greatly benefits the grape vines. In warmer climates, clay soils retain moisture.
Silt soils retain water and heat, which is due to the small particles of soil. A silt soil is moderately porous. These soils are especially interesting in cool climates with a lot of light hours as the soil can warm up from the sunlight and allow for grape vines to have better soil temperatures to grow in. The wines produced in silt are smoother with lesser acidity.
Loam is nearly an equal mix of silt, clay and sand as well as an organic matter called humus. The characteristics of loam soil are known to be very fertile, thus it has to blended with other types of soils for healthy growth of grapes. Many experts consider loamy soil as the best type of soil for grape growing. This is because the clay in loam allows it to absorb the right quantity of water and nutrients, whereas the sand allows it to drain well.
Volcanic soil is finely grained, retains and reflects heat, drains well and holds water. Also is rich in specific minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Not all volcanic soils are suitable for grape-growing, but when certain conditions are fulfilled then the result is definitely an exceptional wine.