Vine to Wine April 11 2017
We’ve been following this vine in our C Block of Pinot noir grapes since the beginning of the year. We’ve finished pruning and anticipate bud break later this month. Before bud break starts, we’d like to explore the soil type that supports this vine.
Notice the rocks on the soil surface at the base of the vine. They provide a perfect illustration of the parent material of the soil. The soil type of our vine (and most of our vineyard) is Bellpine - classified as a silty, clay loam. It is composed of weathered sedimentary rock and has components of weathered basalt, as well. You can see both the darker, denser basaltic rocks and the lighter, more weathered and crumbly sedimentary rocks on the soil surface. Its components enable it to hold moisture well, thus the rainfall and moisture of the rainy season is stored in the soil throughout the summer months which allows our vines to grow without irrigation. It is a relatively well drained and moderately fertile soil type that occurs on the Willamette Valley foothills. The iron component of the soil gives it a red hue. You’ll find other types of soil in the vineyard, as well. Small areas of our vineyard are planted on Jory soil, which has a similar composition but a greater depth. Areas of our Pinot Gris are planted on Dupee soil, a related class of soils.
It is also important to note that soil is much more than its mineral and physical components. It is the symbiosis of rocks, minerals, different plant species, organic matter, earthworms, bacteria, fungi, small animals, microorganisms, and small spaces filled with air. All these factors interact and must have a healthy environment in which to grow unique and complex wines. In future posts, we’ll explore the affect the soil type has on the taste of the wine. Until then, cheers!