27 Nov 2015

Waipara soils map to help winemakers with marketing

2:22 pm on 27 November 2015

A new document which pulls together more than two decades of soil science work in the Waipara area in North Canterbury will be a valuable marketing tool for vineyards, an associate professor at Lincoln University says.

Vineyard in Central Otago's Gibbston Valley

The concept of "terroir" might be mainly anecdotal, but soil can influence wines Photo: 123rf

The document was created by Lincoln University and Landcare Research and draws together available information on the geology and soils of the region gathered in the past 20 years.

Associate Professor Roland Harrison said getting to know their soils better was an integral part of winemakers promoting their vineyards, and that the document was another step forward in marketing at cellar doors.

"Although the concept of "terroir" - the relationship between wine and the parent materials in which vines grow - is well-recognised by wine growers, wine makers and consumers, it is tenuous and at times merely anecdotal. However soil attributes are relevant to heat, water storage and drainage, and in this way do influence wine qualities.

"We are better off thinking about what soil does, for example its influence on growth, than simply about the rocks from which the soils are derived. Looking at the whole geology of an area is useful for understanding and telling the "story" of a vineyard. Celebrating differences and variety and diversity is crucial for marketing and the landscape here reflects these."