GEOLOGY OF WINE

GEOLOGY OF WINE

First thing’s first Happy valentines to all the couples out there I hope you have a great day (and evening)!

Now to the  boring part :-). I am not an wine fan, but I have many of my friends who love their wine, red or white, to bits!! I sat down one day with one of them who wanted to share a thing or two about the various brands, how it’s made and where the best wines are found in the world. I must say I was very ignorant about these things until I talked to her. Well during the conversation I also found out why certain farmers chose certain areas to grow their grapes especially in France and one of them was geological. So I went and did my research and i found out that Geology played a 3 part role in the factors that control the wine quality.

Geology can be important for the growers of grapes for wines; it can be ignored by the consumer. Most of the arguments for the importance of ‘terroir’, which includes geology, have been along the lines: ‘‘this wine has one flavour that wine has another flavour, yet they are made from the same grape variety’’. The difference must be something in the ground, i.e., it depends on the geology.

vineyard_4

Geologists have known for a long time that this is a misguided simplification. In the mid-nineteenth century, a distinguished French geologist, Henri Coquand, played a joke on the wine producers by stating that the quality of cognac (which is a distilled product anyway) was directly related to the quantity of chalk in the ground. The zones of quality for cognac are arranged in circles centred on Cognac: the strata have a roughly linear strike NW–SE. The best cognac comes from an area in which chalk is largely absent. In spite of the obvious nonsense of a relationship between chalk and the quality of cognac, the idea is still being quoted today in some books.

As with any agricultural product, there are many factors that control the quality of wine. Geology can play a part in three of these: the temperature around the vines in general and the bunches of grapes in particular; variations in porosity and permeability around the roots of the vine, which will affect both the supply of moisture and the rate at which the vine can take up nourishment through its roots; and variations in the composition of the ground, which will control the availability of nourishment supplied through the roots.

Excerpt from The Encyclopedia of Geology-Volume five

Post author

The RocKe Scientist is an award winning earth science platform based in Kenya.

There are 4 Comments

  1. Posted by peter Reply

    So let me ask is there anywhere in Kenya we can grow grapes for wine??

    • Posted by Jean Reply

      yes. It is already being done in Rift Valley by Leleshwa.

  2. Posted by Jean Reply

    Very well written.

    • Posted by RocKeSci Reply

      Thank you Jean.

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