Previous research suggests that geophysical surveys have the potential to increase vineyard profitability and improve wine quality by shaping vineyard management practices to make the most of small-scale soil variations, unique to the growing site. It has also been suggested that geophysics could serve as a useful tool for prospecting and site selection
Soil properties have long been known to affect wine quality and numerous published works have attempted to shed light on this complex dynamic . A recent study in Virginia suggested correlations between soil K and fruit pH (an important wine quality parameter affected by fruit K ) on single sites with other confounding viticultural and environmental variables controlled
Potassium availability in the soil can vary greatly and deficiencies can occur; however, in Virginia excess K by wine grapes is much more common than K deficiency. Growers are commonly led to believe by laboratory analysis that potassium levels in their soils are low, when petiole analysis from the same location often shows elevated K levels in the plant tissue. This has historically led to unnecessary K additions to many Mid-Atlantic vineyards and has recently brought potassium nutrition into the spotlight in the commercial wine industry of the Mid- Atlantic US.
This work integrates EM mapping and GIS technology, field geology and experimental winemaking to examine the soil- vine relationship within a single vineyard block.
Paper presented at the XI International Terroir Congress, July 2016, McMinnville, Oregon (USA).