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The Impact of Ben Lomond Soil & Terrain on Grape Growing

The elevation of the AVA ranges from 400 to 3,000 feet above sea level. The topsoil is made of weathered granite, sandstone, and quartz. It is deep and well drained. The subsoil of the region is very light in color and also drains well. Most vineyard roots reach from five to eight feet into the ground.

Some of the more elevated parts of the AVA are particularly steep and can have slopes of up to 75%. Obviously vineyards are not planted on these extremely steep hills, and vines are concentrated in lower parts of the region.

In addition to vineyards and redwood trees, Douglas firs, madrone, and oak trees dot the landscape. Because there is so much natural vegetation in the area, most of the ground is covered with about two inches of decomposing organic material. This includes pine needles, leaves, and twigs.

If proper care is not taken during vineyard development, erosion can be a problem in Ben Lomond. Fortunately, the grape growers in the region are known for their environmental sensitivity and take steps to stem this process. They only clear as much land as they need to, and often plant cover crops to keep the soil intact and healthy.

> Ben Lomond and other Bay Area Wineries

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