El Dorado Terrain & Soil
The Effect of Soil & Terrain on El Dorado Grape Growing
El Dorado vineyards are planted on mountain slopes in the Sierra Foothills. The topsoil is laden with granite deposits and has a low pH. It has very little organic material, and is very unfertile. Vineyards grown in this granitic soil have naturally low yields. This is the source of the big Zinfandels that local wineries are famous for.
While granite dominates much of the landscape in the El Dorado AVA, there are some isolated properties that are comprised of ancient lava flows. An example of this less common phenomenon is Lava Cap Winery.
The El Dorado AVA is full of watersheds and canyons that have been cut by water through the rocky ground. After it rains, water drains very fast, and the soil does not retain water effectively. This further stresses the vines, leading to thicker skins and more pigments and tannins.
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