The role of Clay soil in Vineyards
There are three major types of clay: illite, kaolinite and montmorillonite-smectite. They are made of feldspar, quartz, carbonates and organic material. In nature, clay is almost always mixed together with other materials.
Few varietals like a large percentage of clay as it is difficult to plow and aerate. Root systems have a difficult time penetrating and expanding in these soils.
Because clay has a lot of minerals, grapevines need some to survive. In general, between 5%-10% clay is the best range for quality grape growing.
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