The effect of Heat Retention on Vineyard Soil
The coarser the soil texture, the more it will absorb and retain heat from the sun. Vineyards that contain a lot of rocks and gravel are warmer than those with sandy or silty soil. The Rhone Valley is famous for its rocky vineyards. Full bodied varietals thrive in these conditions.
Granite is especially heat retentive. In evenings following warm and sunny days, these soils will continue to ripen grapes even after the sun has gone down. Many vineyards in the Sierra Foothills contain a significant amount of granite. Zinfandel does particularly well in these locations.
Dark colored soil has a lot of organic matter and also retains heat well. Dark colors absorb heat more effectively than light colors, which reflect the heat. But these soils do not drain well and are rarely used for high quality grape growing.
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