The role of Limestone in Vineyard Soil
It is made of calcium carbonates, has a high pH and is usually grey in color. Fossilized seashells are often found in these soils. An exception is chalk, a type of limestone that is white.
The Gabilan Mountain Range in Central California contains a significant amount of limestone. The Chalone and Mount Harlan AVAs are both located in these mountains and not surprisingly, excel at producing Chardonnay.
Sometimes a region’s hydrology will leach the carbonates out of limestone. The resulting soil turns red and is known as “Terra Rossa.” There is a significant amount of Terra Rossa in the Coonawarra region of Australia.
Limestone increases acidity in grapes. Wines that rely on high acidity do particularly well when grown in limestone soils. Tufa is a very porous type of limestone that is found near waterfalls.
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