The role of Soil Fertility in the Vineyard
In most high-quality vineyards, soil fertility is quite low. Grapevines are naturally vigorous plants and very fertile soils produce overgrown canopy and abundant, but mediocre fruit. These grapes taste diluted because the resources of the vine are being stretched too thin.
Ideally, vines will put the majority of their energy into a small amount of grapes. Excessive foliage can also deny grapes the amount of sun-exposure necessary for optimal ripening.
Vineyard managers use different techniques to limit excessive leaves and grapes. Certain rootstocks naturally limit the crop size. Vineyards are often pruned at calculated times to reduce crop size. Additionally, different types of trellises can either limit or increase yields.
Any organic thing that eventually dies and encompasses will add to the fertility of soil. Fertile soils have a lot of organic material and moisture in them. Root systems, insects, bacteria, fungi and animals can also change the composition and drainage capabilities of soil. Soil fertility often varies widely, even in small vineyards.
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