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The Effect of Fiddletown Soil on Grape Growing

Local vineyards are very stressed in this marginal terrain. Fiddletown borders land that is not arable for grape production. Rainfall is scarce and usually ranges between 30 and 40 inches per year.

Despite these difficult conditions, most vineyards are dry farmed, meaning they are not irrigated. Grape yield rarely exceeds three tons per acre and is usually between one and two. This translates into massively flavored wines. Zinfandel from the region has an uncommon amount of depth and concentration.

The AVA’s soils have a significant amount of granite in them. They are deep, fairly well drained, and very unfertile. These poor soils stress the vines, causing phenols, pigments, and tannins to develop in grape skins. Zinfandel typically gets its body primarily from alcohol, but Fiddletown Zin is also quite tannic.

The scientific name for most of this soil is Sierra-Ahwahee. Its texture is classified as sandy-loam. Most growers choose southwest facing slopes to plant their vines. This allows for the maximum amount of sun exposure during the day to counteract cool overnight temperatures.

Some soil contains a significant amount of oxidized iron and is red in color. Two local wineries, Terra Rouge and Le Mulet Rouge, allude to this red soil in their name.

> Fiddletown and other Sierra Foothills Wineries

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