Soil Mapping for Vineyards
Mapping and understanding your site and soils before you design your vineyard could mean the difference between success and failure. Two things that you need for this are;
1) a detailed base map and 2) an accurate soil map
A detailed base map is a map of the property which shows topography, all existing conditions including roads, buildings, fences, trees, etc. Generally these are produced from aerial photography flown specifically for your property. There are very few counties that have base map information accurate enough for this purpose. Even in those areas, a base map prepared specifically for your site is important to your success, site design and future vineyard management. Generally, we suggest a base map with 2' topography. Why 2' topo instead of readily available 10' or 20' topo? Vines are very sensitive to excess soil moisture. The more detailed the topography is the easier it will be to avoid dead or diseased vines and therefore avoid areas with poor quality fruit.
An accurate soils map prepared specifically with your needs in mind will:
- Propose block layout that will maximize your specific goals
- help with choice of varieties and rootstocks
- define site preparation needs
- reduce future management needs
- maximize the sites potential for quality fruit
Why is it important to have a consultant familiar with the physiographic province, underlying geology and local soils? Understanding how the landforms, geology and soils developed is critical to the proper analysis and interpretation of how these will affect vineyard potential, proper variety and rootstock selection and/or site preparation and maintenance. Good soils and geologic information adds reliability and will reduce long term costs.
Make sure that your consultant has experience in the region and specifically with the geologic formations and local soils.