The Impact of Soil Conductivity on Petit Verdot Ripeness and Wine Quality in VSP Trellising (in collaboration with Bubba Beasley) (2017)

This study attempts to quantify the impact of soil conductivity on VSP-trained Petit Verdot juice and wine chemistry, as well as on the sensory qualities of wine. Soil conductivity was determined by EM mapping performed by Bubba Beasley, in order to find areas of low and high conductivity within the vineyard block. The low conductivity soil had a low rock content, and the high conductivity soil had high rock content (75%, shale). Then, fruit from each conductivity region was harvested on the same day but kept separate and destemmed into two T Bins: One for low conductivity fruit, and the other for high conductivity fruit. Fermentations were punched down twice per day, and all other treatments between wines were identical. Yield and viticultural parameters suggest an ESVC:CW index of 1.2 for both the low conductivity and high conductivity. Acidity and potassium was higher in the high conductivity juice. Indeed, soil pH was found to be negatively correlated to petiolar potassium and positively correlated to fruit pH. Petiolar potassium was also found to be positively correlated to juice potassium. Wine made from higher conductivity grapes had higher acidity and lower potassium. The high conductivity treatment had slightly lower anthocyanin and tannin measures. These results, overall, suggest that the lower conductivity wine had generally “riper” characteristics. These results would not be expected, as the higher conductivity soil (with higher rock content) would be expected to have less total available water in the soil for the grapevines to use. It would be more expected, therefore, that the high conductivity vine would have had less water, and thus potentially more “ripe” chemistry characteristics. Overall, the wines were not found to be significantly different at tastings. There may have been a slight preference for the low conductivity wine, but if so it was very weak. There were slight tendencies for the high conductivity treatment to have higher Acidity and Bitterness, and slightly lower Body. These further suggest a less “ripe” wine was produced at the high conductivity block. This study should be repeated over multiple vintages in order to determine whether these results are replicable.

This study should be read with its companion study in Ballerina trellising.

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The Impact of Soil Conductivity on Petit Verdot Ripeness and Wine Quality in Ballerina Trellising (in collaboration with Bubba Beasley) (2017)

This study attempts to quantify the impact of soil conductivity on ballerina-trained Petit Verdot juice and wine chemistry, as well as on the sensory qualities of wine. Soil conductivity was determined by EM mapping performed by Bubba Beasley, in order to find areas of low and high conductivity within the vineyard block. The low conductivity soil had lower soil rock content (10%, channers), and the high conductivity soil had higher rock content (50%, shale). Then, fruit from each conductivity region was harvested on the same day but kept separate, and destemmed into two T Bins: One for low conductivity fruit, and the other for high conductivity fruit. Fermentations were punched down twice per day, and all other treatments between wines were identical. Average berry weight and cluster weight were slightly higher in the high conductivity treatments. Yield and viticultural parameters suggest an ESVC:CW of 1.7 and 1.9 for the low conductivity and high conductivity, respectively. Juice Brix and potassium was lower, and acidity and nitrogen were higher in the high conductivity treatment. These differences transferred through to wine chemistry. The high conductivity treatment seemed to have lower levels of phenolic compounds, and lower color. These results, overall, suggest that the lower conductivity wine had generally “riper” characteristics. These results would not be expected, as the higher conductivity soil (with higher rock content) would be expected to have less total available water in the soil for the grapevines to use. It would be more expected, therefore, that the high conductivity vine would have had less water, and thus potentially more “ripe” chemistry characteristics. Overall, these wines were not found to be significantly different in triangle testing. No preference trends could be seen. Additionally, descriptive analysis results were inconsistent between tastings, and no general trends can be seen except perhaps that the high conductivity wine had slightly lower Body. In the future, this study should be repeated over multiple vintages, on different grape varieties, and at different sites.

This study should be read with its companion study in VSP trellising.

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Sauvignon Blanc Clonal Investigation (2016)

This study examines the clonal differences between Sauvignon Blanc FPS 1, FPS 18, ENTAV 376, and ENTAV 241 planted in the same year in the same vineyard block. Grapes were harvested and pressed on the same day but kept separate, and all treatments between lots were kept the same. Yields were different between some clones, and the FPS clones tended to have higher malic acid and YAN. Clone 241 tended to have lower acidity and higher pH than the other clones, and the opposite trend was observed for FPS 1. Wines produced from FPS 1 and ENTAV 376 had the highest levels of 3-MH. Descriptive analysis found several differences between clones. Wine made with ENTAV 376 was highest in most sensory descriptors, and most people preferred Clone 376. However, these differences may not all be clonal, but could be due to variations between fermentations. As such, this study should be repeated in order to determine if clone 376 is truly much more aromatically intense.

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Influence of Soil Conductivity on Vineyard Maturity in Cabernet Franc (2014)

Soil electromagnetic conductivity may give information regarding soil drainage, salt composition, nutrient density, and texture.  High electrical conductivity correlates to high cation exchange capacity, and is often found in drier soils (due to less salt leaching) or clay soils.  Electromagnetic conductivity soil mapping was conducted on different vineyard blocks, and Cabernet Franc blocks of low and high conductivity were harvested separately but on the same day and processed identically.  There were no chemical differences between wines, and sensory results were not significant.  However, the trace metal content of the wines were different.

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Influence of Soil Conductivity on Vineyard Maturity in Merlot (2014)

Soil electromagnetic conductivity may give information regarding soil drainage, salt composition, nutrient density, and texture.  High electrical conductivity correlates to high cation exchange capacity, and is often found in drier soils (due to less salt leaching) or clay soils.  Electromagnetic conductivity soil mapping was conducted on different vineyard blocks, and Merlot blocks of low and high conductivity were harvested separately but on the same day and processed identically.  Although laboratory analyses showed little differences between the wines, sensory analysis revealed significant differences between these wines, with a preference for wines made from high conductivity soils.

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