This month, we’ve been working on a full analysis of the soil across our site.
Soil is essential for people and for the planet: purifying water, capturing carbon, protecting us from flooding, putting food on our tables and - crucially - wine in our glasses!
No two soils are the same but all contain varying proportions of minerals, organic matter, water and air. One of the key elements of a wine region is its soil and for us, combined with aspect and climate, it’s our soil - a low nutrient chalky profile - which gives us such lovely fruit. One of the reasons is that our soil drains well, meaning the ground becomes warmer and the roots become more active earlier which in turn gives us a long growing season - ideal for giving our fruit a long time to ripen and develop complex flavours.
Perhaps surprisingly, a low nutrient soil is better for growing vines - it’s easier to add nutrients rather than take them away. Soil mapping helps us to identify the nutrients we do have and lets us know if there are any missing which will affect plant health and yield. Our soil is quite alkaline which means that certain elements like iron and manganese are less available to the vines, so occasionally, we have to add organic feed. We use an organic plant based fertiliser which is a waste product from corn used to turn into biogas using an anaerobic digester. It’s vegan friendly, natural, a waste product, and UK made, AND it’s much better than using traditional chemicals.
Vines are hardy - and a “poor” soil means flavours are concentrated into a smaller amount of fruit giving us better wine. Though this can be good for us as winemakers, poor soils are not always best for the long term health of a vine so, as with pretty much everything we do, it’s a balancing act.