The stony phase as a differentiation factor in vineyard soils


Rock fragments, stony soils, terroir


A study has been conducted in a viticulture area near Lezuza (Castilla-La Mancha, Spain) with the main aim of linking the effects of stoniness on vineyard productivity and quality. The studied area is unique because of the very high stoniness (6 of the 11 profiles exceeded 30% and another 3 reached 50%). A discussion is provided on the importance of the stony layer superimposed on the limestone plateau, which produces a clear contrast in the soils since these are two very different types of chemical and mineral substrates (acidic at the surface but calcareous in the subsurface). This special type of stoniness could impart unique characteristics that are highly valued in the current wine market. It was found that the importance of the stony phase is that – apart from the protective role from soil erosion – it plays a definitive role in the conservation of soil moisture, which is relevant during the growth period in the vineyard. The experience accumulated over many years by farmers, in the sense that smaller rock fragments should not be removed from the surface of the agronomic fields, should be taken into consideration, especially if the aim is to conserve soil and water.


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