• Soils for wine-growing


    Soil Wines GrowingTaken in its broadest sense, the notion of “soils for wine-growing”, often referred to as terroir, brings together several different factors: biological (choice of variety), geographical, climatic, geological and pedological (types of soil). Added to these are the human, historical and commercial aspects: for example, the existence of the port at Bordeaux and its commerce with Scandinavian countries encouraged the wine-growers of the 18th century to improve the quality of their wines.

    In the northern hemisphere the vine is cultivated between the latitudes of 35° and 50°; it therefore has to adapt to very different climates. However, the most northerly vineyards usually cultivate only white varieties,

  • Beaujolais Wine - French Wine


    Although Beaujolais is officially within Burgundy, it is usually treated as an independent French wine area. We do this because Beaujolais wine has its own identity which is further strengthened by the considerable publicity that surrounds this individually-minded Burgundian brother.

     The most famous   Beaujolais is the new wine or Nouveau, which is introduced each year with much ado. There is much more though to discover in the Beaujolais, with at least twelve different appellations.

    burgundy WINE *** french WINE

    The area

    Beaujolais starts about 6 miles (10 kilometres ) south of Macon, in the department of Rhône. It is a relatively small area about 37 miles by 71/z miles (60 km long by 12 km) wide that spreads itself across a ridge of hills that border the valley of the Saône. The area is subdivided into two sub-regions: in the north Haut-Beaujolais where the best wines are made, the 10 crus, and Beaujolais Villages. The   soil   is predominantly granite and quartz fragments on a bed of slate.

    The southern part or Bas-Beaujolais has soil that is a mixture of clay and chalk. The everyday white, rose, and red Beaujolais are produced from these vineyards.

    burgundy WINE *** french WINE

    The vineyards

    Only about 2% of the vineyards are planted with Chardonnay. The extremely rare white Beaujolais is made from these grapes. The remainder of the vineyards   are   planted with the Gamay grape. Some   rose   but   mainly reds are made from Gamay.

    The preparation of Beaujolais

    In recent decades the growers of Beaujolais have realised that improvement and above all greater environmental awareness in the protect­ ion   of their   vineyards, combined   with   better equipment and hygiene in the wine cellar improves the quality of the wine. Consequently far less sulphate fertiliser is now used and wine-makers control temperature far better duringvinification.

    burgundy WINE *** french WINE

    This protects the characteristics of   the   soil,   climate, and grape far better. Unfortunately there are still growers in Bea u jolais who want to make a profit as quickly and as cheaply as possible - a scandal  for those hard -working growers who seek to improve the quality of their wine.

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  • Bergerac French Wine


    Bergerac is full of surprises and presents every visitor with the beauty of the natural surroundings, the zeal and passion of the winegrowers, the eternally sought after truffles, other fungi, pate de foie gras, and wild boar of the Perigord, and the emotions that are unleashed with each sip of wine.

    Delight Bergerac WineThe soil of this area is chiefly a mixture of loam and chalk, loam and granite sand on the plateaux, granite sand in the Perigord and river-washed sediments and pebbles. There are terraces with poor soil and a top layer of sediment on the right bank of the Dordogne. The south-facing slopes are covered with stones. The soil on the left bank is very chalky, especially on the slopes of the hills, interspersed with some loam. Everything is present here, just as in the bordering Bordelais, to guarantee high quality for this French wines: plenty of sun, enough rain, harsh winters are not common (the exceptions being 1956, 1985, and 1987). The humidity is fairly high through the proximity with the Atlantic Ocean and the abundance of water in the Dordogne and its many tributaries.

    However good a terroir is it does not actually make the French wine. Vines have been grown in Bergerac for 2,000 years. French wine-making has almost been elevated to art through the input and experience of generations of wine-makers here. Currently most of the younger French wine-growers seek to retain much of the centuries old tradition while adapting to the latest vinifcation techniques. With the different combinations of varying terroirs and grapes, there is a wide range of types of French wine from just 11,000 hectares (12 AC wines).

    Montravel French wineThe grapes used for red French wine are Cabernet Sauvignon (sturdiness, tannin, colour, bouquet (blackcurrant and cedarwood), Cabernet Pranc (prolific bouquet of strawberry and freshly-sliced green pepper, with high alcoholic content), and Merlot (bouquet: cherry, red berries, plum, juicy with a velvet smooth texture).

    White French wines are made with Semillon (sensitivity for noble rot; bouquet: honey, apricot, peach, or mango, with good balance between sweetness and acidity), Sauvignon Blanc (finesse and bouquet of green apple, new-mown grass) and Muscadelle (intense aroma of honeysuckle and acacia).

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  • Champagne: the secret of a sparkling life


      Champagne, the outstanding symbol of festivity, may only be produced in the Champagne region of France. No other wine from wherever else it is made inside France of elsewhere, may not use the prestigious name of Champagne. Champagne is an unparalleled wine.

    The historic heart of Champagne is Reims, about 93 milles north-east of Paris. The geographical centre of the Champagne region is at Epernay, slightly south of Reims. Champagne is subdivided into four large areas: the Montagne de Reims, the Vallée de la Marne, the Côte des Blancs, and finally the Côte de Bar in the department of Aube, between Bar-sur-Seine and Bar-sur-Aube.

  • Côtes du Marmandais

    Côtes du Marmandais

    The Cotes du Marmandais AC vineyards cover 1,800 hectares on the right bank of the Garonne on gently undulating hills with soil of gravel and pebbles, interspersed with calciferous sandstone, and chalkbearing clay.

    White Cotes du Marmandais, made with the Semillon, Sauvignon, Muscadelle and Ugni Blanc, are fine dry French wines that are fresh and fruity with a bouquet of white flowers and sometimes a note of almond. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 10- 12°C.(50-53.6°F).

    The rose is fresh, fruity, and pale. For a good taste drink this French wine at 12°C (53 .6°F). Cotes du Marmandais red is produced with the Bordeaux grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Pranc, Merlot and Malbec, supplemented with the local Abouriou and Per Servadou, and when necessary with a little Gamay and Syrah. It is better value to buy the slightly more expensive cuvees such as Richard Premier, Tap de Perbos, or La Vieille Eglise. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 14- 16°C (57.2-60.8°F) .


    Côtes de St-Mont VDQS

    The Cotes de St-Mont were admitted to VDQS status in 1981. These red and rose French wines are made using Tannat and Per Servadou, supplemented when necessary with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Pranc to provide greater roundness and finesse. This white French wine is blended from typical local varieties such as Gros Manseng, Arrufiac, Petit Manseng and Petit Courbu, with occasional use of a little Clairette.

    The red French wine area is on the eastern and southern facing hills which have two soil types. The stony ground provides a light red wine made by modern methods which is pleasing, comforting but unpretentious to drink well chilled at approx. 12°C (53.6°F). The heavier clay soil produces rounder, more fleshy French wines which can be readily kept. Drink these French wines at 12- 14°C (53 .6- 57.2°F) when young and at 16°C (60.8°F )when mature.

    The rose is soft, very pleasing, and aromatic. The taste is fruity and fresh for a French wine. Drink these French wines at 12°C (53.8°F) .

    The western hills with their soil of chalk and clay deliver very subtle, elegant white French wines. The aromatic properties of the young wine quickly changes to a complex bouquet. Drink this French wine at 10-12°C (50-53.6°F).

    In addition to the VDQS wines listed here there are also some good French wines known as vins de pays des Cotes de Gascogne, which have justifiably established themselves in the past decade.

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  • English wine-growing conditions

    English wines Lamberhust The United Kingdom

    English wine-growing and making was regarded as a bit of a joke until not so long ago but no-one is laughing any more at the fanatical English and Welsh wine growers.

    English and Welsh wine growers have achieved tremendous results during the past fifteen years and by the end of the second millennium wine-making in the United Kingdom had become serious business.

  • New South Wales

      New South Wales is a large wine-growing area of which the only well-known part is the Hunter Valley. The area lies to the south of Canberra and stretches to the north of Sydney and Newcastle.


    Tumbarumba is best known for its sparkling wines. The area is a difficult one for wine-growing with severe winters, excessive rainfall, and cool summers. Despite this the locals manage to produce reasonable to good whites and reds from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir on pretty acid soil.


    This area lies further inland than the previous one. The hot and humid climate in summer makes it ideal here to produce late harvest and noble rot wines, that are mainly made from Semillon. The soil is level layers of sand and loam, interspersed with some clay.



    The Young area lies inland and to the north west of Canberra. The vineyards are sited fairly high on hills. Although there is fairly substantial rainfall here during the otherwise moderately hot summer, irrigation remains necessary. Despite this the Young area produces reasonable to good wines.



    Cowra is situated in the hinterland of Sydney. This is a fairly recent newcomer that is barely more than 25 years old. The vineyards are sited on slopes along the local river. The soil is a mixture of clay, loam, and sand that is fairly highly acidic. The climate tends towards continental with hot dry summers. Despite this there is fairly considerable rainfall during the growing period so that irrigation is not always required. Cowra's wines are mainly whites and they are characterised by plenty of taste for little money.


    Lower Hunter Valley

    This is one of Australia's oldest wine-growing areas, and it is mainly known for its superb Semillon and Syrah. The climate is hot but there is sufficient moisture. The soil on the slopes where the vineyards are situated is mainly sand, which is ideal for white wines.


    Upper Hunter Valley

    This too is a white wine area, mainly producing Chardonnay and Semillon. It is somewhat hotter and drier here than in the Lower Hunter Valley.


    The soil chiefly consists of a mixture of salty and acidic loam and sand. The Upper Hunter Valley is perhaps the most picturesque wine area in Australia.{jcomments on}

  • Penedès Spanish Wine region and climate

    Position, soil, and climate for Penedès wines

    Jean Leon Cabernet Penedes Spanish WinePenedès is situated to the south of Barcelona, divided between the provinces of Barcelona and Tarragona. While the centre for Cava production and trade is San Sadumi d’Anoia, the main centre for still wines is Vilafranca del Penedès. The vineyards are sited between the coastal strip of the Mediterranean and the central plateau, the Meseta. In practice Penedes is subdivided into three large sub-regions. The vineyards of Baix Penedes lie along the coast at a height of 820 feet (250 metres). This is the hottest area and the wines produced here are for daily consumption.

  • Puisseguin Saint-Emilion, Puygueraud and Rame Bordeaux Wines

    Puisseguin-Saint-Émilion (A.O.C.) Bordeaux Wine

    Puisseguin Saint Emilion Bordeaux WinePerched on a natural hill, the Puisseguin commune owes its name to the word puy, meaning mount, and Séguin, one of Charlemagne’s lieutenants who had a chateau built on this strategic site. It was during the eighteenth century that Puisseguin’s economy began to rely largely on wine-growing and winemaking. Pierre Combret, a pioneer in wine-growing agronomy, intro-duced the use of grape varieties known as “noble” and made the most of this terroirs qualities. Many others followed suit. The commune’s future was thus assured and Puisseguin earned its place in Bordeaux wine-growing history.

    Situated at an altitude of 89 meters, Puisseguin’s vineyards enjoy a mainly south- south-east exposure and a dry, bright, almost Mediterranean microclimate—proved by the presence of many holm oaks. Its hilly terrain of clay-limestone soil on a rocky subsoil provides good drainage and allows the vines to develop deep roots which draw out elements essential to the plants’ development. Nearly eighty properties make up this appellation*, including Chateaux Teillac, Guibeau-la-Fourvieille, Roc de Bernon, and Grand-Rigaud.

  • South Australia

    Clare Valley

    This is one of Australia's oldest wine-producing areas which has existed since the second half of the nineteenth century.

    High quality wines, and in particular very aromatic reds and superb floral Rieslings come from the Clare Valley. The climate is predominantly a moderate continental one with big differences between day and night temperatures, especially in summer. There is enough rainfall, mainly in the spring, to make irrigation unnecessary. The soil is mainly open calciferous red or brown clay.


    Adelaide Hills

    The vineyards in this area are sited at heights of 1,312- 1,640 feet (400-500 metres) and are becoming better known thanks to the production of very acceptable sparkling and quality wines. The altitude of the vineyards somewhat mitigates the heat and leads to increased rainfall. Since most of the rain falls in winter though irrigation is still necessary. The soil around Adelaide consists of a fairly infertile mixture of loam and sand.


    McLaren Vale

    McLaren Vale is one of Australia's best wineproducing areas and certainly the best in terms of the varied grapes and types of wine. The area is best known for the powerful dark and very aromatic reds and mighty whites. Despite the cooling effect of the ocean too little rain falls here and irrigation is necessary. McLaren Vale has many different soil types which explains the diversity of the wine. It is mainly sand and loam on underlying clay and chalk, or sand, or red or black weathered loam.


    Barossa Valley

    The Barossa Valley is probably the best-known wine area of Australia, both because of its wines and its rich history. The valley was the first territory of the early German settlers who started the wine industry here. German is still spoken here. The climate is hot, sunny, and with little moisture. Despite this there is little irrigation. The vines are trained low, almost like creepers, and the yield is intentionally kept low. This produces excellent wine which is very concentrated, full of colour and structure. The soil chiefly consists of brown sandy soil or clay to dark sand.



    This is a lesser known wine region on fairly level terrain that largely consists of loam or terra rossa with good underlying drainage. The shortage of rainfall here makes irrigation during summer necessary. The area mainly produces commercial wine but is switching over to quality wines such as those of Hardy.



    This is an extremely well-known area within South Australia where wine-growing started way back in the late nineteenth century. The finest Australian Cabernet Sauvignons originate from here these days. The area is situated immediately behind the coastal strip and is favourably influenced by the ocean. The climate here is a moderate maritime one with fairly cool summers (by Australian standards) .

     The loose red terra rossa soil has become a by-word throughout the world. If there is anywhere in Australia where it is possible to speak of the character of the terroir then it is Coonawarra.

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    Balaton Hungarian wine REGION

    Balaton wineyardThe area surrounding Lake Balaton is ideal for summer holidays. The lake itself is a watersports paradise. The lake is 77 km (48 miles) long and 14 km (9 miles) wide as its broadest point. The water is only some 3-4 metres (10-13 feet) deep except around the Bay of Tihany where the lake can be 12 metres (39 feet) deep.

    The climate is mild in winter and hot in summer (above 25°C). The water temperature varies in the summer between 20 and 26°C (68-78.8°F). In addition to still wines, the wine areas around Lake Balaton also produce several very acceptable sparkling wines.

  • The cycle of work in the vineyard

     Working in vineyardAnnual pruning, aimed at limiting excessive growth of the woody stem and giving a balanced yield, normally takes place between December and March. The potential number of buds is determined by the strength of the plant, and this has a direct effect on the size of the harvest. In spring the work consists of “unearthing” the vines - the soil is raked into the middle of the row, creating a loose layer that should stay relatively dry.

    The ground is tended throughout the whole growing cycle, according to need: self- propagating plants are destroyed, the loose topsoil is maintained and loss of moisture through evaporation is prevented.

  • The French vineyards of Aveyron


    This minuscule area in the heart of the valley of the Lot, between Rouergue and Auvergne, is one of the most picturesque wine-growing areas of France. The French vineyards are situated on steep hills surrounding the town of Entraygues and the village of Le Fel, and total about 20 hectares. Around Entraygues the soil consists of broken granite, while it is brown shale at Le Fel. Both soil types ensure good drainage and temperature regulation by means of the stony ground in this cold wine-growing area. This French wines from Entraygues, Le Fel, and nearby Marcillac were once famous and highly regarded in France. It took until the 1960s before this area started to re-establish itself following the phylloxera epidemic and the emptying of the French countryside.

    The white French wine is made using the old Chenin grape, which produces a fresh wine full of aromas of flowers, citrus fruit, and box. It is a full-bodied wine to be drunk at 10°C (50°F).

    The rose French wine is fresh and somewhat acidic. Drink it at 12°C (53 .6°F).

    The red French wine in common with the rose is aromatic and fresh-tasting. It possesses a fuller, more rounded taste though. This French wine from the Fer Servadou grape (Mansoi) and Cabernet Franc appears to have been made for the regional dishes of the Auvergne and Aveyron, where Montignac appears to remain unheard of. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 16°C (60.8 °F).



    This area around the town of Rodez was one of the classic French wines prior to the phylloxera epidemic. The 135 hectares of vineyards are typically on soil of red clay at the foot of high chalk plateaux.

    The dominant grape for this AC, which was recognised in 1990, is the Mansoi (the local name for the Fer Servadou). The individual character of both Marcillac rose and red wines, which is somewhere between rustic and modern fruitiness, is imparted by the combination of the Mansoi grape and the soil.

    The better Marcillacs are true discoveries for those who like some bite to their wine. The terroir can be tasted in the French wine which has aromas of raspberry, blackcurrant, bilberry, and blackberry, together with vegetal notes of green pepper (paprika) and green chillies.

    There are often also suggestions of cocoa which ensure an extremely complex finish. Spicy and rounded tannin strengthens the individualistic nature of this French wine which is best drunk at 16°C(60.8°F).

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  • Victoria Region

    Great Western

    This area is likely to become better known for its sparkling wines, which are Australia's first. Great Western resembles an Australian

    desert-like version of Tuscany, with many gently undulating hills. The climate is dry but fairly cool by Australian standards.The difference between day and night temperatures can be quite high in summer. There is low rainfall and irrigation is therefore usually necessary. The soil consists principally of layers of poor, highly acidic soil with salty undertones which does not simplify the making of the wines from here.  


    This is a fairly unknown area within the hinterland of Portland. The three well-known grapes of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier provide the basis for sparkling wines. The area is ideally suited for making sparkling wines because it gets relatively less hours of sun than the rest of southern Australia.

    Yarra Valley

    The Yarra Valley, which is better known than the other two areas of Victoria, is situated on the outskirts of Melbourne. The soil is a mixture of loam, clay, and sand that is extremely acidic.

     Some of the better land also has gravel and broken rock. Here too there is insufficient rainfall, making irrigation essential. The climate though is fairly cool, so that the Yarra Valley is able to produce some truly elegant wines.

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  • Wine-growing conditions

      California’s climate is quite varied, which is not surprising given the large area of the state. In rough terms the climate on the coast is similar to the Mediterranean with warm summers and mild winters. Summer in the Central Valley is exceptionally hot and dry, while summer in the area immediately behind the coast is much moister and can be misty.

     The highest temperatures are in the Central Valley and the mildest are on the coast. The North Coast vineyards get the most rainfall. The soil is also varied as a result of the many earthquakes that hane occured throughout the area. The soil varies from alluvial and sedimentary deposits to strata of volcanic origin.

    The notion of terroir that is so strong in Europe is not given much credence in California. The variety of grape is far more likely to be chosen as suitable for the climate than the soil.

    In the past when grapes were just regarded as yet anothe crop, the vines were planted in the most fertile soil, where the highest yield could be expected. This, when combined with the high wine yield from the grapes, expains why the wines used to be so ponderous and characterless. Fortunately the best growers have put an end to that policy.

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