Types of Vineyard Soil

Vineyard soils are as diverse as the types of wines that come from their crops. From the terra rosa in Australia and the Mediterranean, to the loamy marl or the volcanic soil of Tuscany in Italy, the diversity in vineyard soils is huge. Vineyards are present throughout the world. Every region has its own soil type suited to its climate and topography. The soil in which the grape vines are grown greatly affects the nature and the taste of the resultant wine. Some soil types have been globally recognized as some of the best for cultivation of grapes in vineyards.

Terra Rosa

Terra rosa literally means red soil. The soil derives its color from the iron oxide present in liberal amounts in it. Terra rosa primarily is a sandy soil. It is found primarily in vineyards of Coonawarra in Australia. Regions in the Mediterranean also have this soil type. Due to its loose nature, drainage needs to be monitored carefully as water retention is minimal. This soil is rich in minerals both ferric and calcite in nature. Ideal for cultivation of some of the best red wine grapes like the Cabernet Sauvignon, this soil is recognized as one of the best amidst the diversity in vineyard soils, the Wynns Coonawarra Estate states.

Keuper Marl

Keuper marl is a result of weathering of highland rocks. Rich in silicate and calcite minerals, this soil is predominantly rich in clay minerals. It is known for its high limestone and dolomite content. It is believed to be one of the best soils for vineyards, and is found in the home of the best wines as well; France, the Geo Science World states. In the Loire Valley and Alsace, this particular type of soil is widely used in grape cultivation on a commercial scale and resultantly these regions are home to some of the best vineyards in the world. Keuper Marl is best suited for Pinot noir variety of red wine grapes.


Slate soil is soft when it is wet. It does not retain moisture and does not become sticky or cracked. Otherwise quite infertile, this soil type is best suited to the cultivation of the Riesling which is the finest grape variety for white wines. The slate warms quickly in the sun and retains the heat through the evenings making it one of the best soils for vineyards. Grape vines get favorable temperatures throughout the day. Found extensively in the Mosel Vineyards in Germany, this soil is not very rich in non calcite minerals, but the composition is just ideal for white grape varieties. Slate from different slopes lends an individual flavor to the wine that comes from its grapes.

Keywords: vineyard soils, soils for vineyards, vineyard soil diversity

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Devin Dupre-Neary has a bachelor's degree in nursing from UC Davis. Rather than move towards a master's or work in a hospital, he chose a different route. In 2009, he wrote professionally, part-time, writing articles on a host of subjects from health issues to gardening.