This depends on the type of wine. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes for example do best in limestone rich soil. Wine grapes regardless need several minerals to thrive which include calcium, iron, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphates and potassium. The ideal soil should also have a thin topsoil and subsoil and be able to retain heat and water but have good drainage as well.
So would this mean that the soil in wine producing regions is inherently different from non-wine producing regions? Or is that distinction based more upon climate than soil I wonder?
Soil composition varies widely throughout the world, even within your own backyard it is not uniform. Its composition is due to factors such as climate, topography, biological factors, and time, so the ideal soil for wine-making depends on the interplay of soil and climate rather than distinctly one or the other. (http://soils.usda.gov/education/facts/formation.html)
While wine grapes can grow in a variety of soils, many Old World wines such as champagne, are distinctly tied to and named for the lands they grow in because of that lands specific soils and climate. This is why champagne is exculusively produced in the soils of the Champagne region of France, in which climate plays a vital part.
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