So the time has come to start with the soil surveying again. This is done by the soil scientists at VinPro and we are working on a 75m grid. The grid is created with the help of GIS, the map is given to the farmer, who gets an excavator to dig the holes on the spots marked on the map.
Then, the soil scientists comes in, maps all the profile holes and then comes back to do the soil sampling. Believe me, it is a lot of work and a lot of walking and climbing in and out of the profile holes – definitely not a job for an office junkie!
I learn a lot by walking with them. You can see a lot of mistakes made during soil preparation, or you can see where it was done correctly. I don’t think farmers or viticulturists give nearly enough attention to soil surveying. I don’t mean studying the pretty maps afterwards, I mean really getting into it with the professionals. Trying to understand how and why a specific soil was formed is fascinating to say the least. You just get a better picture of the vineyard, the irrigation and canopy and how it should or could be managed.
You see mistakes made in blocks with the wrong choice of rootstock – a devastating long term effect on quality and quantity. And once that is done, it is done. Period. Nothing you can do about it.
This is probably one of the most important exercises a farmer can do to ensure long-term longevity for his vineyard and easier year to year, problem free management.