It all starts with the dirt. Jory, Willakenzie, Nekia, Laurelwood. What’s your preference? Volcanic, sedimentary, blended or on the rocks? One of the things that I often do for buyers and sellers is facilitate soils testing on properties that they are considering for purchase or sale. This is always with an eye toward determining the types of soils and their suitability to vineyard development. The go-to guy for this type of testing is Andy Gallagher of Red Hills Soils. Andy will assess soils on site by either hand augering or dug pits depending on the accessibility and rockiness of the site.
Through an analysis of the soil’s drainage, depth to bedrock, rock type, surface thickness, soils texture, elevations, aspect, water holding capacity, and various other
characteristics Andy generates a report that provides detailed, site-specific soils information, identifies potential vineyard management issues, and provides an estimate of plantable acres. These reports are invaluable for any buyer who is buying a property for the purpose of vineyard development.
It may not be for everyone, but I can think of few things that I enjoy more than spending the day talking dirt with Andy Gallagher, and pondering the nuances of difference that the various soils contribute to fine Pinot Noir made here in Oregon. It is a small glimpse into the mystery of terroir.