The Implications For Our Health
As this confluence of soil constituents are found nowhere else, the Carmody McKnight vineyards are particularly suitable for these innovative technological investigations and agricultural applications. For the first time, the centuries-long quest to understand “terroir” is at hand! The vineyards are the supreme example of sustainability in farming.
In the book Terroir by James E. Wilson, the author describes the legendary soils of France. He describes calcium montmorillonite which in France is called “the wonder soil,” “swelling clays.” Wilson states that calcium montmorillonite is “characterized by its incredible cation-exchange capacity (cations are atoms or molecules with a positive electrical charge and the ability to hold a large amount of plant essential nutrients). This quality is as vital to the life functioning of the vineplant as oxygen is to the human bloodstream. It is how plants get their nutrients and neutralize toxic chemicals.”
Calcium montmorillonite has the unique property of extraordinary moisture retention ~ qualities contributing to supreme balance. Limestone and calcium montmorillonite are the two most important soil constituents in the renowned French vineyards ~ known to contribute to wine greatness, and without them — wine inferiority. Do they exist in California? Almost nowhere. Not in Napa, nor Sonoma. Not in Santa Barbara. Limestone and calcium montmorillonite exist in the Carmody McKnight vineyards — in abundance!
It also has to be noted that in the Carmody McKnight vineyards there is a third component ~ backyard volcanoes, volcanic intrusion, magma, guaranteeing the most mineral abundant wine and the cleanest, purest varietal expression!
These studies with their world reach have profound implications for not only perceiving flavor and quality in what we eat and drink, especially wine, but also for our very health. Nothing is more misunderstood than the issue of nutrients relating to our well-being. There are endless diet discussions and diet programs and regimens that sort out varying food that might achieve a certain end such as weight loss and control. But it is beside the point in what the body demands to operate at the highest level of health, energy, and resistance to disease. That is mainly the result of nutrient intake, and the focus must be on the soils from which any food originates. What we eat is only as good for us as the nutrient wealth of the soils from which all our food derives. What is the nutrient quality and availability in the soil? That must be the constant question and focus, and we must see the proof in superior soil testing and evaluation. Unless we can examine "the blood test" of the soil we really know nothing. These significant studies made this a thesis and nothing is more important for our health and the quality of our life.
Professor Thomas J. Rice prepared the following project synopsis ~ project title: "Assessing Wine Quality Relationships to Soil Types"
1. Produce detailed soil map for Blocks 3-4-5 of Carmody McKnight vineyards. (Use existing EarthIT information from June 2003 to revise previous soils maps conducted by the Cal Poly and the USDA).
2. Obtain soil physical and geochemical properties (to four feet) for the major soils in these blocks. Describe each soil according to USDA standards, sample each morphologic soil horizon, and obtain geochemical data for all morphologic soil horizons.
3. Based on the soils maps and soils data, partition zones within the wine grape varieties (Cabernet Franc-Bl. 3, Merlot-Bl. 4, Cabernet Sauvignon-Bl. 5). A wine grape plot sampling will be designed to sample grapes from the same variety on significantly different soils, all other factors being equal.
4. Assess the wine grape quality parameters (inorganic and organic components).
5. Statistically compare the "inorganic" wine grape parameters with the inorganic soil geochemical properties. Statistically compare the “organic” wine grape parameters among the different soil types. Dr. Montecalvo will conduct the wine property analyses to begin to determine the differences between the wines harvested on varying soil types, all other factors being equal (grape variety, climate, vineyard management, etc.). A sampling regime will be conducted to capture changes/differences in the chemistry/flavor profiles. The group will measure the most important "grape must" and "wine" organic and inorganic properties in order to distinguish differences among similar genetic wine grape varieties grown on differing soil types.
The result: Terroir has become a science!
Brent Hallock, an esteemed professor from Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, recently addressed a Paso Robles audience of 300 winemakers, viticulturalists, and oenological enthusiasts on the most important subject in viticulture today. Professor Hallock explained that with the reevaluation of grape-growing regions in light of global warming, the consensus of earth and climate scientists, including the National Academy of Science, is that the immediate area of the Carmody McKnight vineyards in the Westside of Paso Robles is the only Premium Wine Growing region in California. The professor might as well have added -- and all of the United States and Europe.