Art of the Vineyard

Best Selling Stories

Soil Nutrients and Flavors

University Studies at Carmody McKnight Vineyard

Correlating Soil Nutrients to Flavors

We know well that a wild blueberry picked in the woods of Maine, or a tomato grown in a backyard with nurtured soils, or that ripe plum plucked from your tree in wild soils taste not much like the fruits and vegetables we now buy in our supermarkets.  The gene-splicing in these frankenfoods are a serious problem, but the major issue is that they grow on shockingly mineral-depleted soils. That is why there are few flavors or much nutrient value present in these frankenfoods.

Natural flavors derive from minerals and nutrients.  It is a simple fact and nature’s way.  Disease defense derives from minerals.  All major experts on this subject agree that most of the illness in this country, like diabetes which is now at epidemic proportions, and obesity (a mineral-starved condition), find their root cause in the mineral depleted soils that dominate our corporate farmlands.

Almost all wine made in this country acquires flavor structure from oak barrels or chips and winemaking manipulation with chemical additives that can be carcinogenic.  But with the new intense concerns about artificial flavor and color and natural flavors, what is actually known about soils and minerals and the relationship to flavor in wine and to our health is becoming front and center for the public and those serious about wine.

These were the scientific queries that prompted the most significant long-term research efforts ever undertaken regarding the impact of soil types, macro and micro nutrients, in respect to wine quality and flavor perceptions.  This innovative research found its ideal location with Carmody McKnight Vineyards.  The understanding of this critical soil-flavor-terroir-wine quality relationship has long been pursued, especially in Europe.  In fact, for centuries; but because of newly developing technologies, this was now the moment and Carmody McKnight was now the place.

For the first time the quality perception of wine ~ which has always been illusive and subject to varying personal interpretations, as well as price, was to be scientifically investigated with a constancy of parameters and vineyard and winemaking controls that heretofore were not available.

This seminal study and ensuing publications correlating soil nutrients to flavors would not only confirm but analyze the process of minerals to taste perception ~ the ultimate challenge of terroir, as well as understanding disease defense which cannot be more vital for all of us.  The Project Title: Assessing the Relationship of Wine Quality to Soil Type: A joint project between Cal Poly Earth and Soil Sciences & Food Chemistry, Food Science, Nutrition, & Statistical Departments, John Deere Global Ag. Services, State of California, Earth Information Technologies Inc., Motorola, and Carmody McKnight. The project was directed by Thomas J. Rice, Ph.D., C.P.S.S., Professor of Earth & Soil Sciences, California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), Earth and Soil Sciences Department; Joseph Montecalvo, Ph.D., Professor of Food Chemistry, Food Science and Nutrition Department Cal Poly, and the Department of Statistical Research, Cal Poly.