Soil Science in the Vineyard
What is WineSoil?

WineSoil is a precision soil survey service designed specifically for Oregon winegrowers. This unique approach combines new generation survey techniques with winegrower knowledge to provide customized soil information and interpretations. Soil information is integrated into your overall wine growing techniques and strategies.

Special Features
Intensive Point Specific Sampling
Useful and User Friendly Data
Captures vineyard variability
Characterization of the whole soil profile
Winegrowers knowledge incorporated into sampling and interpretaions
Low-impact soil sampling procedures
Data are georeferenced using GPS
Personalized technical service form professional soil scientist
Customized interpretations and large scale soil maps of your vineyard
Interpretations and maps based on real data
Data compatible with your software and supports geographic information systems
Data can be intergrated with yield, vigor, brix and wine quality data
What soil data are collected with WineSoil?
Customized data from soil profiles (5 foot borings)
Soil thickness, texture, structure, color, and other diagnostic features
Drainage class, depth to rock and restrictive layers
Organic matter content, fertility and pH
Georeferenced sample positional data
What soil interpretations does WineSoil–Precision Soil Survey Provide?
Customized Interpretations

Available water holding capacity and irrigation potential
Drainage needs and capapbilities
Nutrient levels tied to point specific soil data
Erosion control and appropriate conservation practices


Onsite Soil Evaluation
Soil Science in the Vineyard
Commonly Asked Questions
  Why should I get an onsite soil evaluation for my vineyard?  
  An onsite soil evaluation provides baseline soil information on your vineyard for specific soil management and winegrowing issues that you care about. This service provides you with valuable information when you are buying land, so you will know the quality of the soil. Existing soil information is usually limiting for vineyard planning and management decisions. Your first step towards precision soil survey is the Onsite Soil Evaluation. This service adds value to existing soil information and lays the groundwork for precision soil survey. You should have an onsite soil evaluation before you spend money on land, before you plant and before you invest in precision soil survey. The onsite soil evaluation provides:  
Interpretation of existing soil, geology and topographic information
Field investigation and soil borings for an assessment of the existing soil survey map
Investigation of problem soils and characterization of soil variability of the vineyard
Report of findings and recommendations
Estimate of work for WineSoil–Precision Soil Survey
Personalized technical service
  What information will I get from an Onsite Soil Evaluation?  
Site information:
Surficial and bedrock geology
Slope steepness and configuration
Slope aspect

Soil Information:
Custom soil information from the soil borings and soil survey
Detailed onsite soil data and classification from soil test borings
Evaluation of soil map accuracy and presence of contrasting soils not shown on the soil map



Precision Soil Mapping
Red Hill Soils Precision Soil Mapping Service
  Red Hill Soils provides customized precision soil mapping to meet your needs in vineyard management from site selection and development to established vineyards. Red Hill Soils serves Oregon vineyards that produce high quality winegrapes and wines.

The goal of precision soil mapping is to provide winegrowers with precision soil information that plugs into the vineyard's soil variability and allows them to explore new possibilities in producing high quality winegrapes.

The soil map products are at "real-scale", which is on the scale of small blocks or better. Using detailed soil profile data coupled with actual points that are located with a global positioning system (GPS) and are differentially corrected, the precision becomes a matter of one or two meters. At this point the number of potential applications expands exponentially. This GPS-produced soil map can serve as a digital base map of the vineyard when the data is incorporated into geographic information system (GIS) software.


Manage Water
Water Managment: too little water or too much water?
  Too Little water


Irrigation can be valuable especially in dry years on shallow or moderately deep soil profiles. You want to make sure that you are irrigating the right acres. In the Willamette Valley foothill soils, there is a broad range in the available water holding capacity, which is largely controlled by rooting depth and soil texture. Bedrock and very clayey subsoil can restrict rooting depth.

Having real-scale soil maps can be a great aid in deciding where and when to invest dollars in irrigation. Detailed soil data is also useful in locating soil moisture monitoring devices and in extrapolating that for irrigation scheduling across the vineyard. My soil mapping and interpretations will provide you with a unique perspective in the spatial distribution of rooting depth and available water holding capacity. A soil interpretation map of available water holding capacity based on actual soil profiles of known location in your vineyard can be the key to your irrigation planning and operation.
Too Much Water

Soil Drainage

Poor soil drainage can cause a whole suite of problems in the vineyard. Growers in the Willamette Valley have demonstrated success in growing quality winegrapes following drainage of imperfectly drained foothill soils. Artificial drainage is expensive to install. A cost-effective tool for developing a soil-water management plan is to use a precision soil map. The map that I will create will show in "real-scale" the locations of soils by drainage class and their estimated hydraulic conductivity based on actual soil profiles. The precision soil map is an excellent and economical planning tool for identifying the areas that really need drainage and how best to achieve that goal.



Nutrient Management

A sound nutrient sampling program is fundamental to maintaining optimum nutrient balance and desired crop response. Inadequate or unbalanced nutrient supply has costs in vine health and crop quality, while over applying nutrients can cause imbalances, environmental harm and wastes money.

In common practice, the locations of soil samples and the number of samples taken are usually not closely tied to known soil variability and soil distribution. This may be a result of only having soil maps that are too small scale for intensive management. This shortcoming has often been overlooked in the past. New lessons learned from precision agriculture demonstrate the importance of high intensity baseline soils information in both crop response and bottom line.

A precision soil map can be a good tool for developing a framework and strategy for sampling. Often the soil map can reveal spatial patterns that answer questions such as: how have past farming practices affected the topsoil thickness and the content of organic matter and plant nutrients? Am I taking enough soil samples and are they representative? When compared with soil analysis data the precision map may reveal important relationships between soil type or parent material and nutrient supplies in the vineyard.



Soil Variability
Variabilty of Soil Attributes and Spatial Distribution

Existing soil information for most of the Willamette Valley is 1:20,000 scale, and this is inadequate for the intensive management of the region's vineyards. Knowledge about the detailed distribution of soil attributes will help you unravel unique soil-wine nuances, part of the terroir of the vineyard. Greater detail and real-scale data about your soils will enable you to make better predictions of how particular vines will perform on particular soils.

Additional drivers of soil variability include the variable soil parent materials such as silty deposits on lower slopes, variable depth to bedrock, variable hydraulic conductivity of subsoils and the surface soil loss or enrichment depending on past agricultural practices. One of the first steps in managing the soil variability that can affect the quality of winegrapes is to have a soil map at a level of detail that matches your management capabilities. This precision soil map would also serve as a georeferenced base map for future management including stock selection, soil drainage, irrigation, and fertility management.