Vineyards, Rocks, and Soils: The Wine Lover's Guide to Geology

ISBN : 9780190863289

Alex Maltman
256 ページ
164 x 242 mm




Shortlisted for the 2018 Andre Simon Food and Drink Book Awards


  • Vineyard geology is the new "hot topic" among wine connoisseurs, and is rapidly becoming a must-know when selecting a wine
  • Few wine writers have geological training, and geology is a highly conceptual subject, not easy to pick up quickly; author Alex Maltman, a trained geologist and longtime wine enthusiast, offers his expertise in an easy-to-read manner
  • Maltman points out many of the geological errors, misconceptions and misunderstandings rife in wine literature and descriptions

Jurassic, basalt, moraine, flint, alluvial, magma: what are these words and what do they have to do with wine? The answers are here in this book. They are geological terms that reflect a bond between wine and the land. Understanding geology, however, is tricky. Geological concepts are obscure; processes can be imperceptibly slow, invisible, and unimaginably ancient. The terminology is formidable, such that even the names of common rocks carry an air of mystery. 
Geology is introduced plainly, starting with basic principles, all in the context of wine. The emphasis is on the kinds of processes that shape vineyards, and on the minerals, rocks and soils that host the vines. Geological words now commonly seen in wine writings are systematically explained. You will learn the stories behind some of the names, the human face of geology. 
The book also explores how the geology-wine connection manifests in the finished product and evaluates its importance, particularly in the contexts of minerality, terroir, and wine taste. The fact is that geology is increasingly being promoted in the world of wine; the aim here is to help it be properly understood.


Abbreviations and Conversions
1. What are Vineyards Made Of?
2. How Minerals Work
3. The Minerals that Make Rocks and Soils
4. Igneous Rocks
5. Sediments and Sedimentary Rocks
6. Metamorphic Rocks
7. The Rocks Change Shape: Folds, Faults, and Joints
8. The Lay of the Land
9. Weathering, Soil, and the Minerals in Wine
10. Soil, Water, Sunshine, and the Concept of Terroir
11. Vineyards and the Mists of Geological Time
12. Epilogue: So is Vineyard Geology Important for Wine Taste?


Alex Maltman is Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University, in Wales, U.K. Alongside a long and decorated research and teaching career in Geology, for over forty years he has grown vines and made wine as a hobby.

"No student of wine should be without this book; every wine writer and sommelier should read it several times. Supposing that we all do this, the language and discourse of wine will move forward" - Andrew Jefford, Decanter Magazine

"In contrast to previous books on wine and geology, Maltman actually aims to evaluate how geology might be relevant to wine. He is well qualified for the task, with experience growing his own vines and a university career in teaching and research in geology." - Michael Summerfield, The World of Fine Wine Magazine