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The excellent wines of Anjou are made from vines growing amongst schistous rocks. Wines made from vines planted in chalky soils are weak, colourless, and do not keep well, as those of Champagne. Wines grown on the ashes discharged from volcanos are excellent, as those of Vesuvius and Etna. Soils surcharged with oxide of iron, red or yellow, are not less proper for making good wine. Retentive clays are the worst soils for the vine; the flowers are in great part abortive, the fruit, if it sets, does not ripen well, and the wine, if any can be made, is weak and flavourless.
Speechy observes : “ The soil in which I have known the vine to prosper in the most superlative degree, without artificial aid, is a kind of rich, sandy loam, intermixed with beds of materials like jointed slate or stone, so very soft in its nature as almost to be capable of being crumbled between the fingers.” Cyrus Redding, a well-informed writer on the vine, says: “Though wines of the Gironde in France, so much esteemed, are produced on the plain, the suffrages of that country are decidedly in favour of the hills, which must be understood with the qualification that they are not hills of great elevation, or, in such cases, that only to the lower portion of them the allusion is made. Argillaceous hills are not those in which the vine most delights. Calcareous hills are the best sites for plants producing dry wines, especially when their summits are well wooded, the southern side being open to the sun.”
Speaking of Malaga, in Spain, he says: “ Most of the vines flourish in about 18 inches of rich loam or mould, upon a blue shaly substratum, which scales
up, and mingles with the mould, imparting to it a looseness and free quality allied to rocks or gravelly sites, found to be so congenial to the vine in other countries.”
The vineyards in the wine countries of Douro, in Portugal, and where the port wine is made, “are on the slopes of schistous hills.” Dr. Henderson, a talented writer on wines, says: "The soil on which the valuable wines of Burgundy are grown, consists, in general, of a light black or red loam mixed with the débris of the calcareous rocks on which they repose.” In the province of Andalusia in Spain, where the fine sherry wines are grown, “the soils of the district have been divided by Don Simon de Roxas Clemante, into four orders--viz., Ist. Albariza, which chiefly consists of carbonate of lime with a small admixture of silex and clay, and occasionally magnesia; 2nd. Barros, which is composed of quartzose-sand mixed with clay, and red or yellow ochre, and forms horizontal beds extending along the coast from the Guadalquiver as far as the Conil ; 3rd. Arenas, or pure quartzose-sand; and 4th., Bugeo, which contains argillaceous loam, mixed with carbonate of lime, some quartzose-sand, and a large proportion of vegetable mould. Of these, the first named is the best and most productive.”
Having chosen the site, and fenced in the land so as to prevent the ingress of all animals, you should next prepare the ground by trenching it to a depth of at least 2 feet : if more, all the better. If the soil is very poor, some wellrotted manure may be buried at the bottom of the trenches as the operation proceeds. It must, however, be remembered that manure, even when well decomposed, is apt to impart a bad flavour to the wine, and as such it should always be used with great circumspection. Many of the most celebrated vineyards are never manured.
The numerous varieties of the vine may be divided into three great families—the winegrape, the table-grape, and the raisin-grape. The varieties grown in the provinces of Australia are very numerous, indeed too numerous, and many of the settlers have exercised so little discrimination in the selection of the sorts suited to the soil of their vineyards and other circumstances, that after the lapse of a few years, the grapes afforded only an execrable wine, were quite unfit for the table, and useless for making raisins. The sorts grown for the press in every wine country, may be considered as varieties of the black-cluster, and those sorts from which sweet wines are made as varieties of the mus
cadine. In making the selection for wine, it will be well to confine the number to two or three good varieties, which ripen equally at the same time, as where a number of sorts which ripen at different periods are all grown together in the same vineyard, at the vintage both ripe and green grapes get conveyed to one press, and the result is a poor or bad wine. Good wine can only be made from equally and perfectly-matured grapes. Excellent wine has been made in the colonies of New South Wales and Victoria from the following varieties : for red wine, Scyras, Malbec, Carbenet, Grenache, Carignan, and the Pineau-gris; for white wine, La Folle, Aucarot, the Tokays, and the Verdeilho.
The grapes from which the finest wines are made, are in general not the most profitable to grow: indeed, where the proprietor cannot afford to keep the wine for a few years to perfect its quality, or where the soil, aspect, &c., of the vineyard is not highly favourable for the growth of first-class wine grapes, it will be