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Geology and Wine

Kaiserstuhl vineyard Washington vineyard roussillon vines in gravel Tenerife vines
Vineyard in former quarry on the Kaiserstuhl volcano (Miocene),
Rhine graben, Germany

Red Willow Vineyard, Washington, USA, with the Horse Heaven Hills (Columbia River Basalts, Miocene) behind. The ridge is part of
the Yakima Fold Belt.

Images: Roger Suthren

Côtes du Roussillon vines growing in poor
soils on Pleistocene river gravels, France.
Trellised vines around potato fields, mulched with pumice from
Plinian fall deposits. Tenerife, Canary Islands.

General links on geology and wine

Wines from volcanoes

Geological wines

This is just a small selection of wines and wineries with geological names.



I regularly give a talk on Geology and Wine in Southern France to student geological societies and amateur geology and other groups. One recent talk and tasting was at a meeting of the Shropshire Geological Society. Here is a list of the wines we tasted in September 2022.


Bordelais (Bordeaux region)


Bourgogne (Burgundy)




South Africa

Further Reading

ANGLADE, P. 1990. Larousse Wines and Vineyards of France. Ebury Press, London. A comprehensive encyclopaedia of the grapes, wines and vineyards of France, including some information on geology and soils.

FRANKEL, C. 2014. Land and Wine. The French Terroir. The University of Chicago Press. An interesting and informative tour around the main French wine regions.

POMEROL, C. (ed.). 1989. The Wines and Winelands of France. Geological Journeys. Robertson McCarta, London. Guided itineraries to the main vineyard areas, linked to the Guides Géologiques Régionaux 'red guides' published by Masson.

WILSON, J.E. 1998. Terroir. The Role of Geology, Climate and Culture in the Making of French Wines. Well illustrated and interesting account of the influence of geology on winemaking, written by a petroleum geologist. Somewhat marred by frequent geological and geographical errors in the Languedoc chapter.

SUTHREN, R.J., FOWLER, M.B. & GUION, P.D. 2006. Terroir, wine and geoscience fieldwork education in Languedoc-Roussillon, southern France. In Macqueen, R.W. and Meinert, L.D. (eds.): Fine Wine and Terroir, The Geoscience Perspective. Geoscience Canada Reprint Series 9, 233-246.


This page is maintained by Roger Suthren. Last updated 27 November, 2022 5:57 PM