There are three main soil profiles and we plant the varieties that are best suited to them.
The Fordwich Sill
This is a plug of red volcanic clay that was deposited over 200 million years in the North Western corner of the Broke Fordwich region. Geographically it is defined as dolorite and is the weathered product of subterranean lava flows from ancient volcano activity. It is a free-draining soil and rich in minerals such as iron and phosphorous, so we prune to control vine vigour as we want the vines to struggle a bit and produce more concentrated flavours in the grapes. The soil absorbs moisture quickly and releases it slowly – an important bonus for inland regions such as Broke Fordwich. Most of the vines planted on the Fordwich Sill are mature and were planted by Lindemans and Saxonvale in the late 1960’s and early 70’s and Margan have been fortunate to acquire these distinguished vineyards -Timbervines, Saxonvale and Fordwich Hill- over the years. They give a ‘vineyard signature’ and are the cornerstone for the unique style of Margan Wines. Apart from that there are a few pockets of this rare soil in the area including behind the winery on our Ceres Hill vineyard where we have planted Barbera and Merlot.
Sandy River Loam
This soil is found on land on the banks of riverbeds such as here from behind the Restaurant Garden all the way to the Wollombi Brook on the boundary of our property. It has a deep layer of sedimentary material derived from Hawkesbury sandstone laid down as a mixture of silt and sand. It is light, free draining and we have planted Albariño here which is thriving.
This Semillon block is an easterly facing slope made up of a sedimentary grey clay laid down from ancient ocean beds 230 million years ago. It is an infertile soil which causes the vines to struggle, keeping yields low and flavours in the grapes concentrated. The soil ensures acidity in the fruit is high which is the backbone and hallmark of Hunter Valley Semillon and allows it to age.
On the South facing slope of the Ceres Hill Vineyard we have planted chardonnay. It has less sun exposure and the fruit has more delicate flavours and higher acidity which is ideal for wine that can mature.