Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Lucie Morton and Ernest “Bubba” Beasley Talk Dirt!

Recently, Dave McIntyre, of the Washington Post, wrote an article entitled "Does Dirt Really Matter?" and in it he wrote a story about famed vineyardist Lucie Morton, and her new protege'/partner Ernest "Bubba" Beasley. I talked with Lucie and Bubba at the Eastern Wineries Expo 2006 in Lancaster in March and asked them about their findings.
If there was a single message it was this: JUST SAY 'NO!' TO POTASSIUM!
"Beasley, 33, and Morton, 65, make an odd couple of viticulture. He’s a University of Georgia-trained geologist who uses high-tech electromagnetic imaging along with traditional digging to create an underground map of a vineyard site, a technique he calls “ground truthing.” Morton learned viticulture in the 1970s at the University of Montpellier in France and is one of this country’s leading ampelographers (expert in grape varieties). She consults for several high-profile Mid-Atlantic wineries, and she recently began using a drone to combine aerial photography with Beasley’s sub-surface imagery to create comprehensive maps of vineyard sites," wrote McIntrye.
"And their research, in collaboration with scientists Clifford Ambers and Lance Kearns and funded by the Virginia Wine Board, has focused on potassium in particular. The clay soil that yielded the lesser wine in their experiment was significantly higher in potassium than the gravelly subsoil in the other plot. High potassium levels — common in Virginia vineyards — can lead to poor color and low acidity in wine while leaving the wine vulnerable to spoilage. Yet many grape growers add potassium to their soil. That’s because traditional soil analysis, aimed at cash crops such as corn, looks only at the surface soil. Vine roots grow deeper, where potassium levels may be higher."

Ernest "Bubba" Beasley earned his BS in geology at James Madison University, his MS in geology at the University of Georgia, and has over a decade of experience working in the environmental and wine industries. He founded HydroGeo Environmental in 2013 to build upon  his experience in  conventional environmental consulting. In addition to  environmental and groundwater services,  HydroGeo offers  cutting-edge geoscience solutions for wine growing.
Their work together is compelling. Watch this video and see if you don't get the drift. Just say no to potassium. Its age old wisdom that is wrong for a number of crops, especially grapes. Many major vineyard folks are picking up this new mantra, but it's a long road to make sure all the extension agents throughout the northeast get the message!
Bubba and Lucy Talk Dirt. Click link below for VIDEO
Here's a link to Dave's piece here....
Here's a link to Mr. Beasley's consulting company: