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HCNRG: English vineyard Terroir - Does geology really matter?

26 January 2022
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Event type:
Lecture, Virtual event, Regional Group
Organised by:
Geological Society Events, Home Counties North Regional Group
Virtual event
Event status:

Time and Location

19.00 hrs GMT. Online via Zoom


Adrian Marsh MSc CGeol, Engineering Geologist

Event Details

England and Wales now have over 800 commercial vineyards producing millions of bottles of wine a year, with several wineries perfecting sparkling wines by the ‘traditional method’ regularly winning top awards against international competition. Climate change affecting vineyards across southern England is frequently cited as the main driver of this relatively recent success. However, climate is only one of the many factors that contribute to a favourable terroir necessary for sustaining flourishing vines and grape harvests. This presentation will outline the main elements of terroir and the complex interactions between vines and the ground they grow in. Many of the major wine producing regions around the world are in relatively monotonous geological provinces in contrast to England’s more diverse soils, geology, geomorphology and hydrogeology. An analysis of some of the industry trade body WineGB’s 2021 top award winners, broken down by the main wine producing regions, examines the role that the different aspects of the soils and geology of the vineyards may be playing in their success.

Speaker details

Adrian is set to retire in 2022 after five decades’ involvement in civil engineering, infrastructure, property and geomaterials planning, design, construction and whole-life asset management. He trained as an engineering geologist at the University of Durham and spent ten years with Rendel Palmer & Tritton (now Rendel) undertaking site investigation, geotechnical design and construction stage projects in UK, Middle East, Asia and Africa. He joined STATS in 1984, subsequently becoming part of RSK in 2008, where he has held various senior technical and oversight roles in engineering geology, and environmental assessment and management.

In 2014, Adrian planted a small vineyard in his garden (Head over Seaford Chalk Formation) in the Chilterns and in 2017/18 completed the WineSkills: Principles of Winemaking short course at Plumpton College in East Sussex, arguably the home of viticulture education in Britain. Several underwhelming vintages later (produced in his amateur home ‘winery’) and his appreciation of the skills of the professionals involved in vineyards and wineries has remained undiminished.


This event is free of charge to all members of the Geological Society Home Counties North Regional Group. Priority will be given to Fellows, Candidate Fellows and Juniors of the Geological Society who are members of the Home Counties North Regional Group. FGS members must register their places in advance and once registered, you will be sent a link with instructions on how to join the lecture. Upon joining the lecture, the host will check you registered ID before letting you in. There may be a little wait, so please try to connect fifteen minutes ahead of 19:00.

Please book your places on a first-come-first-served basis by e-mail to

Please provide your membership number when booking your place.

This event is supported by RSK, and Soil Consultants.