The Vicobarone Winery soils can be divided into four categories, as outlined by the “Alla scoperta delle terre e dei tesori piacentini” research, about the Piacenza terroir.
The Val Tidone clay soils, comprising the Ziano Piacentino area, where Vicobarone is located, can be found in the northern part of the province, bordering with Lombardy.
The hills, located between 200m and 400m a.s.l., are characterized by gentle slopes and their vineyards. The names of some places and villages, such as Creta (clay in Italian) and Calcinara (it recalls the Italian word for lime), are clearly associated to the soil of the area. The Romans were the first to use its materials to produce bricks and tiles and the ancient ovens are a proof of it. The cultivated fields are colored gray because of the rocks’ color. The clay-rich soil is the most common, from superficial to very deep, calcareous and moderately alkaline. The high clay percentage (> 40%) fertilizes the soils, facilitating the creation of swells and contractions. During rainy seasons, the clay holds water, increasing its volume. During summers, the clay dries creating fractures.
The ancient red soil of Creta, Castel San Giovanni and Borgonovo constitute a plain which grew higher because of the Alps and the Apennine range movements. The landscape is composed of wide, wavy or plain areas, between 70m and 350m a.s.l.. These areas are known as paleoterrazzi, ancient terraced areas created from the ancient river sediments, thousands of years ago, when the landscape and the climate were deeply different from today. They are the most ancient soils of Emilia- Romagna.
Fodder fields and vineyards are most common in flatter areas. The vines in the vineyards are usually planted north to South, to better expose the grapes to the sunlight. The ancient soils, known as paleosuoli, have a red color with orange hues and this can be seen in the recently plowed fields between summer and fall. Complex evolution processes caused the red color, due to the iron oxidizing and the black ferro-manganese concretions.
The lower Apennine are composed of a large portion of the Val Tidone (Pianello, Trevozzo and Genepreto) and are located between 250m and 600m a.s.l..
The landscape is a harmonious blend of wavy slopes, some steeper than others, and the Apennine rivers flowing between them. The soils are relatively young, less evolved and differentiated from the original calcareous rocks. Because of their young age, they are very calcareous and moderately alkaline.
Farming intensifies the color of the soils, which is heavily influenced by the geological origin of the rocks: gray undertones from clay-rich rocks, brown-yellowish from arenaceous rocks and extravagant colorways from purple to greenish to gray coming from multicolored clays.
The Middle Apennines, where Nibbiano is, gently blend together with the hills. The great geological variability of the area creates an interesting landscape, between 400m and 1000m a.s.l., with peaks as high as 1200m.
Farming usually takes place on the valley floor and where the land is less steep and more stable compared to the slopes: arable crops and fodder fields are the most common, together with the vineyards.
The materials in the soil come from sedimentary rocks, a combination of calcareous-marly and pelitic-arenaceous layers together with basic clay and marly complexes with calcareous, arenaceous and ophiolite rocks.
The incline of the soil varies from the moderately to the very steep, between 20% and 70%; the ground weaving is medium and can vary be pebbly or very pebbly in the deep horizons, which are usually well drained. Forests are mostly common where the ground is steep or very steep, with oak and chestnut copses. Chestnut plantations are frequent and usually abandoned; vineyards can be found there as well.
- Caratterizzazione ampelografica dei vitigni autoctoni piacentini – Fregoni, Zamboni, Colla (Università Cattolica S.C., 2002)
- Guida ai vitigni d’Italia – Fabio Giavedoni, Maurizio Gily (Slow Food Editore, 2005, ristampa 2010)
- I vini piacentini – Corrado Sforza Fogliani, Serafino Maggi (Camera di Commercio di Piacenza, 1970)
- Piacenza Terra di Vini – Consorzio tutela vini d.o.c. Colli Piacentini (1996)
- I vini e i produttori dei Colli Piacentini – Stefano Quagliaroli (Wissen, 1995)
- Storia e cultura del vino: fonti inedite e casi esemplari sul vino piacentino dall’antichità a oggi – Stefano Pronti (Tip.Le.Co, 2008)
- Sul nome del Gutturnio – Flaminio Ghizzoni (Gallarati, 1979)
- Gutturnium – Serafino Maggi, rivisto da G. Comolli (Consorzio Tutela della d.o.c. dei vini Colli Piacentini, 1989)