Generally, the volcanic soil is supercharged with minerals as mentioned in earlier posting … The minerals are not only vital components to the plants but it helps to synchronize between the microbes in the soil & the roots of the vines.
First of all, we have to understand what contribution do minerals have to offer to a vine.
The essential ones :
Iron – encourage Chlorophyll synthesis and development of enzyme, important for Photosynthesis
Magnesium – absorbability of nutrients, helps generate green color pigment on vine leaves and healthy growth.
Potassium – Balance plant’s metabolism, process protein, build up immune system and increase health
Calcium – Strengthen cell membranes, improve enzyme activity & build-up grape stems resistance, neutralize pH level
Sulfur – Formation of chlorophyll , Amino Acids help healthy fruits development
Phosphorous – encourage roots development, harden tissues/ cell membrane for healthy development, CO2 fixation
Manganese – ( do not confuse with Magnesium ) Essential to Photosynthesis, boosting enzyme
Nitrogen – Heathy metabolism , Build up structure , optimal fruit maturity
Copper - Heathy fruit development, binding cellulose fibers to harden cell walls of fruits & plants
Zinc – Helps to form substance like plant hormone that regulate plant growth
Basically, new volcanic soil (recent formed lava, rocks, obsidians etc. ) are pretty dead , there are no microrganism in it … at least for the first half century until the ashes, pumice been settled & hot molten rocks been cooled down. In Etna , there are extreme condition, harsh environment for all forms of agriculture except for grape vines. It is also the reason why the Phylloxera louse never invaded the volcanic ground during the epidemic of the late 19th century.
The volcanic soil is mostly composed of segments of ash, lava, rocks etc. Generally, they are rich in the above mentioned elements specially Calcium, Iron & Magnesium. In addition, its porous forms of soil allow water to be contained and delivered to the sub-soil. This will provide vine roots to have enough water during the dry fruiting season.
What makes Etna even more special, except the fact that it is an active volcano which still erupts once in a while, are the extreme old vines that has been surviving in the surrounding areas. Among all the places (vineyards) around the globe that I visited, I am thrilled by this unique growing environment . You have seen nothing yet if you still bare the idea of pre-phylloxera vines only can be found in Australia …etc !
The coincidentally happened perfect senario for producing great wine makes Etna as a gift from God, ironically.
Run to the nearest wine shop to try one If you haven’t tasted the Nectare of Volcano yet !