Definition - What does Leaching mean?
Leaching is the extraction of material via a liquid. In agriculture, leaching can be referring to two actions:
- The loss of plant nutrients which are water-soluble in the soil
- The application of excess irrigation to prevent loss of soil salinity
Leaching can also be a practice by which excess irrigation is applied in order to avoid a build up of unwanted salts in the soil.
WineFrog explains Leaching
In terms of the vineyard, leaching is the action of losing qualities from the soil. It may be the soils' pH, certain minerals or nutrients. This is also called the action of "carbonating".
In the winery, leaching takes on another definition. In the process of aging wines in oak barrels, certain qualities and characteristics are leached from the barrels into the wine, i.e, tannins and organoleptic compounds.
In addition, leaching is the process via maceration and fermentation which allows the color, tannin and organoleptic structure of grapes to impart itself into the wine.