Grafting and its importance in Planting Grapes
Although Native American vines were resistant to the pest, they made very different wines that were not acceptable to European palates. The solution was to graft Vitis vinifera cuttings onto Native American rootstocks. Grafting is a process in which a Vitis vinifera cutting is fit onto a slice in a resistant rootstock.
Because every living thing adapts to its surroundings, there can be significant differences even within individual types of rootstock and varietals. For example, Native American rootstocks from the Northeastern United States and Canada have developed a strong resistance to cold weather. Their counterparts that have historically been grown in warmer areas do not have these same characteristics. Others have been bred to resist local pests and diseases.
Additionally, Oregon vintners initially had little success with Chardonnay that was imported from California Wine Country. The varietal had adapted to the warmer weather and was not a good fit for the cooler state. However, Chardonnay cuttings from Burgundy have been very successful. The evolved characteristics from the cooler French region were a much better fit for Oregon’s climate.
Therefore, it is not sufficient to properly match rootstocks and varietals with one another. Other factors such as soil, temperature, weather, etc. must be taken into consideration. Needless to say, this science requires considerable expertise and experience.
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