The role of Grape Clones in Planting Grapes
However, once it is planted, the clone may develop different characteristics from its parent. Grapevines evolve and mutate based on their surroundings. This occurs through natural selection or mutations between a generation and its offspring.
Many clones are now less susceptible to certain kinds of disease and mildew than the original vine was before these evolutions and mutations. The result is that different clones throughout the world have developed different characteristics than their genetically identical parents.
Over several generations, clones may begin to produce distinctive wines from the original vine. The differences in the flavor profile can range from being very pronounced to being extremely difficult to differentiate even to a refined palate.
Clones have historically been traded between different wine regions throughout the world based on perceived or real similarities in climate and terrain. Often times, there is no track record of exchanging varietals between two regions. Especially when dealing with untested vineyards, vintners often plant several different clones of the same varietal.
Growing a clone in an area where it is not suited will result in mediocre wines. An example of this phenomena occurred when Oregon vintners initially planted Chardonnay clones that had evolved to the warmer temperatures and shorter growing season of California Wine Country. These clones made disappointing wines in their new, cooler home.
However, when cuttings were imported from the cooler, longer growing season of Burgundy, they were a much better match for Oregon’s similar climate. The results were stunning. Oregon has produced a substantial amount of high quality Chardonnay ever since.
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