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How deep must sand be to grow vines on their own roots?

I’m not so keen on the SW in March. I don’t mind the cold winters, but last time we went in March we woke up to snow on the beach in St. Jean de Luz!

I do love Plaimont though. I’m a little saddened that TWS claim that standards have dipped since Andre Dubosc has left, as I’ve found nothing of the sort (some of their wines are tremendous quality for a co-op).

The first bit is correct, but many producers choose to graft regardless. The main reason is to protect against nematodes, which are a problem in some areas.

I cannot find out how prevalent grafting is in Chile, but a lot of sources do mention it. Nematodes seem to be a result of common irrigation practices.

Agree completely with the first part, but not the implication in the second that the choice of rootstock doesn’t have an influence on the taste of a wine.

Agree that it is only one small factor in an almost infinite number of factors, and agree that reviewers rarely or never mention it (and wineries are tight lipped about which rootstock/s they use) but if the same winery made wine from the same variety from both grafted and own rooted vines one that matter would be raised. They don’t, of course.

I have tasted and drunk varieties grown on own roots, but not at the same winery, so differences in winemaking, terroir etc make it impossible to lay any difference on the roots used.

I have read in industry papers of the effect different rootstock have on a vines, and viticulturist shave to choose which rootstock/s they will use when planting. There are papers on the web on the effect of rootstocks. Since they can be found by anyone who is interested, I’ll quote just one

Their results were that grafted ‘Shiraz’ had berries with lower soluble solids, but had higher pH, titratable acidity, malate and potassium. Wines made from grafted vines were less dense, had a duller hue than from the own-rooted vines, and had lower values for total phenolics, anthocyanins and ionized anthocyanins. Wine tasters could tell the difference between wines made from grafted or own-rooted vines

Source: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/89f6/307fb00baf15529b7e28e711560264c109e8.pdf


This is turning out to be a fascinating discussion, many thanks to all who have taken part.


Just appeared on my Winesearcher newsletter -

Are they monitoring our conversation or something?

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Interesting article, but some iffy reporting…
For instance, it says Daniel Callan, assistant winemaker and cellar master at Paso Robles’ Daniel Callan … at Paso Robles’ Thacher Winery has worked multiple harvests in South Africa with ungrafted vines.

According to his LinkedIn bio he was in the Cape Jan 14 - April 17 which would give 4 vintages. I don’t believe there are many - if any - ungrafted vineyards* in the Cape and the two Cape wineries he worked at don’t mention using ungrafted grapes.


they made choices based on massal selection, ……… "The diversity helps, because it’s not a clone - that’s exactly a definition of a clone.

*Pedantically, the nurseries are in remote places to plant ungrafted, but they are not produce wine.

Whilst tending to my own grafted, sandy soiled vineyard it occurred to me another question of ungrafted vines: how can one produce ungrafted vines on a large scale and be sure they are the pure form?
I have a few vines I am regrowing. allowing branches from neighboring plants to self-root (mainly because I can’t be bothered to re-order and replant). These will obviously be the same DNA as the original. However if one was to plant vines from seed how do you ensure that the seeds aren’t hybrids? It would be too costly to DNA test every seedling.

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This is something that has always really bothered me. The use of the word clone in the wine world does not actually mean clone. “Clones”, rather than being well, clones, are actually slight varietal mutations.

I always wonder (as with “biodymanic”) how much is actually down to the process involved and how much is down the the extra level of care that people who are tending to/producing wine from ungrafted vines put in, rather than the specific “ungraftedness” of the vines themselves. Fundamentally it’s care and attention to detail on the part of everyone in the process that produces better quality wine.


You can guarantee that any vine grown from a seed will be a completely new variety. That’s how different varieties originated, up to the 1860’s by chance followed by human selection to propagate them by cloning - i.e. taking and planting cuttings. Lately by human selecting and crossing plants.

Just like a couple of humans who have multiple children - same mother, same father - yet the children aren’t identical to each other or their mother.

Suppose you have a vineyard of solely Chardonnay vines. So you take a Chardonnay grape, extract the pips and plant them. Each pip will produce a new variety. Chardonnay, like most other wine vines is hermaphrodite so can fertilise itself. So the new plant is a Chardonnay X Chardonnay cross - it is not Chardonnay.

Chardonnay was a cross of Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc. Suppose you have those two and you cross them. The new plant will still not be Chardonnay, same way that two children of the same parent are not identical.

I think you are using the word ‘hybrid’ to mean a cross. By this definition every single vine that we know is a hybrid, i.e. it has two parents like you and me.

In viticulture hybrid is used to mean a cross between different vine species - usually American vine with vitis vinifera. Your new vine will not be a hybrid unless you have different species in your vineyard, or a vineyard planted solely to hybrids.

How you can ensure what the parents are has defeated experts but it requires the removal of male sexual parts from the to-be mother plant, dusting the female flower with pollen from the chosen male and covering the female flower to prevent accidental pollination. That’s it very briefly.