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We acquired another property recently for wine production. Of course the property, like others we have acquired, already had its vines removed by the previous owner.

Since we had to apparently replant anyway, we went through the paperwork process to get official permission to change the designated vine types that could be grown. This process to change the registered vines on a property of course takes time. So while that process was ongoing, I let the property lay fallow.

Letting the land lay fallow and rest before replanting.

Letting the land lay fallow and rest before replanting.

When starting the land clearing and mowing process this fall, I discovered that, in fact, the prior vines were often simply cut off just under the soil, rather than actually being ripped out by the roots. Vine roots can go down quite deep, which is why, to do it correctly, we rip out vines before replanting using a mini-excavator.

Most of the world’s wine making vines are European in origin, but are grafted with American rootstock to protect against pylloxera. By not completely removing the American roots what happened next, as would be expected of any vine with intact roots, is the American rootstock grew new above ground canes.

And this happened a lot I found out.

So I started to think. Apparently there is still good root stock there. Why not capitalize on this, and rather than rip out these roots and replanting with new grafted vine starters, as I have done before, why not try simply grafting on the correct wine vines to the existing roots from cuttings from my existing vines? After all, not only are grafted vine starters expensive (and can have a high failure rate), but the site preparation for a complete replanting is also fiscally significant.

So I started to stake out the living American root positions this fall, while the American vine canes still had some of their leaves and could be more easily found. This staking out would protected them from being mowed down during planned late fall land clearing and mowing.

Will start to graft to these canes this spring.

Finding the still living American roots was easier to do before all the vine leaves dropped in the fall.

Finding the still living American roots was easier to do before all the vine leaves dropped in the fall.

There were more living American roots than expected, and all had to be found and staked so they were not cut down during late fall mowing.

There were more living American roots than expected, and all had to be found and staked so they were not cut down during late fall mowing.

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