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2011 May 17 | Project Sunlight - A Winemaker's Education

Archive for May 17th, 2011

The Vines Emerge into the Sunlight!

At long last — actually, it was only two weeks — the Cab Franc vines emerged from the soil.  When we planted the vines, the graft union — the large swollen area where the root stock and the scion met — was hilled over, which is to say, we made a mound of dirt to cover the graft union.  The graft union very quickly sent shoots up, and so this weekend, we removed the dirt that we had mounded over the vine, sprayed for all the diseases that Virginia humidity and (especially) rain can bring, and then place the blue-x grow tubes over the vines.

In this gallery, you see on the ends (I was having a problem with the software, and it was just easier to keep two of the same picture on the ends) a picture of three of the five Cab Franc vines, plus two of the Mammolo Tuscano that we planted earlier, the Mammolos being a gift from Gabrielle Rausse, one of Virginia’s great winemakers.  In the middle, is a picture of the vine that emerged from the graft union that was still buried.

As Gabrielle said to us in a class, “the vine is so smart.”  It definitely knows what to do.  A small cutting from the vine can be made to both bud at one end — giving rise to a vine that will bear fruit — and take root at the other.  Unfortunately, Vitis Vinifera vines from Europe cannnot grow on their own roots here in the U.S.  They will die from Phylloxera (which nearly destroyed the entire wine industry in Europe in the 19th century) or some other North American disease.  To survive, the Vinifera vine must be grafted onto American rootstock.  The rootstock my vines are grafted onto is known as 101-14.

With luck, we’ll be making wine from these vines in three short years!

Bob

May 17, 2011 | By | Reply More
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