Chapter 6

Grapevine Planting Stock

Buying Grapevine Planting Stock

There are many factors that should affect this decision. First and most important is to only work with nurseries that are well established and that have a reputation for producing high-quality, diseaseand pest-free vines. Some nursery practices that will lead to better quality vines include the proper matching of the scion diameter to the rootstock diameter. A good match will allow complete callus development and subsequently a strong graft-union. Other practices used include a hot-water dip and a preventive insecticidal treatment to prevent introduction of pests, especially the vine mealybug, into your vineyard. Healthy planting stocks establish quickly, are better able to withstand stresses such as drought and pests and diseases, and are long lived. Unhealthy vines often fail in the first season, or, if they do eventually become established, they form short-lived vineyards that produce low yields of fruit of poor quality resulting in higher management costs.

Nursery Stock Grades

Nurseries often sell grapevines according to grades of quality such as #1, #2, etc. These growing standards are applied according to the size and branching patterns of the root system.

Certified Grapevines

The most important step to establishing a healthy vineyard is the planting of pathogen-free material. Countries around the world and many U.S. states have developed certification programs to establish a foundation of disease-tested grapevines. Most certification programs limit their testing efforts to viruses. High quality planting stock is available from many nurseries that specialize in grapevines. Planting a new vineyard site with “Certified” vines is your best insurance for a healthy and profitable vineyard for many years to come.

California Grapevine Certification Program

Growers can obtain virus-free and state-certified planting stock from nurseries participating in the California State Department of Food and Agriculture's (CDFA) California Grapevine Certification Program.

Treatment of Nursery Vines

Since certification methods for phylloxera are not foolproof some nurseries as added insurance treat their vines in a hot water dip or with an insecticide to kill any phylloxera that may be present.

Organic Grape Production

Growers must consider where they obtain their planting stock. According to USDA-National Organic Program (NOP) regulation §205.202, “the producer must use organically grown seeds, annual seedlings, and planting stock. The producer may use untreated non-organic seeds and planting stock when equivalent organic varieties are not commercially available, except that organic seed must be used for the production of edible sprouts.

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