Greg Schultz
February 28, 2014 | Greg Schultz

Red Blotch Virus

In last month’s blog concerning irrigation, I mentioned that this month’s blog would continue with that theme.  However, due to some unforeseen circumstances which have recently become apparent, I will tackle a different subject—the red blotch virus.

Grapevines are subject to several viruses which have been heavily researched and for which there are known treatments.  Grapevine Red Blotch-associated Virus (GRBaV or “red blotch”) was first identified in 2012 and as such is in the early stages of research and understanding.  What is known so far is that a plant with the virus has trouble ripening its fruit and that the disease has been found in California, Washington, several eastern states, and yes, Oregon—including southern Oregon.

It is believed that the virus is transmissible through grafting.  Therefore, nurseries where grapevines are grafted and grown are testing their propagation material and are eliminating material that tests positive for red blotch.  What does this have to do with our vineyard project?  I recently received a phone call:  “We have a problem with your [grapevine] order”.  A consequence of having to cull out infected material is that there may not be enough healthy plant material to fill all of the outstanding orders.  This is exactly what happened. 

What are our options? We could wait another year and feel fairly certain that our original order would be filled as we would be moved to near the top of the list for 2015. Or, we could consider other varietals.  Waiting another year was not appealing.  In considering other varietals we took three factors into account:  (1) from our original site assessment performed by Dr. Greg Jones we looked at the varietals best suited to our location; (2) of those, we considered commercial viability; (3) finally, personal taste.  After getting back with the nursery regarding availability of clean plant material for June delivery, it was a clear choice—Tempranillo FPS 05 (certified) on 101-14 rootstock (certified).  The FPS 05 clone is known as Tinta del Pais in Spain where it originates from the Ribera del Duero region.  We now have 1,945 Tempranillo FPS 05 plants on order and we are…

…one day closer to a vineyard.


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