Greg Schultz
July 21, 2013 | Greg Schultz

Varietals and Rootstock

The choice of rootstock was fairly easy; the choice of grape variety not so easy.  Because of the aphid-like pest phylloxera’s appetite for European wine grape roots, almost all European wine grapes grown in most parts of the world are grafted to American grape rootstocks.  There is a long and interesting history behind this unfortunate situation—but if there is a positive note, I personally find the grafting process fascinating.  Rootstocks are known by scientific names, nicknames, and made up numbers—I know of no better way to describe it.  Two rootstocks which have proven to be successful in southern Oregon are 101-14 and 3309.  Either of these will work for us per consultation with Dr. Greg Jones, Chris Hubert, and Ron Burley—101-14 it is!

Our site is a medium heat site, with good sun exposure, full irrigation, and good soil.  It is, therefore, well-suited for many red and white varietals of interest to Debbie and me (i.e. the ones we like to drink :) ).   With “just” 1.25 acres to plant we knew that we would not be able to grow all of our own fruit for Schultz Wines—there are VERY good wine grape growers in our region and we will continue to buy from them.  As an aside, with good farming, 1.25 acres can produce 4-5 tons of premium wine grapes per year or about 275 cases of wine.  So, we narrowed our varietal decision down to grapes we like, that we have not already found excellent supplies of, that are well suited for our site, and that are a little unique for our area.  The bottom line is that we will plant 1 acre of Grenache.  We will also plant ¼ acre of Mourvedre even though in cooler years our site will struggle to ripen the fruit.  Both of these varietals are of Spanish origin that have found their way into France’s Rhone region and elsewhere.  Our intent is to produce single varietal wines with each and to also blend them with Syrah grapes we purchase for the traditional Cotes-du-Rhone Red wine (or GSM blend).

If you are not familiar with Grenache and Mourvedre, here are links to some very good articles.

One day closer to a vineyard…


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