Greg Schultz
August 25, 2013 | Greg Schultz

We Visit a Nursery

With recommendations from Dr. Greg Jones, Chris Hubert, and our winemaker Linda Donovan we set out to find a nursery to contract with for our grapes.  In order to get the varietals we want on the rootstock we want that can be grafted and tested for shipment into Oregon, we had to place an order more than a year in advance.  Scheduled delivery is now set for June 2014—a long ways off, but we have a lot of work to do to get the site ready between now and then.

Since we knew that we wanted to order Grenache and Mourvedre on 101-14 rootstock we started calling nurseries in Oregon and California.  “What clone of each do you want?” we were asked.  Hmm—more research.  Since vines are typically propagated from cuttings of other vines, a clone is one that can trace its heritage back to a single “mother vine”—presumably a superior one--and has been examined and found free of disease.  The theory is that if you start with a grape varietal clone with a proven track record—one with exceptional qualities—then from that you have a better chance of producing great wines.  It doesn’t always work out in practice, though, as there are MANY variables and decision points along the way from the vineyard to the bottle.

We found what we wanted through Novavine nursery in Santa Rosa, California—near Sonoma.  We took a trip to Novavine to meet with Sam Caselli and see the nursery.  It was fascinating to see the operation and comforting to know the steps taken by Novavine to ensure healthy plants are shipped to their customers.  In these photos you can see thousands of recently grafted plants waxed for their protection and Debbie pointing to one young vine ready to be planted.

Sam put us in touch with Robert Herrick of Herrick Grapevines in St. Helena—one of Novavine’s strategic partners—who offers the French clones we want.   We placed our order—1555 Grenache noir clone 362 plants and 390 Mourvedre clone 369 plants both registered ® by ENTAV-INRA in southern France.  There are only a few nurseries in North America authorized to propagate and sell ENTAV clones—and they charge a licensing fee for each plant sold.

One day closer to a vineyard…


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