Vine Grafting

Definition - What does Vine Grafting mean?

Vine grafting is a viticulture process of extracting benefits from the shoot or scion and roots or rootstock of plants. Successful vine grafting saves vineyards from viral diseases. Vine grafting is known to control, phylloxera: a type of insect that causes whole batches of vines and grapes to be unusable. There was an epidemic in the 19th century when batches of wines were affected by phylloxera. The rootstock extracts from plants used for vine grafting have revolutionized winemaking and contained the threats caused by phylloxera and other viral diseases.

WineFrog explains Vine Grafting

The method of vine grafting was first invented by two French winegrowers, Leo Laliman and Gaston Bazille, as a possible cure to the Great French Wine Blight during the mid 18th century. During the Great French Wine Blight, there was an aphid and phylloxera outbreak that affected and caused many winemakers to go out of business.

Initially vine grafting consisted of a phylloxera-resistant, American rootstock and the scion from a vitis vinifer vine. The method of grafting vines to avoid the disease was a huge success, and the French wine industry was revolutionized, or "reconstituted" as per the term used by French wine growers.

Given that vine grafting also improves the resistance to viral diseases and improves the quality of grapes, it is widely used by modern winegrowers. Although the process of grafting improves the quality of vines, it does not cure sick or damaged vines, so attaching new cuttings to old and sick rootstocks does not heal them. Likewise, grafting does not affect the lifespan of a vine - so even if a new shoot is attached to an old rootstock, the vine will still be as young as the rootstock. The process of grafting is only useful when a healthy scion is grafted into a healthy rootstock.

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