The process of developing or redeveloping a vineyard is a complex, long term investment. The quality of planting material will heavily influence the success and profitability of the resulting vineyard. Cutting costs on the integrity of the vines used for developing a vineyard may result in being a costly error that not only lasts for a long time but is very expensive to redress. Two key factors can limit the viability of a vineyard as a result of the integrity of the planting material used:
- How well a grafting process has been done, and the fitness or strength of the propagation material;
- The presence or absence of viruses or other debilitating biosecurity risks.
Recent advances in screening technology reveal an increasing number of plant viruses. These viruses can have a range of effects, from minor blemish, through severe yield and quality loss to threatening the long-term viability of a vineyard.
It is strongly advised that planting material is sourced from a reputable, accredited nursery or the vine improvement associations. It is also strongly advised that before top-working vines with a different scion that the vines are tested for the presence of viruses.
Propagating vines that contain virus can lead to a spread throughout a region, and as such is an issue more important than the health of a single vineyard. The viability of the entire Australian wine industry is dependent on having healthy and sustainable vines. Every vineyard must have the best planting material possible to ensure this outcome.
Rootstock breeding and associated R&D in the viticulture and wine industry (Final Report, GWRDC)
A thorough report examining selection of rootstocks with consideration to phylloxera, nematodes, scion vigor, soil type and viruses.
Longevity and sustained performance of rootstocks for Australian vineyards : https://pir.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/296886/Technical_guide_-_Longevity_and_sustained_performance_of_rootstocks_for_Australian_vineyards.pdf