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Two endorsements for ungrafted vines

By Vitisphere December 13, 2022
Two endorsements for ungrafted vines
By “respecting the combination of grape variety and original vineyard site”, Loïc Pasquet aims to help safeguard “ancient native species”. - crédit photo : Institut Océanographique de Monaco (Michel Dagnino)
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t has all the makings of a good fairy tale. A prince leans over the cradle and hey presto, the ‘heritage ungrafted vines’ association gets a launch sponsored by Prince Albert II of Monaco. The baptism took place during an evening event on 22 November at the Oceanographic Institute in the principality. Based at 1, rue des Genêts in Monaco, the association will only open for membership in January 2023, but already has 191 potential members, according to its director, Célia Calcagno. In Europe, there are an estimated 900 winegrowers who own plots of ungrafted vines, says Loïc Pasquet, the association's chairman, who is known in the wine industry for having created Domaine Liber Pater. His ungrafted, random-planted, high-density vines produce the most expensive bottle of wine in the world, amounting to €30,000 for the 2015 vintage.

The Bordeaux winegrower’s aim is to have an association open to as many estates as possible. The membership fee is apparently around €100, and the funding would be used to certify the plots by DNA testing of the roots. This would ascertain beyond any doubt that the vines are Vitis vinifera and not on rootstocks. Once confirmed, membership of the association aims to entitle members to use the ‘Francs de Pied’ or own-rooted vines endorsement. “We have created two endorsements: ‘Ungrafted vines’ for all ungrafted vineyards in the world and ‘Ungrafted vines: original heritage’ when a grape variety is found in its original vineyard site as ungrafted vines”, explains Pasquet, specifying that ungrafted planting is to be reserved for locations that are not at risk of phylloxera: “Those who take a gamble will lose out when the soils are not designed for ungrafted vines”, he warns.

The history of vines is one of travel and the concept of place of origin of a grape variety remains a difficult subject and one which the ampelographers’ community struggles to agree with certainty on. In fact, they often view it as a theoretical approach that is more driven by marketing than science. Pasquet has indicated that he is supported by a scientific council and believes that genetics and history will make it possible to award the ‘Ungrafted vines: original heritage’ endorsement to ungrafted plots of Petite Verdure in Bordeaux, Assyrtiko in Santorini, but also Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Burgundy and Champagne. As announced at the association’s inception in 2021, the ultimate goal of the process is to register farming of ungrafted vines as Intangible Cultural Heritage.

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All Comments (1)
Paul Vandenberg Le 15 décembre 2022 à 20:46:22
Does this only apply to non Vitis vinifera rootstock? What if it?s Syrah grafted onto Riesling? What buddy paid for those bottles?
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