Visited our local pépinière viticole yesterday to pick up a few vines for le tasting room. We decided upon half a dozen Cabernet Franc and half a dozen Chenin Blanc and intend to plant them in two different ways, as a trained row with posts and wires and as bush vines, untrained on the ground.
We first visited the pépinière in the autumn last year to discuss our requirements and were a little hesitant when asking for just 1 dozen grafted vines for our business. The reception and advice we received as to the choice of vine and relevant rootstocks was helpful even though our order was likely to be miniscule compared with other customers. We eventually decided to opt for Chenin and Cabernert Franc on a Fercal rootstock (one that tolerates high levels of chalk) and agreed to return in the Spring this year to discuss it further.
We arrived, without appointment, to be met by the proprietor, who remembered us instantly, went inside to collect a ready typed 'devis' (quote), collected the vines from the refrigerated holding room, bundled them up, labelled them and shook our hand. Great service from a local supplier.
Now all we have to do it get them planted and we can then look forward to sharing their development, pruning and training methods with our clients when they come to see us.
As a side note, the reason why vines have to be grafted is so that they are resistant to Phylloxera - a little louse-like pest that infected European vineyards towards the end of the 19th Century. It was first brought over from America by keen Victorian English gardeners wanting to plant rare and exotic specimens in their conservatories. They unwittingly brought with them, the Phylloxera louse which in turn made its way to France and many other countries in Europe as well. This louse, which destroys the roots of the vine, went on to destroy a large proportion of Europe's vineyards and it was some time before a 'cure' was discovered. The answer was and remains today, to graft the vines on to American rootstock. There are some producers who today plant their vines ungrafted such as Henry Marionnet but they take the risk that their vines will eventually become infected and the vineyards will have to be uprooted and replaced over time.
49320 St Jean des Mauvrets