by Staff Writer - B. Shaughnessy | June 14, 2012

In terms of winemaking, a clone is an exact duplicate of a particular strain of a specific grape variety. Strains of the varieties of Vitis vinifera are observed throughout nature. Each strain displays attributes suitable for different growing climates and conditions. Due to the cataloging efforts of wine professionals, vintners can obtain strains of vinifera varieties ideally suited for their local growing conditions.

Grapevine reproduction techniques include growing vines from seed or through the use of cuttings (asexual reproduction). When growing a grapevine from seed, the resulting plant is not identical to its parent. Through the evolution of the grapevine, strains of Vitis vinifera varieties naturally developed. Vintners and horticulturists observed slight nuances within the various varietal strains of Vinifera. These nuances included different strains growing better in different conditions. Strains of one specific variety of Vitis vinifera can number in the thousands, making strain identification somewhat difficult. By the late twentieth century, governmental and academic efforts to document all Vinifera strains had begun. The end result of this effort includes published information concerning the various varietal strains of Vitis vinifera. This is a tremendous resource for vintners, and it is now possible to determine if a specific varietal strain exists and matches the vintners localized conditions. Thus in modern vineyard development, clones of specific varietal strains are used when building a new vineyard. The cloning of the strain is performed using asexual propagation techniques through cuttings. This results in the planted vine being identical to the original varietal strain of Vitis vinifera. Additional benefits of utilizing clones include disease resistance, enhanced berry and cluster size, enhanced grape yields and different ripening dates.

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