New Clone Development
The development and registration of new clones take place by means of local clone selection in old vineyards, as well as the importation of high quality clones from abroad, for local evaluation – both viti- and viniculturally.
Phytosanitary development (virus detection and virus eradication) is performed in Vititec’s laboratories and greenhouses at Picardi in Paarl, parallel with viti- and vinicultural evaluations in field clone trials. Ampelographical control, which controls trueness to type and cultivar, is also done parallel with the aforementioned activities.
When a clone complies with the minimum viti-/ vinicultural and phytosanitary standards prescribed by the VIA, it is officially registered at the VIA for certification and commercialisation.
During the first phase of multiplication a nucleus vine from each candidate and/or registered clone is kept in a VIA approved insect free nucleus block greenhouse at Picardi, from where all future multiplication and evaluation is done.
During the second phase of multiplication, rootstock and grafted vines are established in foundation blocks in insect free facilities and open field isolated areas, from where further viti- and vinicultural evaluations are done. Scion and rootstock material from this source are grafted and callused at Picardi and cultivated in foundation nurseries in remote isolated areas for the establishment of mother blocks.
The third phase is the establishment of mother blocks from the above mentioned sources by Vititec on the farms of contracted collaborator producers in pre-selected isolated areas. Rootstock mother blocks are only established on selected virgin soil of which about 400 hectares are maintained. Approximately 1000 hectares of vinifera mother blocks are also maintained.
Nucleus, foundation and mother block sources are inspected continuously by Vititec’s team of viticultural technicians for deviations, trueness to cultivar and type and phytosanitary symptoms. Sampling for serological virus tests and quality control are done regularly.
Outdated material is annually discarded while new sources from improved clonal material are established for marketing. All plant material is sold as “SA certified” under the Vititec trademark.
The markets’ demand for scion and rootstock cuttings of each cultivar and clone is estimated regularly in conjunction with consultants, nurserymen and producers.
Vititec’s most important clients are vine nurseries, which sell their grafted vines to producers under the auspices of the VIA and the SA Plant Certification Scheme for Vitis as “SA certified”. The certification of grafted material from these nurseries is undertaken by a private organisation on behalf of the VIA.