Field Grafting: Building Frankenstein in the Vineyard

by St. Supery on June 11, 2013

Geoff Gatto, Director of Vineyard Operations, is our very own fountain of viticulture knowledge. We’ve been very lucky at the winery, as Geoff is always willing to patiently describe every development in our two estate vineyards located in Napa Valley. He even uses terms that do not require an advanced agricultural degree to translate these vineyard updates into easily digested tidbits. (With one exception, Geoff still has us stumped on how to define soil series vs. soil variations – but that is a story and maybe…lucky you…a blog, for another time).

Recently, Geoff walked us through the practice known as “field grafting” while out in our Dollarhide Estate Vineyard. Field grafting is a technique that requires great skill and precision, think of it as grapevine cardiovascular surgery, that can provide tremendous benefits in the vineyard. In its most ineloquent description, field grafting is a way to take a pre-existing root and slap on the bud of a different variety. If perfectly executed and maintained, the grapevine will produce the grape that has been grafted on, not what had been growing before.

Have we confused you with our attempts at describing this Frankenstein-like science? Perhaps it’s best to watch the video and let Geoff show you how it’s done.

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