JUSTIN has recently expanded our vineyards with the purchase of DeBro Vineyard. Located adjacent to JUSTIN, we have been sourcing their superb Cab Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot for years. With the sale finalized, we have 22 vineyard crew members working to get the ranch ready for the growing season.
Our biggest preparation task is grafting a 9+ acre block so that it will produce Cabernet Franc. Grafting, in relation to grapes, is the process of fusing a scion (the “budding” part of the grape vine that produces fruit) and a rootstock (the root system of the vine). There are many reasons that vintners choose to graft their vines, such as disease prevention or changing demand in the marketplace.
Several weeks ago, the vineyard team harvested Cabernet Franc buds from the adjacent block. These were stored in the refrigerator until the team needed them for grafting. To prepare the rootstock of the vines that were being grafted on to, a five-man crew removed the old cordons and stripped the bark away so that this week, the entire crew was able to go through and “chip bud” the vines to the Cabernet Franc. The chip bud method of grafting is where a cut is made at a node in the rootstock, the new bud is slipped into the cut and then tightly wrapped with grafting tape, and then coated with a tree treatment.
The newly grafted Cab Franc will not be harvested this year. We will get some fruit next year, and will be in full production by 2013 (it takes some time for the new plants to fully establish).