Clone Question

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Gordon Fitz
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Clone Question

#1 Post by Gordon Fitz » March 30th, 2019, 8:49 am

My question can affect many grape varieties, but I’ll express it in terms of PN which is easier for me. PN comes in many clones: various Dijon, Pommard, Wadswil, etc. If those various clones are planted in a vineyard, say 25 acres , and produced for 25-30 years will the individual clones start to evolve and cross hybridize from cross pollination and loose their original unique flavors over time. Or is 25 years to soon, if so, how long if ever would it take?

Hope that makes sense!

Wes Barton
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Re: Clone Question

#2 Post by Wes Barton » March 30th, 2019, 6:03 pm

No. Pollination doesn't effect a fruit, just the seeds. You'll likely see changes as the plants mature. They may also adapt to the site over the first few years - the best way to observe that is to compare to the source site, like if they behave similarly the first couple years, then diverge to a consistent new norm after that (though fruit qualities can differ greatly between the two sites from the first harvest).

Vines evolve through somatic mutation, so growth beyond that point is replicated as the mutation. So, that's usually just part of the plant, and often lost to pruning.

Clones can behave very differently at different sites. A friend did a huge amount of research before planting his SCM PN vineyard, talking to all the of significant growers. Elevation and soil type are two major factors in the region, where a clone that excels at one site can do poorly at another.

Because of this, we took cuttings of Corvina from a washed out riverbed site and grafted them at a hillside site. Grapes from the former are thin skinned, producing a rose colored wine. They're much thicker on the hillside, giving darker color and flavor profile. We like them both, but it's a huge contrast.
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Eric Ifune
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Re: Clone Question

#3 Post by Eric Ifune » March 31st, 2019, 10:06 am

If a Pinot vine is pollinated by Zinfandel pollen, the fruit will still be Pinot. The genetic material does make it into the seeds as Wes describes. But no one, except hybridizers, will grow new vines from seedlings.

Gordon Fitz
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Re: Clone Question

#4 Post by Gordon Fitz » April 1st, 2019, 11:07 am

Thanks you two, that answers my question. It’s the seeds that are affected!

I should have realized that because of the multiple battles here between Monsanto, and the gmo genetics, and the other seed corn producers! Particularly the case with non gmo producers!

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Josh Grossman
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Re: Clone Question

#5 Post by Josh Grossman » April 1st, 2019, 11:48 am

Gordon Fitz wrote:
March 30th, 2019, 8:49 am
My question can affect many grape varieties, but I’ll express it in terms of PN which is easier for me. PN comes in many clones: various Dijon, Pommard, Wadswil, etc. If those various clones are planted in a vineyard, say 25 acres , and produced for 25-30 years will the individual clones start to evolve and cross hybridize from cross pollination and loose their original unique flavors over time. Or is 25 years to soon, if so, how long if ever would it take?

Hope that makes sense!
As long as you are just taking cuttings--they will be exactly the same and there is no pollination. If you let the clones pollinate and plant the seeds you probably won't get anything good. One thing I learned from the Jasper Morris podcast is that he hates clones and writes off vineyards in Burgundy that use them.


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Re: Clone Question

#6 Post by Wes Barton » April 1st, 2019, 2:12 pm

Gordon Fitz wrote:
April 1st, 2019, 11:07 am
Thanks you two, that answers my question. It’s the seeds that are affected!

I should have realized that because of the multiple battles here between Monsanto, and the gmo genetics, and the other seed corn producers! Particularly the case with non gmo producers!
Yep. And corn is a great example of where the product is the seeds. Geeky home gardeners who like to plant a variety of heirlooms of various plants need to know another proximate variety can easily pollinate that treasured heirloom, giving you random crosses, instead of what you wanted. Commercially, it would be an uneven product. Then the big ag companies have patents on their varieties, and they sue any neighbors who save seeds that got polluted by their wind borne pollen.

Apples are another fruit that doesn't grow true from seed, so they're all grafted.

Most tomatoes grow true from seed (unless accidentally crossed), so heirlooms and hobbyist crosses are stable. Some new patented crosses are intentionally left unstable, so you can't save seeds and get that same variety. Though, it just takes around 5 generations of selection, so some hobbyists will do that and get a stable semblance. With grapes, the turn around is much longer. There are some good crosses people have done for various reasons. Then there's Randall Graham's project, which intends to find a broad array of new varieties...
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