Mission Estate Winery :: Indicator Grafting Trial


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Home > Our Craft > Sustainability Map > Indicator Grafting Trial

Indicator Grafting Trial

Leaf roll virus is a virus in grape vines that causes loss of yield, poor flavour and colour development which inhibit quality wine production. The virus is spread by mealy bug and there is no cure for this disease.

In red varieties the leaf of the vine will turn red once infected. In white varieties there are no visual symptoms, making accurate identification impracticable and subsequent management near impossible.

A project has been developed by our former Viticulturist Caine Thompson and Professor Gerhard Pietersen from the University of Pretoria in collaboration with NZ Winegrowers to try to overcome this problem.

In what is a world first, a new technique has been developed which involves taking a 'bud' of a red variety and grafting this onto the trunk of a white variety. The idea being that if the white variety vine becomes infected with the virus then the grafted red bud will express the visual symptoms of the virus as occurs on red variety grape vines. And the results......it works....

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     Indicator Grafting - step 1                     Indicator Grafting - step 2                    Bud burst from the grafted shoot           Visual symptoms of disease