Mother Vine’s Offspring: The Second Generation

The most revolutionary vineyard block at Stolpman looks great in its second year!

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B A C K G R O U N D
Ruben planted the Mother Vine Syrah cutting on February 15th, 2013. The Mother Vine, the healthiest of 50 special cuttings, grew alone on the hillside in order to leave room for its expansion. In March of 2014, Ruben, aided by his 4 year old son Omar, created the roots for the second generation by bending the Mother Vine’s dormant canes, its growth from the year prior, below ground and back up. They placed plastic tubes over the cane tips to protect new growth from the harsh Ballard Canyon elements. The portion of the cane submerged in dirt grew roots while the exposed end budded and grew leaves, spreading the reach of the Mother Vine to a second generation of potentially independent vines. The process is called layering in English, or Provignage in French.
We plan to repeat this process for perhaps 20 generations until the Mother Vine covers a full acre. Inspired by Aspen Groves, Sashi believes a Mother Vine of this scale hasn’t been attempted since pre-Phyloxera times.
The goal is to bottle hundreds of cases from one vine each year. The extended root system will create a strong vine capable of weathering drought and inclement weather, creating a consistent wine year in and year out.

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T H E  O T H E R  F O R T Y  N I N E
Ruben planted the other 49 cuttings down a straight row on either side of the Mother Vine, creating an acre of space for the Mother Vine’s future generations. Like the Mother Vine, the other 49 are own-rooted and trained up a single vertical post. In March, without the fanfare of training the second generation of the Mother Vine, Ruben head pruned these vines and replanted the cuttings, the sticks he pruned off. While not connected to the 49 parents, these second generation vines now grow in rows to the outside of the parents.
In this fashion, not only is the Mother Vine expanding, but we now have over 150 independent vines growing in our new, super high-density block modeled after hillside Cornas vineyards.

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G R O W T H  T H I S  Y E A R : 2 0 1 4
The first generation vines have climbed well past the top of our vertical posts and look healthy.
The second generation vines poke above the plastic tubes and will continue to grow through the summer. They devote all of their energy to growth rather than trying to ripen fruit their very first year as independent vines.
Meanwhile, the Mother Vine looks stunted as she is working to grow not only herself, but her three connected offspring vines as the new roots get established.

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T H E  F U T U R E:
We’re still a long way off from bottling a wine from the Mother Vine. The rows of conventional vines making up the borders of her domain will continue to mature and we will replant the cuttings. Starting around 2018, we will harvest from the first 3 generations of independent vines. It will be another decade before we have enough fruit to bottle the Mother Vine on its own, but we look forward to the day!