CUTTING COLLECTION & TREATMENT
All cuttings are collected from registered mother vine plantings during the dormancy months of June, July and August. These mother vine plantings have been established by the Australian Vine Improvement Association and are inspected by Agricultural Officers each year to ensure the vines are true to type and disease free.To enable traceability of Grapevine material, cuttings are identified with source codes.
Upon collection the cuttings are placed in hessian bags, with each bag containing five bundles of 100 vines. The vines are then soaked in water containing 5 – 7 ppm chloride. The hessian bags are then encased in plastic bags and stored in cool rooms at a temperature of 2 – 4°C until required.
Prior to propagation, the cuttings are taken from cool storage and re-hydrated over night in water containing 5 – 7 ppm chloride. The next morning the cuttings are drained and hot water treated. Our standard procedure at present is to hot water treat all cuttings at 50°C for 30 minutes.
Our hot water treatment plant is monitored by a Thermocouple computer, which monitors the temperature and time of each batch treated. A computer-generated printout is produced for each frame of vines treated, detailing the average temperature, the duration of treatment, and the date. We can therefore provide printouts for each treated batch.
FIELD GROWN ROOTLINGS
Cuttings are taken to our field nursery at Wemen in August-September, where the ground has been prepared with Nematicide in the form of Vapam and a biofumigation crop to rid the soil of any nematodes. Up to 2,000,000 cuttings are planted in nursery rows with the aid of a planting machine. The vines are then watered, weeded and fertilized constantly throughout the next twelve months to produce a one year old, field grown rootling.
The vine rootlings are mechanically dug from our field nursery when dormant and placed in wire bins. The bins are immediately stored in ‘inter-mittent mist chambers’ to ensure desiccation (drying out) does not occur. The rootlings are then graded and those vines meeting our grade one criteria of having three buds and three or more developed roots are then trimmed, bundled into lots of 50 and labeled. The pre-trimming is an indication to the customer that each vine has been individually inspected.
The vines are then hot water treated to eradicate soil borne pathogens such as fungal spores and in particular nematodes. The bins are plunged into a cold water bath to wash off soil. They are then plunged into the hot bath at 54°C for 5 minutes and finally into cold water to cool down. They are transported from our field nursery to our wholesale site where they are packed for dispatch into moisture encased, Trichoderma inoculated, plastic lined cartons.
Hot water treatment kills micro-organisms. Inoculating the moist packing media with Trichoderma, (a beneficial fungi), will fight against organisms including, Botrytis, Pythium & Rhizoctonia and other wood decay fungi, whilst in storage. Cartons are then dispatched to customers and may be stored in a cool, dry place until transplanting. If cool storing, we suggest a temperature of 2 – 3°C. Invert cartons every two weeks of storage, to evenly rotate moisture within the carton. Failure to do so may result in the bottom layers drying out. Store cartons upside down upon delivery. We strongly recommend the shortest possible storage period.
We graft up to 850,000 vines annually, dependent upon orders. We use some 15 different rootstock’s, all of which are resistant to both phylloxera and nematodes. They also have varying degrees of tolerance to lime and salts.
The cuttings are removed from cold storage as needed during the months of July to October. Re hydrated, hot water treated, graded and united using a ‘V’ graft. The union is then wrapped and the vines are sealed inside foam boxes and stored in a callusing room for up to 21 days.
Once a callus has formed the vines are removed from the foam boxes, graded, waxed and either: –
A: Potted up into biodegradable Plant Bands, using pasteurised potting mix and grown on in an environment-controlled greenhouse until summer and then moved to a shadehouse for hardening off. These vines are then graded in winter, trimmed and dispatched as one-year-old container grown Graftlings in Winter/Spring.
B: Planted out at our field nursery at Wemen. These vines are then subjected to the same treatment as our field grown rootlings, that is, lifted in Winter, graded, trimmed, hot water treated and packed into cartons for immediate dispatch.