Cloning Around

No, it’s not a science fiction nightmare. In the world of wine, a clone is a genetic subtype of a grape variety. Clones exist because natural mutations occur frequently in grapevines. A mutation can produce an individual vine that has such unique qualities as robust health, a greater ripening ability, or when the grapes are made into wine, a distinctive aroma or flavor. If the characteristics are desirable, the vine can be replicated by taking cuttings and propagating new vines. These vines, all identical to the “mother” vine, are referred to as a particular clone.

There are many clones growing today. Examples include the Dijon clone 76, a Chardonnay; clone 777, a Pinot Noir, and the Heritage clone, a Zinfandel. Growers often plant multiple clones of a single grape variety and experiment to find the ones that provide specific flavor characteristics. Some winemakers make single-clone bottlings, so you can taste the difference between the clones yourself. –Karen MacNeil

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~ by GoodTasteReport on June 1, 2006.

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