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Vine Layering at Connor Lee

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

Diagram of the vine layering process (Thanks Wikipedia!)

Things have slowed down in the vineyard since harvest, as you can imagine, but they haven't stopped. We are working on vine layering at the moment here at Conner Lee vineyard.

What is vine layering?

If you bury a live and healthy grapevine cane underground and bring it back up where a missing vine once was, each bud has the ability to sprout roots while being underground - which won’t happen if the buds are exposed to sunlight. Like other forms of asexual plant reproduction, vine layering produces daughter plants that are genetic duplicates of the mother vine.

Once roots sprout, it's easier for the new vine to grow because it feeds from the older vine. After two to three years of growth of the new vine, we will cut the connecting cane and the new vine should have a strong and determined enough root system to be able to survive on its own.

Why we do it

We practice vine layering to propagate new grape vines that will replace older vines that have died out - a common occurrence each year in a small percentage of vines, typically in older blocks. Conner Lee and Stoneridge are our older vineyards and where we perform the majority of this operation.

Digging a hole one foot deep where the missing vine once was.
The vineyard team buries the cane from the old vine underground, brings it back up where the missing vine was, then ties the tips to the stake. In the summer, a new shoot will grow.
This is what a two-year-old layering vine looks like - in about another year the vineyard team will cut it from the older vine.

We find that this technique is successful about 90% of the time and when it is unsuccessful, it's due to human rather that Mother Nature's error. Pretty cool, right? Do you have any questions for us? We'll do our best to answer them for you.

Huge thanks to Enrique, our Vineyard Manager at Conner Lee, for helping to explain this process.

Enrique (left) and our Winemaker Matías at our Wine Club Vineyard tour this last summer. (It takes a lot of beer to make good wine.)

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