Three new rootstocks will soon be released commercially, following a CSIRO study focused on breeding and selecting new locally adapted rootstocks.

The new rootstocks – named “C114”, “C113” and “C20” have been found to perform well in replant situations in the warm climate of Sunraysia; perform well when irrigated with moderately saline water in the cooler region of Padthaway; produce fruit with acceptable fruit composition; and are resistant to select root knot nematode and phylloxera isolates.

The findings are exciting because, currently, the Australian wine sector relies on rootstocks bred and selected overseas for conditions that are sometimes quite different to those in Australia.

“Breeding and selecting new locally adapted rootstocks offers the potential to have a positive impact on vine performance and wine quality while addressing the issues of sustainability and risk management,” said principal investigator Mr Peter Clingeleffer from CSIRO Agriculture and Food.

Peter said a number of rootstocks that are still under evaluation also showed ‘great potential’.

However, he said the project’s findings suggested there would be no ‘one size fits all’ solution to rootstocks for the Australian wine sector.

“Significant rootstock by scion interactions and rootstock by region interactions were found from field trials with Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz in Sunraysia and Shiraz in Padthaway. This indicates that a suite of rootstocks will be required to meet the sector’s needs – and no single rootstock will be suited to all varieties and regions,” he said.

Peter said the next stage of the project would be to develop rootstocks with more durable resistance to root knot nematodes and phylloxera genotypes. The team will use rapid screening techniques, including the use of molecular markers, to develop the new rootstocks.

Vinehealth Australia will report more on these new rootstocks in future e-news editions. For more information about the CSIRO project, click here.