1- What are American Vines?
2- Phylloxera, the insect that changed the destiny of European viticulture.
European viticulture was based on the cultivation of the Vitis vinifera L species on their own roots. The form of propagation of the vine plants was by cutting and direct planting , which consisted of planting direct shoots of the desired variety of Vitis vinifera.
At the end of the 19th century, with the arrival from America of phylloxera to Europe , this viticulture gradually disappeared. The phylloxera in a few years swept the European vineyard .
Phylloxera was an insect that attacked all species of Vitis Vinifera. A solution had to be found to this problem, since the direct traditional form of planting was not effective.
The solution came from the same place the plague came from, from “America.” In 1869, at the World Wine Congress in Beaune (France), some American vines were presented that were apparently not affected by phylloxera . Immediately, researchers such as Couderc, Millardet and Grasset, Richter, Castell, Paulsen, Teleki … got down to work and began to study on this topic. Many of today’s rootstocks get their names from these researchers.
Crossing American varieties with each other, or with the remaining European varieties, were obtained “American vines” or vine rootstocks resistant to phylloxera such as Vitis rupestris, Vitis riparia, Vitis berlandieri …
Some of the most widely used rootstocks or American vines still today are:
The solution lay in the use of rootstocks of American origin (American grapevines) on which the desired variety of Vitis vinifera is grafted.
3- The origin of the vine nurseries. American vines.
Every cloud has a silver lining! The vine nursery sector must thank phylloxera for its existence , that little bug that devastated the European vineyard.
Researchers already had the American vines , but the vine growers did not have this plant material, it was also a difficult material to multiply and propagate.
The first vine nurseries (late nineteenth century-early twentieth century) arise from the need for rapid propagation of these American or bearded vines.
Initially, the vineyard nurseries were only dedicated to multiplying these American plants , which they sold to the viticulturist who was in charge of planting and caring for them for a year to later graft them with the desired variety.
American Vines in Valencia.
Valencia , met the necessary conditions for the development of American vine nurseries, namely: good climate, availability of water, very fertile plains and hard-working people who quickly knew how to adapt to the need and offer a solution.
The town of Aielo de Malferit , in the south of the province of Valencia, is known in all the wine-growing areas of Spain , from where the first American vine nurseries emerged in Valencia. The last name Barber is also known , as a reference of the national nursery. Mr. Enrique Barber Mira , was one of the pioneers who introduced plant material from American Vines in the area . The witness in the family was taken by Mr. Vicente Barber Sanz , founder of the current Barber Nurseries . In the third generation Mr. Vicente Barber Vidal, continues with the management of the third generation nursery, with tradition, and the “know-how” that has been transmitted from parents to children until today.
The vine nursery has continued to evolve, and at present, 90% of the plant that nurseries produce are already plant-graft , which consists of the part of “American vine” resistant to phylloxera, already grafted with the variety. desired ( Tempranillo , Cabernet Sauvignon …) thus facilitating the work of the winegrower.