Mass Selection

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

sélection massale in French, viticultural technique used to provide buds for the propagation of vines. Field vine selection can be either by mass selection, when many vines are selected to provide budwood, or by clonal selection, in which a single mother vine is selected to provide clones. In mass selection, the identity of individual vines is not maintained, which is the principal difference between the two approaches.

Mass selection can be either negative or positive. If negative, then undesirable vines in a vineyard are marked so that cuttings are not taken from them. These vines might include those with low yield, poor fruit maturity, virus disease symptoms, higher than average incidence of fungal diseases, or off-types (mutations). Negative mass selection is also a good opportunity to mark ‘rogue vines’ (those of another variety) to ensure that mixed plantings do not occur in the future. Positive selection identifies the best vines, for example those with good fruit set, larger and looser bunches and good fruit maturity.