Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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rootstock, the plant forming the root system of a grapevine to which a fruiting variety, or scion, is grafted. In most vineyards in the world, European wine-producing vinifera vines are grafted on rootstocks which are, with few exceptions, either varieties of one american vine species or more commonly hybrids of several. See vitis for details of the different species of this genus. Rootstocks are normally used to overcome soil pests or diseases, but may also be used for special soil conditions.

The use of rootstocks for grapevines became common around 1880 in France in order to combat the devastating root louse phylloxera, which attacked the roots of the European grapevine Vitis vinifera, and the control of phylloxera remains a major, but by no means the only, reason rootstocks are used.