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Rootstock & rootstock vine

portainjerto (ES)
porte-greffe (F)
rootstock (GB)
portainnesto (I)

Designation for the lower part or rootstock of a grafted vine that comes from a phylloxera-resistant American vine. During grafting, the upper part (grafting rice) of European grape varieties of the species Vitis vinifera is grafted onto this. The main reason for such grafting is the low susceptibility or resistance of the roots of American wild varieties to the underground stages of phylloxera, or to the nodosities and tuberosities (growths) formed on the roots by the phylloxera infestation.

Quality criteria

With regard to suitability for viticulture, rootstock grape varieties must also fulfil further breeding requirements. These are low susceptibility to both types of mildew, low tendency to chlorosis, high resistance to bacteria and viruses, good wood structure and wood maturity, good adaptation (compatibility) to different and difficult soil types such as dry soil or calcareous soil, good absorption of nutrients from the soil, and good grafting affinity to the grafted-up grape variety without promoting trickling. Good intergrowth of the two foreign tissues at the grafting point and the harmonious coordination of the growth characteristics of the grafted grape variety with those of the rootstock generally ensure good budding and grape quality with uniformly high vine yields.

Unterteil (Wurzelwerk) und Oberteil (Edelreiser)

The vast majority of rootstocks used in European countries are descendants of the three American wild species crosses Vitis berlandieri x Vitis riparia, Vitis riparia x Vitis rupestris and Vitis berlandieri x Vitis rupestris. The pioneering research of the US botanist Thomas Volney Munson (1843-1913) made a decisive contribution to this. A rootstock with perfect phylloxera resistance, approved in 1989, was created by Dr. Helmut Becker (1927-1990) from a crossbreed Vitis riparia x Vitis cinerea. He named it after the German oenologist Dr Carl Börner (1880-1953). Not every rootstock variety is equally suitable for the different soil types, site conditions, noble varieties and growth requirements.

For this reason, official recommendations have been made by the authorities as to which rootstock harmonises best with which grape variety (upper part) on which soil and produces the required results. The cuttings of most rootstock varieties root without problems, but the best ones still root the cuttings of the European Vitis vinifera vine. Therefore the European part of a grafted vine cuttings should not be dug into the soil. The rootstock varieties with crosses of Vitis cinerea var. helleri (better known under the old name Vitis berlandieri) or Vitis champinii have a poor rooting record, so that the cuttings ends are coated with the growth hormone auxin to induce root development.

Just like quality wine grape varieties, rootstock vines are also approved or classified by the state authorities (this can also vary from one wine-growing region to another). Some (latent) grapevine diseases (see also under grapevine enemies) can be further spread on a large scale during grafting and cutting propagation if, for example, plant material infected with viruses or bacteria (rootstock or scion) is used. The effects often only become visible with older vines. For this reason, the use of plant material that is as healthy and virus-free as possible is required by law in the EU. This must be verified by a standardised procedure (see under Certification of vines).


Among the best-known breeders of successful rootstock vines are François Baco, Helmut Becker, Carl Börner, Maxime Cornu, Georges Couderc, Gustave Foëx, Victor Ganzin, Hermann Goethe, Rudolf Goethe, Franz Kober, Alexis Millardet, Thomas Volnay Munson, Christian Oberlin, Harold P. Olmo, Frederico Paulsen, Emerich Ráthay, Franz Georges Richter, Antonino Ruggeri, Otto Schneider-Orelli, and the Teleki family.

Rootstock vines

The names of the rootstock vines often include the name of the breeder with initial letters and the breeding number. In Austria and Germany the most common names are Kober 5 BB125 AA and SO 4 are used. The most famous rootstock vines in the world, but some of them are only of historical importance

110 R (Richter 110) - V. berlandieri x V. rupestris: Bred by Franz Richter in 1889. Very vigorous growth, in warm climates positively delays ripening and vegetation completion. High phylloxera resistance, low nematode resistance. Moderate lime tolerance, medium tolerance to drought stress. It is often used in regions with a Mediterranean climate and on drained slopes, where strong growth is slowed down by lack of water. Promotes strong foliage development.

1103 Paulsen (Paulsen 1103) - V. berlandieri Résséguier N 2 x V. rupestris du Lot: Bred by Frederico Paulsen in Sicily in 1896. Mainly distributed in the Mediterranean area (Algeria, Greece, Southern France, Spain, Tunisia, Southern Italy). Good tolerance to drought, very good rooting, high phylloxera resistance, moderate nematode resistance. Especially suitable for deep, humid, clayey limestone soils.

125 AA - (Teleki 125 AA, Kober 125 AA) - V. berlandieri x V. riparia: Bred by Franz Kober and Sigmund Teleki in 1896. bred. Often used in Germany and Austria. Semi deep rooting, medium to strong growth. Good lime tolerance, especially suitable for dense, poorly air and water permeable, but not for shallow, dry soils. Especially suitable for Müller-Thurgau and Blauer Portugieser, but less for flower-sensitive varieties such as Siegerrebe and Traminer.

140 Ruggeri - V. berlandieri x V. rupestris: Bred by Antonino Ruggeri in Sicily in 1897. Strong growth, therefore not suitable for fertile soils. Low nematode resistance, high phylloxera resistance, high lime tolerance, high tolerance to drought stress. Well suited for dry, calcareous soils in Mediterranean climate.

Unterlage & Unterlagsrebe - 140 Ruggeri - Wurzelstock und Blätter mit Geschein

1613 C (Couderc 1613) - Solonis (V. riparia x V. longii) x Othello (V. labrusca, V. riparia, V. vinifera). Bred by George Couderc 1881. Only limited phylloxera resistance and also chlorosis sensitive, but high nematode resistance. Well suited for fertile sandy and clay soils. Very popular in California because of its nematode resistance, until the phylloxera caused considerable damage. No longer recommended today.

161-49 C (Couderc 161-49, Solférino) - V. riparia x V. berlandieri: Bred by Georges Couderc in 1888. High phylloxera resistance, high lime tolerance, good rooting, good grafting affinity, medium vigour, low nematode resistance, susceptible to leaf drought.

1616 C (Couderc 1616) - Solonis (V. riparia x V. rupestris x V. candicans) x V. riparia Gloire de Montpellier: Bred by Georges Couderc in 1881. Medium vigour, but good rooting. High phylloxera resistance with high nematode resistance. Medium lime tolerance, but good salt tolerance. Well suited for salty coastal soils.

26 G (Geisenheim 26) - Trollinger x V. riparia: Bred by Rudolf Goethe. Mainly used in Germany. Half deep rooting, strong growth. Resistant to chlorosis, good for varieties that tend to trickle.

3309 C (Couderc 3309) - V. riparia x V. rupestris: Cultivated by Georges Couderc in 1881 Used in France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Russia, Romania and many other countries. Flat-rooted, weak to medium-growing. High resistance of the roots against phylloxera, resistant to irrigation. Sensitive to drought stress, chlorosis and nematodes. Suitable for deep, nutrient-rich, moist and lime-poor (medium lime tolerance) soils in temperate climate.

333 EM (Tisserand) - Cabernet Sauvignon x V. berlandieri: Bred by Gustave Foëx (1844-1906) in Montpellier (EM = École de Montpellier) in 1883. Easy rooting, very good lime tolerance, good phylloxera resistance, resistant to drought.

41 B Mgt Chasselas x V. berlandieri: Cultivated by Alexis Millardet in 1882 on the basis of the investigations by Pierre Viala (1859-1936). Weak growth. High lime tolerance, especially used in Cognac and Champagne. Sufficient phylloxera resistance, only moderately tolerant of drought.

420 A Mgt (Millardet et de Grasset 420A) - V. berlandieri x V. riparia: cultivated by Alexis Millardet and Marquis de Grasset in 1887. Good resistance to phylloxera, moderate resistance to nematodes. Medium lime tolerance, sensitive to stagnant moisture, poor rooting. Suitable as growth retardant or yield reducer.

5 BB (Teleki 5 BB) - V. berlandieri x V. riparia; see under Cober 5 BB and Teleki

5 C (Teleki 5C Geisenheim) - V. berlandieri x V. riparia: Selected by Andor Teleki 1922. Widespread in Germany (most common variety) and Austria. Semi deep rooting, strong growth, good rooting. Well suited for many soils, but not for extremely dry, cold and wet locations. Less tolerant of lime than other rootstocks and sensitive to chlorosis. Especially suitable for Burgundy varieties, Riesling, Traminer and flower-sensitive varieties. Early vegetation closure is favoured.

8 B (Teleki 8B) - V. berlandieri x V. riparia: Bred by Sigmund Teleki in 1896. Frequently used in Germany and Austria. Semi-deep rooting, medium-strong growth. Highly suitable for calcareous, but less for shallow, dry soils. Good resistance to chlorosis. Excellent for Riesling on calcareous, heavy soils and winning vines. But unsuitable for richly bearing varieties.

99 R (Judge 99) - V. berlandieri x V. riparia: Bred by Franz Richter in 1889. Strong growth, because of late maturity unsuitable for cool regions. High phylloxera resistance, moderate nematode resistance. Unsuitable for soils with poor water drainage, medium lime tolerance, medium tolerance to drought stress.

AXR 1 (also ARG 1) - Aramon x V. rupestris: Bred by Victor Ganzin in 1879 and probably the most famous and also notorious rootstock vine. See in detail under AxR 1.

Binova - Named after the winemaker Binstadt, who found this natural mutation of SO 4 (see below) in a vineyard. It is frequently used in Germany and Austria. Semi-rooted, strong growth. Suitable for many different soils, medium drought resistance, good lime tolerance. Resistant to chlorosis and especially suitable for flower sensitive varieties.

Börner (Börnerrebe) - Riparia 183 Geisenheim x Cinerea Arnold: Bred by Carl Börner and selected by Helmut Becker Used in Germany and Austria. Semi deep rooting, strong growth, good drought tolerance. Well suited for medium to dry, but not too calcareous soils, extremely susceptible to chlorosis with higher lime contents. Absolute phylloxera resistance without development of nodosities.

Dog Ridge - seedling of V. champinii: Selected by Thomas V. Munson in 1900. Very vigorous growth, resistant to Pierce disease and nematodes, moderately resistant to phylloxera. Common in the south of the USA.

Unterlage & Unterlagsrebe - Wurzelstock und Blatt - Dog Ridge

Fercal - Berlandieri x Richter 31: Was bred 1978 at the INRA in Bordeaux by R. Pouget and M. Ottenwälter especially for calcareous soils. Moderate growth, grafting easily possible. Moderate resistance to phylloxera, very resistant to chlorosis, also suitable for pure calcareous soils, good resistance to drought stress.

Harmony - 1613 Couderc O.P. x Dog Ridge O.P. : Selected from a seedling found around 1849 in Hartford/Connecticut 1967 in California. Moderate to strong growth. Good resistance to root rot, but low phylloxera resistance.

Kober 5 BB (5 BB, Teleki 5 BB) - V. berlandieri x V. riparia; see there

Riparia Gloire de Montpellier (RGM) - V. riparia selection: One of the oldest French rootstocks cultivated in Montpellier around 1860 by Pierre Viala and R. Michel. Low vigour and therefore yield reduction, particular resistance to phylloxera, low tolerance to drought, high susceptibility to chlorosis and therefore not suitable for calcareous soils. Especially suitable for Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.

Schwarzmann - V. riparia x V. rupestris: Bred by Schwarzmann in 1891 Strong growth, good rooting, rather low lime tolerance. Suitable for deep, moist, lime-poor soils. High resistance to phylloxera.

SO 4 (Selection Oppenheim de Teleki No. 4) - V. berlandieri x V. riparia: This variety was selected at the beginning of the 20th century at the Staatliche Weinbaudomäne Oppenheim (Rheinhessen), using a cross developed in 1896 by Sigmund Teleki (1854-1910). It is frequently used in Germany, Austria and France. The rootstock has an excellent phylloxera resistance and a medium nematode resistance. Semi-deep-rooting, medium vigour, medium tolerance to drought, good resistance to chlorosis. Suitable for many soils not prone to drought. This is especially true for strong, humusy calcareous soils. Early ripening favours wood ripeness and its frost resistance. A mutation of SO 4 is Binova (see above).

further information

All aids, work and measures in the vineyard during the vegetation cycle can be found under vineyard care. Complete lists of the numerous cellar techniques, as well as a list of the types of wine, sparkling wine and distillate regulated by wine law can be found under vinification. Comprehensive wine law information can be found under the keyword wine law.

Graphic: taken from Bauer/Regner/Schildberger, viticulture,
ISBN: 978-3-70402284-4, Cadmos Verlag GmbH
140 Ruggeri and Dog Ridge
UCDAVIS - Foundation Plant Services

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