Production - Vivai Fratelli Nicola
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Vine nursery is a field that requires professionalism, to ensure quality and healthy productions. Each process step requires extreme care.


A rooted vine cutting consists of two main components: the scion and the rootstock.  The scion is a portion of the branch provided with one or more buds, and is the part to be grafted on the rootstock. It is grown in mother plant vineyards produced from nuclei of vine pre-multiplication which have selected, over the years, plants free from viruses and with characteristics that allow to achieve the desired goals. Hence the clonal differences of each variety. Scions are divided into certified and standard scions.
Certified scions, which undergo continuous and periodic checks, two or three years after being planted, are harvested  between January and the end of February, are collected in bundles of 100 branches each, so as to preserve their  the polarity, and then are cleaned.
They are hand cleaned, leaving 6-7 cm at the bottom and 1 cm above the bud, collected in bags with about 3,000 buds each,  and labelled with their clone, batch and origin.
The bags are collected in containers and immersed in clean water, treated with a fungicide and placed in a cold room at a temperature of 3-4°. The rootstock is the lower part of a plant multiplied through the grafting technique, and provides the plant with certain improved properties compared to those of the scion:
It must possess morpho-functional properties, it must be healthy and free from viruses and phytoplasmas and must have a poor polliniferous attitude.
The rootstock is cleansed at the end of year, and collected in bundles 8-10 metres long. In the past, the rootstock was cleaned manually  and broken into pieces about 40 cm large, but today this work is done with the help of special machinery.


Thermotherapy is a heat treatment involving scions and rootstocks or grafted vine rooted cuttings that consists of a thermo-therapy bath at 50° for 45 minutes. The material is preheated  at 30° for 15 minutes in order to avoid thermal shocks which could be counterproductive for the development of vine rooted cuttings. The machine, called “Modello Piemontese” is different from the model manufactured in France, in particular for its pre-heating tank and for the sophisticated touch screen computer system constantly monitoring the treatment trends that also prints the results. Thermotherapy can be performed successfully also on vine rooted cuttings, before planting them in the vineyard. Here, too, thanks to the efficiency of the machine,  the experiments conducted prove the perfect rooting of heat treated cuttings.


A graft may be defined as an artificial mutual symbiosis between two symbionts represented by two different plants. Today, the most widely used is the OMEGA GRAFTING technique, which uses an equal-wheeled tractor  woody graft where the cut has the shape of the final Greek alphabet letter. This shape can be obtained only with a machine and is mainly used for table cutting grafting. The machine joints the scion and the rootstock, so processing times are shorter.


Callusing is a technique used in the nursery industry to promote the development of healing callus at the grafting point and primordial roots at the base of the cuttings. There are two types of callusing: SAWDUST CALLUSING and WATER CALLUSING.


After callusing, the plants are cleaned and removed from the containers and then covered with a layer of light brown wax to protect the plant from sunlight.


Particular attention and expertise is required to nurserymen when choosing the soil. The best are medium-textured, cool, deep but at the same time draining soils, preferably sandy to facilitate the work even under unfavourable conditions. It is not a real problem the fact that the soil is not able to retain water,  as with new irrigation techniques, the problem does not exist. Before and during callusing, a mulching cloth is placed on the field, previously levelled to prevent water stagnation. The cloth is 75 cm large, and placed on a single row; rooted cuttings are placed on it at a distance of 8 cm. The rows are one metre away from each other. A space of about 3.5 metres is left every 18 rows, so that special machines have enough space to move and spray the products required to treat them. The mulch is planted along with a hose for drip irrigation.
In May, trained operators plant callused rooted cuttings with the help of special carts on which two boxes of cuttings containing a total of approximately 1000 plants are placed. The cart passes over a row and is moved with the legs by the operator who positions the seedlings into the mulching holes, and the plant, which is about 40 cm long, is pushed into the soil up to about 20 cm.


After spending 5-6 months  in the nursery,  when their development is concluded, in November, rooted cuttings are uprooted, after the falling of the leaves and when the shoots are well lignified.  About a month before uprooting rooted cuttings , the mulch is removed because otherwise it would get in the way during operations. A few days before uprooting, special pre-pruning machines are used to trim the vegetation up to 5-6 cm, so that they can be easily harvested and stored in cold rooms. This is done with the help of a special machine called excavator, which consists of a plough that brings to the surface a large clump containing the roots of cuttings,  then the rooted cuttings are caught between two rotating belts while simultaneously a whisk smashes the clump, leaving the cuttings suspended in the air with bare roots, collected in bundles of 50-100 pieces and automatically tied. Then, they are placed on metal pallets to facilitate handling and transport and stored in cold rooms.


The selection is maybe  the most delicate moment of the whole nursery production chain. Cuttings are selected by qualified operators by exerting pressure on the grafting point, and then visually inspected  to assess their vigour and the root distribution, thus dividing them into  first and second choice cuttings. First choice vine rooted cuttings are characterised by a good strength and uniform development and distribution of the roots, usually three well-developed and well-spaced roots. The only exception is the 420  rootstock, which may have even just 2 diametrically opposite roots, while second choice cuttings have less developed or poorly distributed  roots.
When selecting them, rooted cuttings are collected in bunches of 25 vines, covered with a layer of green paraffin, labelled, and  tied with special bands. The root is shortened to about 15 cm, so that rooted cuttings can be stored in boxes and planted in the vineyard by mechanical means. The bunches are then placed inside a nylon bag in a cardboard box which may contain 300 to 400 plants Then the boxes are placed in a cold room at a temperature of 2-3 °C so that  rooted cuttings  can be planted after winter.