New M-Series rootstocks now available

At the end of the Eighties, a project of genetic improvement of vines began at the University of Milan. This project aimed at producing new rootstocks able to withstand drought as well as high levels of limestone in the soil. This idea was not new: with the arrival of phylloxera in Europe, many rootstocks characterized by these qualities had been created. These rootstocks allowed to reconstruct wine-growing. However, from the late nineteenth century, new rootstocks had no longer been created, despite the spread of vine in areas very different from the European ones, as for their climate.
The path leading to the assessment of such agronomic traits, which could justify the inclusion of new rootstocks of the series called M in the Italian register of varieties, was very long, but experienced a significant acceleration in the last three years, thanks to the funding granted by a consortium of banking Institutions, Progetto Ager Serres. This project involved researchers from the University of Milan, Padua, Turin and Piacenza, CRA Vite (Vine) of Conegliano (Treviso), and FEM of S. Michele all’Adige (Trento). The process which allowed reaching the wine-growers was completed by constituting a new company, called Winegraft. Its members are 9 primary Italian wine industries, a company which supports viticulture and a bank. The companies are: Ferrari, Zonin, Banfi, Armani, Due Palme, Magistravini, Bertani Domains, Castellare, Settesoli, Bioverde, and the Bank Banca del Veneto.
The commercial rights concerning these new rootstocks are exerted by a spin-off of the University of Milan, IpadLab, with the task of monitoring health and genetic correspondence of the grafted vines produced with these rootstocks, while the Cooperative Garden Centres Vivai Cooperativi Rauscedo (Rauscedo, Friuli) were chosen for creating fields of mother plants where it is possible to pick up the material for multiplication and subsequent marketing all over the world.
With the royalties which will result from the sale of grafetd vines, it will be thus possible to guarantee the continuation of the project aimed at the genetic improvement of rootstocks.

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