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Cloning Anfiteatro

The single vineyard of Anfiteatro was planted in 1975, and it’s been producing glorious grapes ever since! However, as the years go by, grapevines tend to naturally lose their productivity. Anfiteatro still has decades until it becomes unproductive, but we weren’t just going to sit around and watch it’s demise.

Sangiovese is highly sensitive to the environment it grows in, so we can’t just plant just any new vine in the vineyard and hope for the same great fruit. The answer? We’ve decided to clone the plants (it’s less scary than it sounds, we promise!).

Step 1: growing the new plants

We used the Anfiteatro vines as mother plants to produce clones that will eventually take their place alongside the plants from 1975! To do this, during the winter pruning of 2020, we kept some shoots of the Anfiteatro vines that were sent to a specialized nursery. From these shoots the scions (portions of a branch including buds) were obtained – that is the visible part of the plant which will then become an adult vine!
You might have noticed the green plastic covers all over the Anfiteatro vineyard! These were to protect the new baby plants from animals and insects that might take a liking to them!

Step 2: making the cuttings

In the nursery, the ‘scions’ (portions taken from the original Anfiteatro plants) were joined to what is called rootstock, which is the ‘foot’ of the plant which will be buried and grow roots, whose characteristics differ according to the type of soil and the plant.
The grafting always takes place on an American “foot” (thanks phylloxera!) and once we are sure that this union has been successful, after a period of adaptation for the plants, they were sent back to us as ‘barbatelloni’ or large cuttings ready to be planted in the vineyard.

Step 3: we plant the new baby Anfiteatro vines

Finally, after the long process to layer our vines and make new clones, we were ready to plant the baby Anfiteatro vines back in the vineyard! This was a special moment for us, and the culmination of lots of hard work to arrive at this point.

And now… we wait!

The vines will grow vegetatively this season, and start producing fruit in 2024. However, the first grapes that will be used for winemaking will arrive in 2022 at the earliest.
If the fruit is anything like that of the mother plant, then we’ll know that all of our efforts were worth it!

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