Finally, all the new Pinot gris bench grafts are in. It's been a long, tiring, often frustrating process, especially for Vinomaker who did the majority of the work, (I am competent with a shovel, but more impressive in a supervisory capacity.)
We chose to use bench grafts over field budding, simply to ensure a better percentage of successful adult vines. Our Cabernet sauvignon and Syrah were all field budded (and the majority of our existing Pinot gris), and they are happy healthy vines...we just wanted this block of new plantings up and running the first time around. We had a 100% take with our Orange muscat block, so we were encouraged to go the bench graft route once more.
Bench grafts are a more expensive approach to establishing a vineyard: there is a lot of work done in the nursery to produce a graft that is alive and calloused fast to the rootstock. You can see the callous around the graft in the picture with the nascent Pinot gris buds above. Doesn't look like much does it? However, in 4 years time it will be a tasty glass of chilled white wine enjoyed on a warm, sunny Napa summer day.