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In June 2022, Jean-Claude and I had the pleasure of meeting with the renowned molecular geneticist, Professor Philippe Gallusci of Bordeaux University regarding the VitaGLOBAL Erasmus + Project. The project aims at South-North knowledge exchange and co-development in vine science, oenology and wine economy.  Our meeting was facilitated by Doctor Erna Blancqueart  of Stellenbosch University.

It is a generally accepted fact that the vines at Creation are virus-free. Our Pinot Noir vineyards originated from sanitised mother plants and tests on the most classic viral diseases have been negative since the vines were planted in 2005. This caught the attention of Professor Gallusci, for whom the reality might be more complex.  Does the assumption of a virus-free vineyard reflect all the facts?

Further investigation appears to be necessary and we recently welcomed Professor Gallusci back to the estate. To evaluate the possible presence of virus populations in the vineyard, leaf samples from randomly selected plants were taken. These samples will be used to establish a map of viruses present in the vineyard, whether they are associated or not with a disease. This is the beginning of an exciting study that should last some six months and involves three main steps:

– The extraction of RNA (Ribo Nucleic Acids) from leaf samples

– Their characterisation by sequencing

– The identification of those of viral origin.

Needless to say, we at Creation are delighted to partake in this study which will not only be of great value to us, but also to the South African Wine Industry in its entirety.

Carolyn Martin – Creation Wines

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