Clone What is a clone?
As winemakers, we talk a lot about the clonal composition of wines. So, what is a clone, and why is it so important?
A “clone” is a genetically distinct subtype of a grape variety, selected for specific taste, aromatics or other qualities. Vineyards are asexually propagated, meaning they are developed from cuttings of other, established vines, rather than grown from seed. As a result, these new vines are identical to the ‘mother’ vine in all growth pattern and sensory qualities.
Pinot Noir is highly susceptible to genetic mutations, which has lead to a wide array of cultivated Pinot Noir clones. These clones all share defining characteristics of the Pinot Noir varietal, yet taste distinctively different from one another. Similar to when you go to the grocery store to buy apples – a Fuji apple tastes different than a Granny Smith or Golden Delicious, yet they all taste like apples.
To date, over 1,000 clones of Pinot Noir have been identified, all with distinct flavor and growth profiles. Each clone contributes a unique nuance to the wine, whether it is rich aromatics, well-woven tannins, a smooth mouthfeel or any other signature distinction. By hand selecting multiple clones specific to the vineyard site, we are able to layer these nuances while creating a pure reflection of the terroir, creating compelling wines of depth and purity.