The Art of Grafting

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The Art of Grafting: Extending the Ecological Vineyards of Can Gelat

A season of growth for the ecological vineyards of Can Gelat in Mallorca. While the plants flourish on our hills, new ones are emerging and beginning their journey this year. Thanks to our team of experts, we are grafting 6000 new small vines, which will eventually produce our wonderful wines.

what does grafting mean?

Grafting is an art, an ancient technique that requires expert hands. This practice began in the second half of the nineteenth century, when the phylloxera, a small parasitic insect, first arrived in Europe from America, causing enormous damage to the vineyards. It attacked and colonized the roots of European grapevine varieties, and all the vineyards of our continent became diseased. This created an unprecedented crisis for which viticulturists had to quickly find a remedy. 

The insect did not attack the roots of wild American vines, leading to the solution of combining a wild vine rootstock with the aerial part of Vitis Vinifera, the European wine grape. Today, all vineyards use this method, typically sourcing grafted combinations from greenhouses.

At Can Gelat, we planted the wild rootstocks for the extension of our vineyard just 2 years ago. Just like with grape varieties (like Chardonnay and Syrah), there is a vast selection to choose from, depending on the soil and climate. We decided on Fercal rootstock, as Fercal is extremely suitable for highly active limestone soils and a drier and warmer climate. Now that the rootstocks have reached the desired thickness and the plants have developed a strong root system, they are ready to be grafted with portions of branches of Monastrell, Syrah, Callet, and Girò Ros. These are all current grape varieties we have at Can Gelat and of which we used the wood during pruning on our estate. A great opportunity to control quality and regenerative farming! 

Grafting at Can Gelat; Our Process:

1. Preparing the Rootstock: The rootstock (in this case, the Fercal rootstock) is prepared by neatly cutting the upper parts to create a smooth surface for attaching the pruning wood.

2. Cutting the pruning wood: The pruning wood is a shoot of the different grape varieties which came from our other parcels at Can Gelat. The base of the pruned wood is cut at an angle to create a large contact surface.

3. Cutting the Rootstock: The top of the rootstock is cut at V split.

4. Placing the pruning wood: The pruning wood is carefully placed into the splitted rootstock so that the cambium layers of both parts align. This alignment is crucial for successful grafting.

5. Securing: The point where the pruning wood and rootstock meet is tightly bound with natural grafting tape to hold them in place and protect them from drying out and from diseases.

6. Protecting: Then, the hole is covered with soil to maintain a constant temperature and allow the lymphatic vessels of the two plants to connect and seal well.

7. Aftercare: Regular aftercare is essential after grafting. This includes checking for new shoots, removing wild shoots from the rootstock, and ensuring adequate water and nutrients.

By carefully following these steps, the pruning wood can successfully merge with the rootstock, resulting in a healthy, robust vine suitable for the specific soil and climate conditions at Can Gelat in Mallorca. And here the future of the small new vines of Can Gelat begins, confident that over the years they can give us excellent grapes for our wines.


grafting at can gelat