Grafted vines for planting in UK vineyards are produced in nurseries overseas, mainly in France and Germany. Here, because of the size of the industry, there are many hundreds of pépiniéristes and rebschulen, each with their own specialties and it is important when buying vines to know about the provenance of the material – wood for both rootstocks and scions – and the working practices – storage conditions and shipping techniques – of the nurseries that supply your vines.
In 1975-6 Stephen worked in a very large vineyard and winery – Schloss Schönborn in Germany's Rheingau region – and there helped select wood for grafting from their "mother-gardens" – vineyards legally permitted to supply scion wood for grafting – as well as operating one of the Wagner Omega grafting machines. Whilst attending the viticulture and winemaking school at Geisenheim, Stephen took classes in vine production, gaining the best marks in the hand-grafting examination!
Since ordering vines in 1976 for planting at Tenterden, Stephen has worked with some of the best vine-nurseries and in France and Germany, obtaining and supplying vines to UK growers. The vines supplied are all virus certified, true to type and carry EU plant passports. Whilst no plant can be guaranteed to grow, after almost 40 years of buying and supplying vines, incidences of failure (over 2%) are rare and reasonable replacements are offered at cost.
Prices of vines depend on many factors: quantity, variety clone and rootstock and a quote will be given once individual requirements have been established.
Because Stephen tends to deal with larger quantities of vines (5,000 or more – although smaller volumes can be supplied) prices are exceptionally keen. All vines are kept in temperature controlled stores until dispatch and go straight into cold storage in the UK until ready to be planted.
For further information on what varieties are suitable for the UK see Vine Varieties, Clones and Rootstocks for UK Vineyards.