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Identification of the Pinot Noir Cultivar and Its Clones

Grapevine cultivars can be identified by two methods but current techniques cannot identify a cultivar at the clone level.

There are two vine identification methods: Ampelography and DNA testing.

Ampelography is a visual inspection of the growing shoot tip and young leaf in the spring (see photo above of Pinot Noir from The Vitis International Variety Catalogue - VIVC), the mature leaf from flowering onwards and the cluster morphology and berry from veraison onwards. I have discussed the identification of Pinot Noir clones by cluster appearance previously at 1871/.

DNA testing has shown its potential to identify grapevine cultivars since early 1990. For example, the Pinot Noir grape genome was sequenced several years ago using fingerprinting technology by an Italian-based multinational consortium. Identifying a vine by DNA profiling has the advantage over ampelography because ampelography is subjective and subject to morphological variability depending on site, climate, vintage and other variables.

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