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Argentina boasts the world’s first certified Malbec vine

October 10, 2012 by Maria Jose Merino | in Latest news, News

Vivero Mercier launched “Malbec Mercier Etiqueta Azul”, a plant that embodies traceability, technological innovation, and the highest health status.

At the Enoteca, together with the references of the wine industry, Vivero Mercier presented the first certified plant of clonal Argentine Malbec with American rootstock, named “Malbec Mercier Etiqueta Azul”.

Vivero Mercier Argentina, Mendoza Experimental Station of INTA (National Institute of Agricultural Technology), and Gran Cuyo Delegation of INASE (National Seed Institute) worked all together for the country to have a certified Malbec vine. “We are on a par with the world’s most important wine countries”, highlighted Agronomist Cristobal Sola, who told the history of this Malbec Mercier Etiqueta Azul. In addition, engineer Gabriela Estevez (INASE) spoke about the significance of this certification. Afterward, María del Rocío Torres (of INTA’s laboratoty) gave a brief talk on cloning techniques and said that the main goal is to create virus-free certified select clones.

Recently arrived from France, Jean Pierre Mercier (Grupo Mercier) shared his international vision. Finally, engineer Claudia Quini (President of the International Wine Organization) pointed out: “we are proud of this certification and I welcome the fact that this clone is made in Argentina with our signature grape variety”.

Step by step

Ten years have passed since public and private works were started, giving rise to this unprecedented innovation to the Argentine viticulture.

From the beginning, Vivero Mercier and INTA worked together on the selection of Malbec clones destined to the high-end winemaking.

In 2003, ENTAV’s rootstocks (French organization) were incorporated thanks to a representation agreement with Mercier Argentina.

The following year, clonal materials were introduced into the certification system, toward the first certified plants, thought still of European origin. In 2006, INASE and INTA signed the agreement to open the Virology Laboratory, indispensable for developing the certification program of vines.

A year later, the INASE took the first samples of plants to begin the indexing. This biological procedure of health testing requires grafting the material to be tested onto the plant, and then symptoms are expected to appear.

In 2009, a deal of licensing of INTA’s clones was closed, authorizing Mercier Argentina to multiply and market them. Two years later, the indexing’s results were obtained for free-virus Malbec clones.

The INASE along with INV (National Institute of Viticulture) were in charge of supervising each stage of production and guaranteeing the traceability and the highest health status required by the certification process of vines.

In August of this year, Vivero Mercier started to graft the first certified plants of Malbec clones under the supervision of INASE. Thus, this year the company launched Malbec Mercier Etiqueta Azul, plants of the highest quality for wine producers to make Malbec wines with traceability and certified origin.

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