Grafting experiment yields first vintage of Jordan Malbec grapes

by on August 30, 2012

Jordan Winery Estate Malbec grapes

The results from our vineyard grafting experiment are nearly complete, and I’m very pleased with the first estate Malbec grapes that will be harvested in early October.

Using soil-mapping study findings, we grafted two under-performing Cabernet Sauvignon vineyard blocks and one Merlot block over to Malbec and Petit Verdot. The transformation of the vineyards over the last 16 months is really amazing. Back in 2011, once the vines had been converted to new varieties, I talked about the grafting process here on the blog and posted a grafting demonstration video. It’s included it below, so you can see the complete transformation.

The grafting project outcome has been beyond my expectations. Yesterday, Assistant Winemaker Maggie Kruse and I walked through the new Malbec blocks and tasted the grapes. Maggie was really impressed with the flavor concentration in the grapes for a one-year-old grafted vineyard in mid-August. The sugar levels in the grapes are much higher at this point in the growing season than was the case when the vineyard grew Cabernet. If Malbec continues to perform well on the estate, we may continue expanding the grafting program. Winemaker Rob Davis loves to blend a little Malbec with our Cabernet Sauvignon to enhance the mouthfeel.

I look forward to tasting the grapes again with Rob and the winemaking team in a few weeks, and hopefully the vines will continue to mature and their fruit will be worthy of the Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon master blend by 2013. The grafted Petit Verdot blocks are looking really good as well, but that Bordeaux variety ripens later than Malbec, so we should begin the sampling process in the next two weeks.

2011 Grafting Demonstration Video:

YouTube Preview Image


  • Pingback: Terroirist: A Daily Wine Blog » Daily Wine News: Alsatian Purity

  • The Drunken Cyclist

    Thanks for sharing this again, fascinating stuff and very well made, of course!

  • Pingback: Daily Wine News: Alsatian Purity

  • Pingback: » Blog Archive » Daily Wine News: Alsatian Purity

  • MAHLbec

    maehlBECK. lol

  • lisamattson


  • Richard Pascal

    I kind of feel like the people who bomb abortion clinics might take issue with this. I have heard about grafting vines in passing before but never really looked into how it was done. Love it.

  • Thomas B.

    The Journey of Jordan…Food, Wine, Hospitality. Food first? Interesting…

  • lisamattson

    That’s the beauty of our history, Thomas. Few people know that food actually came first. A love of fine food is what drew the Jordans to the wine business.

  • Lisa

    Removing the grapevine’s upper trunk and adding new buds from a different wine varietal is actually less disruptive to the overall ecosystem–even if cutting of the vines looks dramatic.

  • Lisa

    You’re welcome. Thanks for watching.