2. Our Conservatories of free-rooted vines
One of the main objectives of the Association Les Vieilles Branches, and which has actually inspired its name, is the constitution of a Conservatory of Free-Footed Vines.
The idea is to recover plant material from very old vines that have resisted Phylloxera under sensitive conditions (clay-limestone soils), and which can be assumed to have developed natural resistance to this pest, according to the principle of natural evolution (darwinian).
The ability of the Phylloxera, to adapt, through different cycles of evolution, is the main lesson we should learn from in this phylloxeric experiment.
The animal kingdom knows how to adapt. The plant kingdom also knows how to adapt, except when it is impacted by us. Thus, by multiplying the consumable varieties of Vitis vinifera systematically by grafting, the plants did not have the opportunity to learn to coexist with the aphid, or thus to adapt to it, which it naturally does everywhere else where man did not interfere to domesticate the plant, and so, the vine.
We have therefore increased the number of fragile plants, and reduced the possibility of evolution and resistance by the accumulation of fertilizers and chemical pharmacopoeias (Lire Henri Chaboussou: Les Plantes malades des pesticides, Editions Utovie, 2011), but also by clonal selection.
Yet the C.N.R.S. itself recognizes that genetic diversity, or intra-species diversity, within a species, “is essential to enable it to adapt to changes in its environment through evolution” («La diversité génétique: face cachée et ignorée de la biodiversité»; Archives, CNRS, September 25, 2012).
Thus, even some of the best researchers in scientific institutions are showing us the way forward, public institutions do not follow.
Finally, it is also to be hoped, even if all experiments fail technically, that they will never be inoperative for the earth and its equilibrium. In fact, without entering into a theological or scientific debate about evolutionism, everyone can agree to recognize that if one had allowed the Phylloxera’s invasion, instead of reconstituting the whole vineyard by grafting, probably the vast majority of the plants would have disappeared, but the survivors, the strongest of the species, through adaptability or epigenetics, would have learned to survive, and transmitted their genes to their offspring. The multiplication of parcels of vines from biodiversity, deserves in all cases to be established on the maximum possible sites.
The regeneration of the vines will come if not from men, from Nature itself.
Already produced in our Conservatories:
- RIESLING from Moselle,
- AGLIANICO, SIRICA, MONTUONICO from Taurasi en Italie,
- TEMPRANILLO, TINTO FINO e ALBILLO from Ribeira del Douro, in Spain,
- JACQUERE from Savoie in France
Our Association will:
- Acquire healthy and rested farmland.
- Reproduce plants from historical footprints to study whether their resistance comes from the plant (Darwinian evolution) or from their environment.
- Reintroduce varietal and intra-varietal (massal) biodiversity.
- Experiment with all this plant heritage on different sites and according to different modes of cultivation.