Rootstock Selection

Easy Reference Guide

The following guide has been developed by Ormond Nurseries Ltd in conjunction with experienced NZ viticulturalists.  This guide is to help you gain a basic understanding of the rootstock options you have and their relative strengths and weaknesses in NZ conditions.  It is, however, generalised and does not take into account the particular soils and conditions of your site.  We strongly encourage you to seek independent expert advice before making your rootstock choice. 

Please remember that the most important points to consider are: the use of grafted vines to avoid phylloxera, and to plant only certified grape plants.  

The first question to always ask is ‘What is your soil type.’  It is also important to consider if you are:

  • Developing a new site
  • Replacing individual vines
  • Total replant

The chart below will provide you with a selection of general points to take into account when considering rootstock selection.  If you do require more specific information, please contact our office.   

101-14The Thoroughbred
If the conditions are perfect, it will win every time. Anything to upset the apple cart and it will sulk
  • Good with saline soils
  • Avoid heavy soils
  • Succeptible to trunk diseases – avoid using if you have an ‘imperfectly’ drained site.
  • Has had a bad reputation with some incidence of Black Goo.
  • Best in fresh clay/moist deep soils
  • Slightly more vigorous than 3309
  • Not recommended to use in an organic vineyard, as it does not handle stress
DO NOT USE IF: Unhealthy, poorly drained site
3309The Quarterhorse
Can do anything. If you are unsure, this is a good all-rounder
  • Most versatile, ‘go-to’ rootstock
  • General purpose. Currently most popular rootstock for NZ conditions.
  • Use it in problem soils, as it can handle a range of soil types from fresh deep non/clay soils to stony sites.
  • Delay in bud burst so you can use it in cooler parts of the vineyard.
  • Good to use with close plantings.
  • Best for use with HI-STEM™ tall vines
DO NOT USE IF: Swampy, peaty soils with high acid
3306The Quarterhorse
Can do anything. If you are unsure, this is a good all-rounder
  • Underrated rootstock
  • A bit behind 3309 in terms of vigour
  • Best to use in frost prone sites as it delays budburst
  • Recommended to use in heavy, clay soils
DO NOT USE IF: Swampy, peaty soils with high acid
SO4/5CThe Clydesdale
The workhorse of all rootstocks
  • High vigour
  • Avoid rich soils
  • Strong place in Marlborough, especially on stony soils
  • Good with ‘wet feet’ but readily takes up moisture, leading to berry splitting
  • Weak point is taking up magnesium (not a soil nutrition issue, but if you plant it, make sure you are using a foliar fertiliser).
  • Very few incidents where you will use it with a red variety
DO NOT USE IF: saline soils (lower Wairau, Southern Valleys)
SchwarzmannThe Stubborn/Working Mule
Recommended to use where there are some problems/issues or a chequered history. Useful, but hard to get out of the box
  • Medium vigour, and good with ‘wet feet’
  • If you have an ugly part of the vineyard (i.e., poorly drained) then Schwarzmann is a good choice
  • Popularity has diminished due to tight bunch architecture (although undervine competition is seeing to negate this)
  • One of the slowest for re-establishment
  • Ideal for rogueing, but not a total replant
  • Earliest rootstock for bud burst
DO NOT USE IF: Frost prone sites
Riparia GloireThe Lipizzaner Stallion
the least understood of all the rootstocks
  • Underrated rootstock
  • Low vigour
  • Drought poor
  • Definitely a place for it on heavier sites
  • Slow to establish (less an extra year to get going), especially if it is not well looked after
  • Slower for the first 3 years, but once it is away it is worth the effort
  • Early ripening
  • Impacts favourably with Sauvignon Blanc (could be a result of sugar accumulation)
DO NOT USE IF: on an organic vineyard as it is a very shallow rooting rootstock. It is also not a good choice to use with HI-STEMTM tall vines, as the rootstock stem does not thicken as quickly as the scionwood.

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t: 03 577 6354 . - e:
148 Rowley Cresent, Grovetown, Blenheim, New Zealand
Specialists in Certified Grafted Grapevines.

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