Frequently Asked Questions
Before you buy, sell, plant, or trade grapevines.
What is the difference between ‘Certified’ and ‘Foundation’ grapevines?
Producing a single grapevine that is tested and free of a long list of diseases (viruses and bacteria) that degrade the quality and quantity of vineyard production is a very time and resource consuming process. It is too expensive to produce acres of vineyard with material that has been tested to this standard. To make disease control practical, a vine of each clone is subjected to the complete pathogen elimination and testing procedure. These vines are called ‘Foundation’ vines. They are then propagated by nurseries following a protocol defined by each state to minimize re-infection. The vines produced this way are called ‘Certified’ vines.
How does certification work?
The label of ‘Certified’ is the result of a healthy vine being propagated using procedures to minimize infection and disease spread, and this process is legally defined by each State’s Dept. of Agriculture. In this process, a ‘Mother Block’ is planted at a nursery with vines obtained from a ‘Foundation’ program. State regulations govern the details of how ‘Mother Block’ planting is done and specifies acceptable vine sources, vineyard isolation distances and other operation parameters. Vines from the ‘Mother Block’ are propagated to produce ‘Certified’ vines. If a vine is grafted onto rootstock, both the scion and the rootstock have to meet these standards to qualify as ‘Certified’.
Why should I plant ‘Certified’ grapevines?
Planting ‘Certified’ material helps prevent the introduction and/or spread of many unwanted diseases. Unlike insects and many fungal diseases, the viruses, viroids, phytoplasmas and bacteria addressed by certification programs cannot be controlled by chemical sprays after vines are infected. Once disease is established, it is difficult and costly to eradicate. Planting ‘Certified’ vines is the best insurance for a healthy and profitable vineyard.
What is meant by ‘Foundation’ grapevines?
‘Foundation’ grapevines are the original source of a nursery’s ‘Mother Block’. Each vine in a ‘Mother Block’ can be traced back to a single vine ‘Foundation’ source. Minimum standards for a ‘Foundation’ vineyard are determined by WA State Administrative Code (WAC) and the National Clean Plant Network-Grapes. In WA, ‘Foundation’ grapevines come from grapevines established and maintained by the Clean Plant Center–NW (CPC-NW) at Washington State University. ‘Foundation’ material can also come from other equivalently defined ‘Foundation’ sources as determined by WA State Dept. of Ag.
What is the ‘Clean Plant Center–NW’ and its role in Certification?
The CPC-NW provides ‘Foundation’ vines to participating certified nurseries or other customers. This ‘Foundation’ stock meets or exceeds the quarantine and certification codes in the clean plant stock programs of ID, OR and WA. The CPC–NW for grapes acquires varieties for inclusion in the ‘Foundation’ program, performs the necessary procedures to clean up or ensure that the material is free of regulated pathogens, maintains stock records, and evaluates varieties to ensure they are true-to-type.
Is the Clean Plant Center–NW different from other Foundation Programs?
Vines in the CPC-NW Foundation Program have to be free of a more extensive list of prohibited viruses and diseases than required by PNW state codes. The CPC-NW also uses a technique to help reduce/eliminate the incidence of the crown gall bacterium in new vine acquisitions. For current information on the pathogens and the tests used by the program, please contact the CPC-NW.
Can anyone get propagation from the Clean Plant Center–NW?
Anyone can get plants from CPC-NW, but because of limited availability, priority is given to requests from the Northwest. The priority ranking is: (i) certified nurseries; (ii) state and federal research units; (iii) non-certified nurseries; (iv) individual growers; and (v) out-of-region or foreign clients.
What does ‘Quarantine’ mean?
A ‘Quarantine’ is a restriction on the transportation of plant material across specified boundaries. Washington State has a quarantine on grape planting stock coming in from other states and territories in the USA. Quarantine rules and mandates for WA are found in WAC 16-481 and WAC 16-483. WA, OR, NY and ID have quarantines specific for grapevine pests.
A federal quarantine that regulates plant imports from other countries. Foreign-originating grape planting stock must satisfy the federal quarantine rules, with either accepted phytosanitary documentation or processing and release from a federally approved foreign import station.
Can plant material be purchased from outside the USA?
Plant material can be purchased from outside of the USA, but all federal importation and phytosanitary requirements must be met. ‘Certified’ grapevines from an approved program in Canada do not require a ‘foreign import station’ for entry into the USA. In WA, this stock can be directly planted into a commercial vineyard, but if it is destined to be propagated and distributed, a permit is required. A permit for this activity can be obtained from USDA-APHIS-PPQ.
Can ‘Certified’ plant material be purchased from outside the State?
Certified plant material can be purchased from outside of the state, but the stock must meet the recipient State’s ‘Quarantine’ requirements. The certification programs in CA and OR are recognized by WA. NOTE: While these ‘Certification’ programs are recognized, they may not have the same list of regulated pathogens as required of Washington State Certified Nurseries. It is important to know which certification program your planting stock has gone through, in order to understand to which disease agents the material is certified free.
Can ‘non-Certified’ plant material be purchased at nurseries?
Unfortunately, non-certified plant material can be purchased at nurseries and retail outlets. Washington State quarantines only regulate grapevines coming into the state; nurseries and growers can propagate vines from sources other than registered ‘Mother Blocks’. Sale of this material is legal within WA state boundaries. Sales to other states are legal only if the material complies with the quarantine regulations of the recipient state.
How do selections make it into the Clean Plant Center-NW Foundation vineyard?
Grape selections considered for inclusion in the foundation vineyard go through a selection process. To begin the process: (1) a proposal for a variety/clone is submitted to the CPC–NW; (2) the CPC–NW presents proposals to a selection committee of industry members for approval or rejection; (3) CPC–NW acquires the selection and completes requirements (pathogen elimination and testing) for inclusion in the ‘Foundation’ vineyard. Proposals for inclusion are open to all, but due to limitations on acquisition funding and propagation space, not all requests will be honored. This process occurs annually.
What is the ‘National Clonal Germplasm Repository’?
There are two grape repositories in the National program: one at UC-Davis, CA and the other at Cornell University, Geneva, NY. The National Clonal Germplasm Repository is a federally administered program whose entities collect, maintain, characterize, and distribute many types of plants. Its purpose is to preserve diversity. The repository does not offer certified plants and thus ready accessibility is limited to research purposes if they are unable to satisfy state quarantine requirements for general entry.
Updated 5 March 2012
For more information contact:
Director, Clean Plant Center-NW
Operations Manager, Clean Plant Center-NW Grapes
WSDA Plant Services Manager