Mystery of Margaret River’s Chardonnay clone solved

The disputed heritage of the ‘Gingin’ Chardonnay clone used in Margaret River has apparently been solved.

A recent study in the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research delved into the background of the clone, the exact origins of which have been argued over for more than 60 years.

Introduced into the Western Australian region from California in 1957, ‘Gingin’ is today the most widely planted Chardonnay clone in Margaret River and known for producing loose bunches with berries of varying size but also elegant, complex wines.

Its precise heritage, however, has remained something of a mystery and there have been various competing theories about its relation to two other widely planted Chardonnay clones; ‘Old Foundation Block’ and ‘Mendoza’, with some saying Gingin was perhaps a further clonal derivation from one or the other.

What the research revealed, however, was that all three have a shared heritage and come from a source block at UC Davis in California, from the Chardonnay-1 clone, but that all are perfectly distinct from one another.

It was shown, in fact, that despite their shared origins, Gingin and Mendoza are as distinct from one another as any other clonal selection of Chardonnay.

Margaret River Wine Association CEO, Amanda Whiteland, said: “This work has not only solved a decades-old mystery but it also reinforces the uniqueness of Margaret River Chardonnay, and the important part the Gingin clone plays in it the Margaret River regional story”.

The study also showed that the use of clonal genetic markers to identify grapevine clones is possible, meaning other the origins, heritage and relations of other clones can be unravelled.

The full report can be found here.

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