Sunridge Nurseries Innovates with Cuyama Valley Mother Block
When you speak with Julian Clymer or Sebastian Traviesa of Sunridge Nurseries, you can’t help but note the excitement in their voices. As vineyard representatives for the North Coast of California, both men enjoy the opportunity to speak about the unique and innovative aspects of their employer. They’re quick to let you know, for example, that Sunridge Nurseries is “the most trusted and respected name in the grapevine nursery stock industry.”
For forty years, the Stoller family has been operating Sunridge Nurseries and prides itself on consistent quality, innovation, and improvement. Their approach has elevated the company from a local and regional influence to the forefront of national and international product development and advances.
Sourcing Clean Vines from Cuyama Valley
According to Sebastian, the company’s commitment to being an industry leader is best exemplified by its “mother block,” located in Cuyama Valley, an hour outside of Bakersfield. “Because of industry pressure for clean vines,” he says, “Sunridge Nurseries created a state-of-the-art mother block in a completely isolated location that holds a tremendous amount of scion wood and rootstock available for propagation.”
The location is purposeful in that it ensures the grapestock, which is planted in virgin ground, is not in proximity to pest and disease pressures. Moreover, fruit removal occurs before the grapes are ripe, limiting potential vectors that may enter the block. These conditions make the Cuyama Ranch the largest, most isolated Protocol 2010 mother block in the world, according to the men.
Constructing the Future
Meeting the needs of the growing community means being adaptable and investing in technology as well. Recently, the company announced a facilities expansion project that will add leading-edge greenhouses and shade houses to improve production standards. As a result of increased grower use in recent years, says Julian, Sunridge Nurseries is gearing up for the higher demand in green potted vines. “Dormant, field-finished vines will always be a core part of our business. However, green potted vines can be produced more quickly and provide the flexibility for us to meet the needs of growers,” he says.
Working with International Partners to Expand Access to Varietals and Clones
To meet the growing demand for California premium wines, Sunridge has partnered with several international programs to bring to the region more diversified varietals and clonal materials. Since 1998 when Sunridge Nurseries signed an agreement with ENTAV, the French National Technical Center for the Improvement of Viticulture, the company has been able to provide clonal selections with a verifiable heritage from the ENTAV repositories in France, licensed under the ENTAV-INRA trademark. Growers of Lake County may be interested in production and quality capabilities of Cabernet Sauvignon 15 & 685, as well as the musque aromas of Sauvignon Blanc clone 530.
Sunridge Nurseries has developed similar programs for clonal material from other international regions as well. Its agreement with PLANSEL provides an exclusive license to produce and market proprietary grape clonal selections from the Iberian Peninsula; a similar agreement with Rebschule Steinmann of Germany provides access to its Domina varietal.
Dedication to Growers
Innovation notwithstanding, the company’s first priorities are creating quality products and delivering superior customer service. “Ultimately,” says Sebastian, “quality comes down to our people. We have a very experienced production team. Each of our supervisors has been with Sunridge for over 30 years, and their knowledge and experience are unparalleled in the industry.”
Julian adds, “We pride ourselves on being available for clients who are planting a vineyard. From development, through planting, and afterwards for the follow up…it’s a partnership.”
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