Ungrafted vines: our tie to history

The history of the grapevine is intertwined with that of our civilisation. From the first enoici steps in Mesopotamia to the present day, this plant, for better or worse, has been the co-protagonist of the social, economic and cultural development of our civilisation.
It was during a very dark period starting in 1868 when the flourishing winegrowing activities were torn apart by a highly destructive small insect.
The phylloxera (phylloxera vastatrix) is a very small insect that lives in the deepest layers of soil and that attacks the roots of the vines, dissecting the plant and therefore impeding its growth.
All of Europe was hit by this plague that arrived from North America and that was beaten only at the end of the 1800s when the French had an idea that brought about success: graft the European Vitis Vinifera onto the American cuttings that were resistant and immune to the phylloxera attack.
This saved European viticulture from a huge disaster but has irreparably compromised the DNA of the native European stock.

The revenge of harsh lands

Vermentino di Gallura grapes on ungrafted cultivation in Badesi

Some areas in France and Italy were safe from this disaster because the lands upon which the vines stood, as well as the soil and climate conditions, didn’t allow the parasites to develop and attack the plants.
In Sardinia, and thanks to the soil structure, some areas were able to continue cultivating the vines as they were before 1868, i.e. before the phylloxera attack.
Particularly sandy soils in which the insect couldn’t attack the plant allowed the development of non-grafted cultivation, as is the case in the sandy soils of Badesi.
Ungrafted grapes can be considered as being true native grapes with characteristics that cannot be found in the same variety that was grafted onto American cuttings.
Ungrafted varieties, unlike the American vines, limit the vegetation and the productivity of the vines resulting in low yields that are characterized by their high quality and concentration of polyphenolic substances.

Most of the vineyards at Cantina Li Duni are ungrafted cultivations with alberello and guyot trained plants that have proven to be the types best suited to the conditions of our soil.