In order to ensure access to optimal levels of plant material of high phytosanitary status for Lelienfontein Vine Growers and its clients, ownership of Ernita PIO was taken over in 2014, including the gene pool of clones that this PIO brought with it. Our specialist team in charge of the plant improvement unit has been building up experience in this discipline since as long ago as 1975. Since then the functions of plant improvement have expanded to include table and dried grapes, as well as the importation of new grape cultivars.
Lelienfontein’s plant improvement unit is part of the South African Plant Improvement Scheme (Plant SA), which is in overall charge of the various schemes that together monitor and control the quality of plant material in the South African grapevine industry.
The plant improvement unit offers the following functions and services:
- Assistance with the importation and quarantine of new plant material (clones)
- Testing, multiplication and evaluation of new plant material by heat therapy and in vitro for the virus cleansing of plant material (where applicable)
- Maintenance and conservation of the gene pool.
- The establishment of nucleus and soil improvement units, after which they are multiplied in a foundation nursery as required for the establishment of mother units.
- Providing an inspection service with our own inspectors in order to deliver the quality of plant material laid down by the national schemes.