MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Jerry Rodrigues
Comments: 0
Article views: 2142
Latest Badges:

View all Jerry Rodrigues's badges.

The Old Wynberg Village's 95-year old grapevine is now thought to be a clone

15 February 2019, 10:34


On the 17 January 2017 in MyNews24 I published an article entitled: "An extant 95-year old grapevine in the Old Wynberg Village is likely the Cévennes Jacquez cultivar."

I also stated that that 95-year old grapevine which is growing in the vicinity of Durban Road is still producing bunches of black grapes.

The vine is located on a property consisting of two quaint vernacular cottages which were built around 1846 (the date appears above the front door) and was 'upgraded' in the early 20th century (probably before World War I).

One of those cottages was originally known as the 'Village Inn' called Prince Alfred Arms Tavern, the other was known as the Prince Alfred Cottage.

The Prince Alfred Arms Tavern was often used as the local 'watering hole' serving as a refreshment stopover so that passengers on wagons and coaches (and also the horses) travelling from Cape Town to Simon's Town could get some rest before they continued on their long and tiring journey.

That particular grapevine which I had named "the Cévennes Jacquez" would have been planted around 1922.

Incorrect identification...

Well, it turns out, after a deeper ampelographic investigation into its identity (taking note of leaf and grape berry characteristics), that the old grapevine is probably a clone of  the original Herbemont hybrid cultivar.

Both Jacquez and Herbemont cultivars (including Herbemont seedlings) were imported into the Cape Colony in 1891 for the express purpose of using them as rootstocks because the phylloxera insect had begun devastating the Cape's vineyards. It had been previously determined that the Jacquez and Herbemont rootstocks were somewhat immune to the ravages of the insect precisely because they were hybrid cultivars containing both American and European Vitis genes – the former providing the vine’s immunity.

Some ampelographic evidence…

I tested the 95-year old grapevine for two notable characteristics and these are the results:

(1) Dormant Herbemont canes are notoriously difficult to start rooting. I compared the relative rooting ability of the 95-year old grapevine cuttings with those of the Madeira Jacquez.

Rooting of dormant canes was 4 – 5 times easier in the Jacquez compared with the former cultivar.

(2) The grape berries of  Jacquez grapevine cultivars (there are a number of Jacquez seedling cultivars) are all known to be of the teinturier type – in other words, the anthocyanins (purple colouring matter in the grapes) are found within both their skins AND pulp.

Using an 8x magnification microscope I determined that the 95-year old grapevine's berries contained anthocyanin colouring matter which was restricted to their skins. There was very little to no anthocyanin colouring matter within the pulp of the berry (i.e. once the skins were carefully peeled off the grape berry).

Inevitable conclusion…

These two simple tests provide good preliminary evidence that the 95-year old Wynberg Village grapevine is probably an ancient clone of the true original Herbemont hybrid rootstock cultivar, which I believe is in real danger of becoming extinct for historical reasons.

It will be a sad day if that happens in the near future because we all have a duty to preserve our grapevine germplasm for future generations.

There is only one species of cultivated European grapevine and that is the Vitis vinifera.

Climate change is likely to wreak havoc on Vitis vinifera in future, so we need all the available genetic diversity we can get.

In conclusion, in order to confirm the identity of that old Wynberg Village grapevine, it will be necessary to perform a microsatellite DNA analysis (a.k.a. Simple Sequence Repeat or SSR analysis).

Dr Jerry Rodrigues (PhD, Biochemistry, UCT)

(14 Feb 2019)
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.


Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Thandisizwe Mgudlwa
Don't take Zuma's accusations lig...

Zuma's accusations that two of his comrades Ngoako Ramatlhodi and Siphiwe Nyanda, among others, were agents of the apartheid regime, hence they want to destroy him, can not be taken lightly. Read more...

0 comments 4706 views
Submitted by
Submitted by
LETTER: Zuma's testimony meant to...

I would have rather not allowed Jacob Zuma to derail the focus of the country and the movement away from mandate of the Zondo commission of inquiry because that is precisely what his outburst is intended to achieve.  Read more...

0 comments 829 views
Submitted by
Thandisizwe Mgudlwa
Ramaphosa doomsayers' criticism p...

It may be naive to seek to predict what the outcome of a nation's leader would turn out to be. South Africa's sixth administration is still coming out of the starting blocks. Read more...

0 comments 1413 views
Submitted by
An exodus of talent caused by cor...

When the country sees the very top of the pile getting away with blatant corruption it is little wonder why crime flourishes. Read more...

0 comments 3024 views
Submitted by
Patient abuse: Sharing content mu...

It is extremely easy, taking a mere split-second to share a video, but pre-sharing it, it is the duty and responsibility of the sharer to ethically deem whether the to-be shared content is an infringement on the basic privacy rights of the subject within the video.  Read more...

0 comments 704 views


Press Code We subscribe to the Press Code.

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

Terms and Conditions Terms and Conditions - Updated April 2012

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2019 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.