SANTA ROSA, February 17, 2021 – The ancient Baldocchi Zinfandel Clone 29 grapevines will not be available for sale this year, but actions are underway to ensure availability by 2023. Zinfandel Clone 29 is proprietary to Dempel Farming Company, owned by Robert Dempel of Santa Rosa.
For 19 years, Sunridge Nurseries in Bakersfield propagated and sold almost 400,000 of these vines to grape growers throughout California and the United States. Sunridge Nurseries recently notified Dempel that it had cancelled its long-standing contract with Dempel Farming Company, and it had removed the Zinfandel vines from its CDFA-registered grapevine nursery. “The cancellation came as a complete shock and I was extremely disappointed with the decision,” Dempel said.
Dempel is working as quickly as possible to fill a need for the highly-desired Baldocchi clone. He purchased all of the Zinfandel Clone 29 cuttings available from Foundation Plant Services (FPS) at UC Davis this year. FPS Director Dr. Deborah Golino said the vines are “clean, clean.” Dempel arranged to have the cuttings rooted at a CDFA-registered increase block this year. In 2022, buds from the vines can be used to produce a limited amount of Zinfandel Clone 29 to put on any selected rootstock. Dempel hopes to have the Baldocchi Zinfandel Clone 29 fully available by 2023.