Development of grapevine nursery in Vrhpolje through time

Why do we have to graft vines knowing that centuries ago it was not done?

In the second half of the 19th century, a pest was introduced to our land, the vine louse (Phylloxera), that in a short period of time seriously jeopardised the whole existence of European viticulture. Unlike American, European grapevine has not developed resistance to the horrible pest which is why our ancestors had to begin with grafting European noble vines with American rootstocks in order to preserve European viticulture. The following rootstock varieties were used in the beginning: Riparia portali, Rupestrisdu Lot and Aramon. In order to adjust to European soil, a process of grafting the above-mentioned rootstocks started which resulted in producing all the rootstocks used today by the beginning of the 20th century.

The beginning of vine grafting in Vrhpolje strarted with the Austro-Hungarian decree sending 

The Salicki brothers to Vrhpolje to teach winegrowers the art of grafting. The Grafting Association,thus, came about in 1905 which layed a foundation for nursery development in Vrhpolje. Unfortunately, the development was first slowed down by the First World War and later by the change of statehood after the war. The territory belonged to Italy after the war and the state was not supportive of any further grapevine nursery development in Vrhpolje, in fact, it was hindering it.

The Agricultural Cooperative Vrhpolje was founded in 1946, just after the Second World War, started producing grafted vines yet again. During the post-war time, the vine grafting was done in Vipava area at the Agriculture School Lože and Agricultural Cooperative Vipava.

The Agricultural Cooperative Vrhpolje opened a modern facility for grafted vines production – Trsnica Vrhpolje. This event stimulated other smaller grapevine nurseries to merge with Vrhpolje, thus making it the biggest producer of grafted vines and the bearer of nursery development in Slovenia.

Later years saw the mergingof grapevine nurseries in Agricultural Cooperative Vipava in 1962, in TOK Vipava, in KK Vipava in 1965 and again in KZ Vipava in 1990. During all these processes of merging, Trsnica Vrhpolje remained a vital part in the development of viticulture in Vipava. Suffice to say it was the only grapevine nursery that did not stop its production during the first very big crisis in grafted vines production in Slovenia, which lasted from the end of 1960s to 1972, when the first Slovenian Congress on Viticulture took place in Kostanjevica pri Krki.

Another difficult time for grapevine nurseriesoccurred with the independence of Slovenia in 1991. Slovenian grapevine nurseries were strongly connected to other ex-Yugoslavian republics which not only supplied rootstocks from the mother plants, but also served as the main market for our products.

During those troubling times, fifty vinegrowers made a decision to establish an independent specialised grapevine nursery cooperative Trsnica Vrhpolje z.o.o. in 1994, its main service being production of scions and rootstocks as base materials and grafted vines as the end products.