A clone (from the Greek word for twig) is a genetically distinct sub-type of a grape variety created by taking cuttings from an original mother vine with desirable characteristics and propagating new, identical vines.

Cloning became popular in the 1960s and early 70s, when growers propagated vines from their favorite vineyards. Old Wente clones were the original standard for Chardonnay, while Beringer and Martini were the first widely planted Pinot Noir clones. Studies have demonstrated that Pinot Noir has a long history and is significantly older than Cabernet Sauvignon as a grape variety. Because of its age, Pinot Noir mutates easily and has since generated over 1,000 clones, more than any other variety.

We all win in this scenario -- a diverse set of clones is crucial to creating complex wines. Some provide lively aromatics or soft mouth texture while others provide an earthiness so prevalent in Pinot Noir. This wide selection of clonal attributes provides our winemaking team with a diverse palette to frame layered vineyard blends, especially our Russian River Valley wines. Additionally, although many Champagne and sparkling wine houses around the world utilize clones specifically created for sparkling wine, J only employs varietal clones for crafting our Pinot Noir and Chardonnay sparkling blends.

Pinot Noir Clones/Selections

All Pinot Noir clones planted in North American originally came from France, imported mainly by the University of California at Davis.

Pinot Noir "Old School" Clones:
  • Pommard: Available in California for a number of years, and often works as a "stand-alone" clone. Wines from this clone are sometimes known for displaying dark fruit flavor and a meaty, gamey edge. Planted in Bow Tie, Canfield, Tear Drop Estate Vineyards.
  • Rochioli Selection: Offers black cherry and spice. Planted in Bow Tie, Robert ThomasEstate Vineyards.  
  • University of California at Davis (UCD) 4: Used primarily for sparkling wine. Planted in River Road Estate Vineyard.
  • UCD 15: A hearty, hard-working clone used primarily to make sparkling wines. Planted in Robert Thomas Estate Vineyard.
  • 2A/Wädenswil: Originally from Switzerland and planted broadly in both California and Oregon. This clone contributes exotic spice character and consistently good color.Planted in Bow Tie, Nicole's, and Tear Drop Estate Vineyards.
  • 31/Roederer Selection: Vines from this clone develop huge berries, and wines have elegant, floral notes. Used mainly for sparkling wine. Planted in Robert Thomas Estate Vineyard.
  • Swan: Originally propagated by Joseph Swan right here in the Russian River Valley, this clone displays bright fruit and moderate richness. Planted in Bow Tie Estate Vineyard.
Pinot Noir Dijon Clones:

Today, there are approximately 50 certified Dijon clones of Pinot Noir in theCatalog of Grapevine Varieties and Clones published by ENTAV-INRA (L’Establissement National Technique pour l’Ameléioration de la Viticulture/Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France), and 15 are significantly propagated throughout the world as suitable for Pinot Noir still wine. J grows six of these clones.

  • Clone 113: Perhaps the most elegant of Pinot Noir clones, with perfumed aromatics and elegance. When properly managed, wines from this clone exhibit impressive weight and body as well. Planted in Nicole's, Robert Thomas and Tear Drop Estate Vineyards.
  • Clone 115: Contributes light fruit and color as well as offers supple tannins to a blend. By far the most widely planted of the Dijon varieties, clone 115 works great as a stand alone, and is a superstar in our Pinot Noir program. Planted in Bow Tie, Nicole's and Robert Thomas Estate Vineyards
  • Clone 667: Typically perceived to be a clone that adds structure and color to the final wine, it has very pure aromas and persistence in the mouth. Planted in Bow Tie, Robert Thomas and Tear Drop Estate Vineyards.
  • Clone 777: Known for being very dark and rich, this clone is a standout in our Pinot Noir program. Planted in Bow Tie, Robert Thomas, Canfield and Tear Drop Estate Vineyards.
  • Clone 828: Noted for its large, long and skinny clusters, this clone contributes deep color, focused sweet berry fruit flavors, and excellent retention of acidity. Planted in Bow Tie, Robert Thomas, Canfield and Tear Drop Estate Vineyards.
  • Clone 943: A newer clone to the scene, 943 was introduced in 1989. With dark color and very small berries, it's concentrated in flavor. Planted in Canfield Estate Vineyard.
Pinot Gris Clones
  • Clone 152: A reliable clone, this variety consistently produces the lowest yields and the highest sugars. It adds roundness and length, with peach, melon, honey and fig flavors. Imported from Alsace. Planted in Cooper Estate Vineyard.
  • Clone 146: Offers slightly greater yields and produces crisp, flinty wines with delicate floral aromas and grapefruit characters. Imported from Alsace. Planted in Cooper Estate Vineyard.
Chardonnay Clones
  • Dijon 76: Ripens earlier and develops flavors similar to White Burgundy wines, including tropical fruit and grapefruit. Planted in Bow Tie Estate Vineyard
  • Old Wente: Delivers small clusters with low yields, thick skins and large and small berries in the same cluster. Wines from this clone show an array of apple, citrus and spice character. Planted in River Road Estate Vineyard.
  • Z Clone: Developed in the late 1990s, this aromatic clone adds perfumey aromatics and elegance to a blend. Planted in Bow Tie Estate Vineyard.
  • 4: Known as a "workhorse" clone due to its high quality and yields, it offers tropical notes and lower acidity. Planted in River Road Estate Vineyard.
Chardonnay Clone 4.

Chardonnay Clone 4.