Chardonnay Clonal Mystery Solved

The mysterious origin of Margaret River’s much-loved Gingin clone of Chardonnay has been solved in a study recently published in the Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research.

Gingin is the most planted clone of Chardonnay in the Margaret River wine region.   It is known both for its tendency to produce loose grape bunches with berries of different sizes and for making complex and elegant wines.

Introduced into Western Australia in 1957 via University of California, Davis, Gingin was believed by some to be derived from the same source material as a clone known as Old Foundation Block (OF) Chardonnay, but was also commonly thought of as being the same as another clone with similar traits, called Mendoza.

The new genomics research has revealed that all three clones have a shared heritage, in an old Californian source block at UC Davis. They are, however, quite distinct from each other.

In particular, Gingin and Mendoza are as different from each other as they are from any of the other clonal selections of Chardonnay, despite their shared origins.

Margaret River Wine Association CEO, Amanda Whiteland says, “This work has not only solved a decades-old mystery but it also reinforces the uniqueness of Margaret River Chardonnay, and the important part the Gingin clone plays in it the Margaret River regional story."