AN ESTIMATED 80% OF CALIFORNIA’S 90,000 ACRES OF CABERNET SAUVIGNON ARE PLANTED TO
The Concannon Cabernet Clones 7, 8, 11
In 1960, Jim Concannon became third generation vintner at a time when California wine was unnoticed worldwide. However, like his fathers before him, Jim believed in California’s unparalleled potential to become as great a wine region as Bordeaux. In the 1950s, when the California wine industry was still struggling to recover from Prohibition, Dr. Harold Olmo, UC Davis’ renowned “Indiana Jones” of viticulture, initiated a grapevine certification program to develop and distribute virus-free grape stock for re-establishing a successful, California wine industry. At that time, a mere 700 acres were planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, so Dr. Olmo began his exhaustive search to find the best, most productive, Cabernet vines for supplying to growers for making better wines.
Jim was an avid proponent of Dr. Olmo’s visionary work in clonal selection and contacted him about our extremely rare, 19th century, Bordeaux vines. Hoping to develop Cabernet clones benefiting all California winemaking, in 1965, Jim collaborated with Dr. Harold Olmo and Curt Alley of UC Davis in developing the Concannon Clones 7, 8, 11 from three cuttings taken from a single vine, the “Concannon Mother Vine”— propagated from extraordinary Cabernet that our founder, James, had imported in 1893 from Château Margaux, one of the legendary, five “First Growth” chateaux of Bordeaux.
These three cuttings were heat-treated to eliminate any virus disease, propagated and observed in UC Davis’ Oakville vineyard. From the beginning the results were fantastic as was the timing! As observed by UC Davis, the Concannon Clones consistently produce high yields of best quality fruit and make exceptional wines. From 1970-1974, UC Davis registered and released the Concannon Clones 7, 8, 11 to the industry.
Then, with the historic, 1976 Judgment Of Paris and California’s new excitement for producing Cabernet, the Concannon Clones quickly became an essential asset to the enormous expansion of Cabernet plantings in California that ensued from the 1970s to the present. According to Dr. Deborah Golino of UC Davis, these renowned Cabernet clones “helped build the extraordinary success of the California Cabernet Sauvignon winemaking industry” and “played an invaluable, distinctive role in helping California and Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon achieve national and international recognition.”
Currently, the Concannon Clones are the most popular and widely planted Cabernet clones in California and its premium wine growing regions. For many leading winegrowers in California, the Concannon Clones are the backbone of their Cabernet Sauvignon winemaking programs.
“In this day and age, there’s an explosion of clones, but the solid clones
that built the Cabernet industry in California are the Concannon Clones.”
Deborah A. Golino, PhD, Director, Foundation Plant Services, UC Davis