The CGCN-RCCV’s new Certification Program addresses the immediate need for Certified virus-free vines

Posted Mar 11th, 2021 in News & Updates

The CGCN-RCCV’s new Certification Program addresses the immediate need for Certified virus-free vines

Niagara – March 11th, 2021 – The Canadian Grapevine Certification Network is changing the landscape of grapevine certification as we know it.

On March 8th, 2021 the Canadian Grapevine Certification Network (CGCN-RCCV) released amendments to their Certification Standards. These amendments include the development of an entirely new set of standards called “Certification Program, Option 2 Protocols,” and minor changes to their original Certification program that has now been renamed “Certification Program, Option 1 Protocols.” Both of these protocols are available on CGCN-RCCV’s website in English and French.

The “Option 2” protocol was developed to address the immediate need for certified grapevine propagating material by allowing certification of already existing vineyard blocks through the use of High-Throughput Sequencing (HTS) testing technology currently performed by the Brock University Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI).

“The CGCN-RCCV was created because a healthy wine industry in Canada depends on healthy Canadian-produced virus-free vines,” says Bob Prange, CGCN-RCCV’s Secretary and Chair of the Certification Committee. “After we introduced our initial certification program, we noticed a strong demand by growers for immediate availability of virus-free vines. The CGCN-RCCV hopes that offering a new “Option 2” source of ‘Certified’ vines will better serve the current needs of our growers.”

Hans Buchler, Chair of the CGCN-RCCV explains that establishing “Option 1” propagating blocks can take up to seven years before sufficient material becomes available for nurseries. He emphasizes that “Option 2” will significantly speed-up this process to generally less than one year.

Material propagated under the “Option 2” protocol will be labelled and deemed ‘Certified,’ while material propagated under the “Option 1” protocol will be labelled and deemed ‘Certified Plus.’ These denotations were created so the end users and consumers are aware of the differences between the two options of material. Although both options produce certified virus-free vines, the certification processes and requirements differ.

All propagative material produced under the “Certification Program, Option 2 Protocols” is derived from existing plantings where, in the initial year, all plants to be used for propagating material have been tested for all viruses of concern (refer to Appendix 5 of “Option 2” protocols). Any plants that test positive for the viruses of concern will have to be removed and replanted with CGCN-RCCV approved virus-free material. When existing plantings are found free of all viruses of concern, except for Grapevine Rupestris Stem Pitting-associated Virus and Grapevine Fleck Virus, the plants will be considered ‘Certified’ Generation 3 (G3) propagating material. In subsequent years, a random composite sample of 20% of the certified planting will initially be required. The frequency and sample size of long term, ongoing re-testing will be established based on the types of viruses found in the initial tests and on the presence or absence of confirmed or suspected vectors.

“The CGCN-RCCV has been able to develop these new certification options because it has established a strong connection between growers and nurseries,” Prange explains. “It has also established direct access to world-class researchers in government and university laboratories, which is allowing the industry to learn about new advances.”
Buchler adds that these advances have allowed the cost of HTS testing to come down sufficiently to make this new option financially viable.

These Certification Programs continue to use a system approach in order to produce virus-tested grapevines. Various independent components such as virus-testing, field inspection, isolation distances, and vector control, all work together to minimize the presence and the spread of viruses. CGCN is currently open to applications from nurseries for both “Option 1” and “Option 2” protocols. Please direct any applications or questions to Project Manager Darien Temprile via email at

As CGCN-RCCV continues to work toward their objective of creating a clean plant network for domestically certified virus-tested and pathogen-free grapevines in Canada, information can be found on their website at  


Hans Buchler, Chair, CGCN-RCCV                                         Bob Prange, Secretary, CGCN-RCCV
250-498-7026                                                                          902-300-2548                                                          


Funding for this project has been provided through the AgriAssurance Program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

Ce projet est financé sous le programme Agri-assurance du Partenariat canadien pour l'agriculture, une initiative fédérale-provinciale-territoriale.       

Become Certified

We help ensure nurseries, growers and wineries have access to clean, quality grapevine material. To learn more about CGCN, or apply to our certification program, contact our team today. 

Contact Us