Unraveling the Origins of Quebranta and Cabernet Sauvignon: Crossing vs. Grafting

graft, grapes, pisco

When it comes to the world of grapevines, there’s more than meets the eye. Behind every grape variety, there’s a fascinating story of how it came into existence. To help us navigate this vineyard of knowledge, we’ll take a close look at the Quebranta grape, a cross between Mollar Cano and Negra Criolla, and Cabernet Sauvignon, a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc.

Crossing Grape Varieties: Quebranta and Cabernet Sauvignon

Quebranta, the quintessential grape variety for making pisco in Peru, is a testament to the art of crossing grape varieties. This unique grape is the result of natural hybridization between two distinct parents, Mollar Cano and Negra Criolla.

In the natural process of grapevine reproduction, vines can cross-pollinate, resulting in the development of new grape varieties with genetic characteristics from both parent grapes. This hybridization also led to the creation of Cabernet Sauvignon, which has become one of the most popular and well-known red wine grape varieties in the world. The name “Cabernet” in Cabernet Sauvignon suggests a relationship with Cabernet Franc, and the “Sauvignon” portion of the name is associated with Sauvignon Blanc.

People often confuse crossing with grafting, so let’s dig deeper into that subject.

The Key Differences: Crossing vs. Grafting

Grafting and crossing grape varieties are two different processes used in viticulture for distinct purposes:

  1. Grafting:
    • Grafting is a horticultural technique used to combine the characteristics of two different grapevines.
    • It involves joining a scion (the top portion of a grapevine with desired characteristics) to a rootstock (the bottom portion with an established root system).
    • The purpose of grafting is to maintain the genetic identity of the scion while benefiting from the rootstock’s attributes, such as disease resistance, adaptability to certain soil types, or growth vigor.
    • Grafting is a form of asexual reproduction that does not result in the creation of a new grape variety; it preserves and propagates existing grape varieties with specific traits.


  1. Crossing grape varieties:
    • Crossing grape varieties is a process of sexual reproduction where two different grapevine varieties breed to create new grape varieties.
    • Crossing can be natural (through pollination) or controlled (to develop new grape cultivars with specific characteristics, such as flavor profiles, disease resistance, or adaptability to certain climates).
    • This process involves the pollination of one grape variety’s flowers with the pollen from another variety’s flowers.
    • The resulting grapevines from this process will have a unique genetic makeup, combining traits from both parent varieties. This can lead to the creation of entirely new grape varieties.


In summary, grafting is a technique used to preserve and combine the traits of existing grape varieties without altering their genetic makeup, while crossing grape varieties is a method for creating entirely new grape varieties by combining the genetics of two parent varieties.

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