The use of pathogen-free planting stock for new vineyard establishment is a key component in the maintenance and expansion of vine and quality table grape production. The success of the necessary changes in the structure of the grape industry is forced by the globalization process, the climate change, the rediscovery of autochton varieties as well as breeding of new tolerant and resistant varieties. The renewal of vineyards largely depend on the availability of planting stocks. Serbia and Hungary found a common interest in establishing pathogen-free stock materials from newly breed resistant varieties and clonal selections of varieties which are traditional in the Serbian-Hungarian border area. During a cross-border cooperation program a complex system for the production of pathogen-free grapevine propagating material was established. Using heat therapy, in vitro shoot tip culture and traditional and molecular diagnostic techniques new pathogen-free stock materials were established from 26 varieties. They have been or will be tested for the presence of most important grapevine viruses, phytoplasmas, as well as bacterial and fungal pathogens. The complex system applying green grafting for indexing on grapevine indicators can shorten the duration of the procedure from 4 years to two-three years.
In Hungary, detection of virus and virus-like diseases of grapevine began in 1960's at the Research Institute for Viticulture and Enology by János Lehoczky and his colleagues. At present, sixteen virus and virus-like diseases of Vitis vinifera are known to occur in Hungary.
Regular virological screening of grapevine varieties started in 1972. The present system of screening (visual selection, indexing, ELISA) has been established using methods with continuous improvement according to recommendations of international organizations.
In the first year symptomless grapevine plants are selected and marked during surveys carried out twice in the vegetation period: at about flowering and in the second half of September. At the first selection time plants are sampled for ELISA.
In the spring of the second year, overwintered canes are checked by woody indexing on 8 indicator species in the field.
In the third and fourth years the nursery is evaluated twice again. At the end, the marked grapevine plants, giving negative results on all indicators in every case, are considered virus-free.
In autumn of the fourth year, the virus-free material is planted out under screenhouse and also in a special mother block (nuclear stock) for maintenance and propagation.
Mother blocks of virus-free scion varieties have been established on 2 ha and those of rootstock varieties on 0.5 ha planted with the following number of varieties included in the national list: 71 European scion — and 12 rootstock varieties or variety candidates/clones. It is necessary to increase the area of Pre-base, Base and Certified stocks exclusively with tested virus-free (clean) material.