Budding Knife

Budding Knife

Usage conditions apply
Oscar Robledo used this knife to graft (“bud”) grapevines in the field. Its thin, sharp blade is set in a short, wooden handle that is wrapped with layers of tape, indicating many seasons of use. Budding, a highly valued skill in wine country, requires precision as well as stamina. Robeldo carried this knife and a leather strap for sharpening it, along with a roll of tape and sticks of budwood in a handmade box as he budded vines in his family’s vineyards in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. There he grafted new buds onto healthy rootstock, a practice that allows growers to plant different varietals (e.g., Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) onto mature roots.
Oscar is a member of the Sonoma-based Robledo winegrowing family. His brother Reynaldo migrated north from Michoacán in 1968. Following their father, who worked in the bracero program (a contract labor program that brought Mexican men to work in the United States between 1942 and 1964), Reynaldo found work in the rapidly expanding vineyards of Napa and Sonoma. He rose quickly from vineyard laborer to budder, and eventually to vineyard manager. By the 1990s he had purchased significant acreage and established the Robledo Family Winery. Reynaldo Robledo’s wife, children, and several members of the extended family are active in the wine business, producing wines that complement the family’s Mexican roots.
Object Name
budding box blade
budding knife
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
cardboard (overall material)
adhesive (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
overall: 6 3/4 in x 1/2 in x 3/4 in; 17.145 cm x 1.27 cm x 1.905 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
gift of Everardo Robledo
See more items in
Work and Industry: Food Technology
FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000
Food: Transforming the American Table
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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