By Adrienne Moore

DAVIS (CBS13) — Grape vines are easy to come by across Northern California, but a crop just outside of Davis is a one-of-a-kind treasure.

“You have to think of it as the mother block for the entire nation when it comes to wine and table grapes,” said Aaron Lange of Lange Twins Family Winery and Vineyards.

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The vineyard is known as the Classic Foundation. It features 2,000 different varieties. They’re all healthy and virus-free, for now, and the hope is to keep it that way.

Operated by UC Davis Foundation Plant Services (FPS), each vine in the Classic Foundation is thoroughly tested, supplying nurseries and ultimately growers with healthy plants for new vineyards.

But lately, a problematic virus is threatening to move in.

“Growers started seeing and had been seeing some very strange symptoms in the vineyard and not really knowing exactly what it was,” Lange said. “Leaves were turning red and it was causing some ripening issues.”

Red blotch virus has been making its way across Northern California filed and is carried by insects.

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“Every testing season when we test our vineyard, this is what keeps me up at night because I’m worried our Classic Foundation will be affected with this virus,” said Maher al Rwahnih, the director of FPS.

So now FPS is taking action by building state-of-the-art greenhouses to protect their plants and keep the pests out.

Cuttings are already being prepared and put in temporary storage. And once construction on the new insect-proof site is complete, the Classic Foundation will move in.

“We are protecting it from the threats that we know of today, and we also need to protect it against threats that we do not know of yet,” Lange said.

It will ensure a reliable source of perfect pinots and impeccable chardonnays for years to come.

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Phase one of the project featuring a 14,000-square-foot, insect-proof greenhouse has a price tag of just over $5 million. They hope to build a second greenhouse in the coming years.

Adrienne Moore