356 WINE REPORT 2007 GLOBAL REPORTS GLOBAL REPORTS GRAPE VARIETIES 357 changing their essential character. First developed in the 1980s, genetic Grape Varieties transfer inserts a very small number of genes into grapevines. The first research, by French scientists, was supported by Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, and the results, published in 1998, were very promising. As public concern about GMOs grew, LVMH stopped research in 2000. Dr François Lefort Genetic transfer research continued in Germany, Australia, Canada, and the US. The LVMH results and genetic material were given to INRA in GM vines are on their way to European vineyards: France, which continued the research, albeit at a slower pace. the first open field trials of genetically modified Germany: GM grapevines grapevines have begun in France and Germany, German scientists of the German Federal Grapevine Research Centre at despite scepticism from growers and consumers. Siebeldingen have been looking for quality and fungi-resistant characters transmittable to established grape varieties. Resistance characters Oidium (powdery mildew) and downy mildew transferred to grapevines are resistance to the main fungal disease agents have been problems for growers since the of grapevines: Plasmopara viticola (downy mildew), Uncinula necator 19th century. The usual method of combating (oidium/powdery mildew), and Botrytis cinerea (grey rot). Fungi-resistant mildew is to spray with fungicides, but the vines should reduce fungicide application and result in less environmental fungi are becoming resistant to chemicals. contamination and lower production costs. Field trials for three GM Spraying also raises environmental issues varieties – Dornfelder, Riesling, and Seyval Blanc – began in 2005 in and health-and-safety concerns. A more Siebeldingen. Resistant genes have been successfully transferred from recent disorder is grapevine fan leaf virus, barley into grapevines, and the 130 transgenic vines will be tested for which is spread by nematodes (see below). their fungus resistance. DR FRANÇOIS LEFORT Since it is a viral disease, there is no cure; These trials, which will include wine-quality assessment, will last for 10 however, chemicals are used against the nematode vector. years, although GM varieties are not expected to reach the market for 25 Grape breeders have been trying to develop fungi-resistant varieties years. The foreign genes will not alter the wine quality of the transgenic since the end of the 19th century. These new varieties, mainly from France, Germany, and the US, were produced by ‘classical breeding’ – Grapevine a technique that creates totally new varieties. The process is a long one, taking at least 30 years from the initial crossing. In classical breeding, • Wine Grape Growers Australia recommended a list of “less risky” and the Winemakers’ Federation varieties to New York growers. genes from other Vitis species are introduced into a Vitis vinifera variety, of Australia are proposing a “vine All the varieties are interspecific but the new variety is not, for instance, a Chardonnay with new retirement scheme” to pull up grapevine hybrids: La Crescent, thousands of hectares of less popular Ravat 34, NY76.0844.24, Vignoles, resistance characteristics, because the breeding process loses a part Traminette, NY62.0122.01, Cayuga varieties, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, of the Chardonnay genome. So modifying a given variety for a single in 2006 in an attempt to curb White, and Vidal Blanc (white); desired character was – until recently – quite impossible. overproduction in Australia. There Frontenac, GR 7, Maréchal Foch, St are also state incentives to turn extra Croix, NY70.0809.10, Chambourcin, Scientists searching for solutions to these problems looked to genetic Chelois, and NY73.0136.17 (black). wine stocks into ethanol. What is transfer. This method modifies grapevines in a targeted way without surprising is that Cabernet Sauvignon Some of the hybrids, such as Vidal is now seen as a less popular variety. Blanc, Maréchal Foch, and DR FRANÇOIS LEFORT is a professor at the University of Applied Sciences Chambourcin, are old French hybrids. of Western Switzerland in Geneva. He has been working on the diversity of • After several years of testing, Bruce Reisch of NYS Agricultural grapevine varieties for many years. François is the creator of the Greek Vitis Experiment Station, Cornell database and the coauthor of the Bulgarian Grapevine database. He is University at Geneva, New York, has involved in building similar databases in Russia and Ukraine. 358 WINE REPORT 2007 GLOBAL REPORTS GLOBAL REPORTS GRAPE VARIETIES 359 grapes or the wine quality of adjacent non-GM vines if cross-pollination moratorium, recently hardened its stance by totally opposing trials occurs, since cross-pollination results in only the seeds carrying foreign anywhere in the world. Its influence resulted in an INAO ban on GM genes and not the flesh of the berry. grapevines, GM yeast, and GM bacteria in 2002, but it has not so far been authorized by the Minister of Agriculture. France: GM rootstocks Until work stopped in 2001 when 400 transgenic rootstocks were South Africa: the total GM kit pulled up, French scientists had been researching resistance to diseases South African researchers are working on GM grapevines, GM yeasts, and affecting the rootstock and not the grafted scion. This approach could GM bacteria for winemaking in the Winetech Biotechnology Programme be more acceptable to growers and consumers because the rootstock (WTBP). South African grapevine gene transfer research aims to improve does not affect the grape berry itself, which is genetically determined resistance to disease and adaptation to unfavourable environmental by the genome of the grafted variety. Rootstocks are also prevented conditions. The genes transferred to grapevines to improve fungal from producing leaves and flowers in the vineyard, to avoid any risk resistance are a yeast chitinase, a yeast glucanase, an antifungal peptide, of gene transfer to wild grapes (almost extinct in Europe thanks to and grapevine polygalacturonase-inhibiting proteins (PGIPs). The first phylloxera) or to other grapes. transgenic field trial is currently under development. Work resumed in 2005 at INRA Colmar with the long-awaited Researchers have produced various new GM yeast strains in efforts to authorization from the French Ministry for Agriculture for open field improve wine clarification and juice yield, to generate new aroma profiles, trials of transgenic rootstocks made resistant to grapevine fan leaf virus, or to produce antioxidants and other compounds with an impact on a damaging disease with no cure. Grapevine fan leaf virus is a virus human health. These yeast strains are currently being further developed transmitted by soil nematodes that attack the vine’s roots. through SunBio, a biotechnology development company. South African Rootstocks made resistant to the virus cannot be infected by nematodes. GM yeasts have been accepted by the FDA and are now being used for The fact that the foreign gene is only in the rootstock and not in the grafted winemaking in the United States. scion or the grapes could make this strategy more acceptable to the public, The WTBP researchers are studying wine bacteria to explore the role since the wine will not be a GM wine. Once scientific assessment has been of lactic acid bacteria involved in malolactic fermentation and in the carried out, genetically modified rootstocks could be on the market quite production of antimicrobial agents called bacteriocins, which can inhibit quickly, offering a choice of the usual rootstocks but with resistance to fan the growth of spoilage organisms. The goal of gene-transfer technology leaf virus. There are, however, about 40 viruses that attack grapevines, so it is to develop lactic acid bacteria that can perform enhanced malolactic will take a while to make GM vines resistant to them all. fermentation. Still in the preliminary stages, this research focuses on Seventy transgenic rootstocks, surrounded by non-transgenic genomic sequences of commercially important lactic acid bacteria and rootstocks and a Pinot Meunier vineyard, were planted in experimental the development of genetic tools and expression systems. open vineyards in September 2005. The trial is authorized to run for four The South African wine industry gives generous financial support to years, and the vineyard will be destroyed on completion. The transgenic GM grapevine research. Public concern or opposition does not seem to rootstocks will not be allowed to flower, and no wine will be produced. affect WTBP plans, although they do concede that their most important INRA Montpellier, which is continuing with its classical breeding challenge is to “educate the consumer”. programmes, has produced a hybrid rootstock that is partially resistant GM grapevine research is currently being carried out in several other to grapevine fan leaf virus. countries, including the United States and Australia. Given the huge Opposition from the industry has been fiercer than expected. Terre et amounts being pumped into this research, it seems that GM grapevines, Vin du Monde, an association of 400 top world producers that includes rootstocks, yeasts, and bacteria will soon be an important part of Château Latour, Château Pichon-Longueville, Domaine de la Romanée- viticulture. Great changes are on the way. It will be interesting to see Conti, and Egon Müller, has declared its firm opposition to GM whether the consumer will be open to “education”. grapevines. The organization, which had originally asked for a GM 360 WINE REPORT 2007 GLOBAL REPORTS GLOBAL REPORTS GRAPE VARIETIES 361 IS GRUBBING UP THE However, a Japanese team studying Widest-cultivated white grape varieties ONLY WAY? the anthocyanin synthesis pathway Global, wine grapes only. showed that the insertion of a Grape variety Acres in 2005* Main countries To deal with overproduction, the retrotransposon, a kind of jumping French authorities decided to grub up gene, in one gene of this pathway 1. Airén 756,300 Spain 10,000 ha of vineyards over a three- suppressed the expression of 2. Chardonnay 458,900 US, France, Italy year period. Despite subsidies of up anthocyanins in white varieties. 3. Ugni Blanc 274,600 France, Italy, Argentina to €15,000 per hectare in 2005 in 4. Rkatsiteli 264,800 Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova In some black grapes derived from Bordeaux, the scheme failed to attract 5. Sauvignon Blanc 199,900 France, Moldova, US white varieties by bud mutation and enough participants, and only 6. Riesling 135,400 Germany, Ukraine in vitro culture techniques – such as 1,800 ha were destroyed. While such 7. Macabeo 125,400 Spain, France Ruby Okuyama (black skin) derived 8. Muscat of Alexandria 116,400 Spain, Chile, Algeria subsidies help growers in the short from Italia (white skin), and Flame 9. Aligoté 109,200 Italy, Spain, Croatia term, they do not offer a sustainable Muscat (black skin) derived from 10. Catarratto Bianco Comune 107,200 Italy framework for viticulture. Muscat of Alexandria (white skin) – Instead of looking for other *Estimated. Source: Patrick W Fegan, Chicago Wine School, 2006. the same team also detected the approaches, such as promoting organic tracks of some sequence remains viticulture and authorizing disease- Widest-cultivated black grape varieties from this retrotransposon in the resistant varieties in appellation Global, wine grapes only. gene of interest. This proved that areas, the sclerotic French wine reversion from white-skinned varieties Grape variety Acres in 2005* Main countries system supervised by ONIVINS once to black-skinned varieties occurred. 1. Cabernet Sauvignon 701,300 France, Chile, US again opts for the worst solution. Reversion happened when another 2. Merlot 694,400 France, Italy, US Anti-alcohol campaigns, state mutation event deleted the inserted 3. Grenache 518,500 Spain, France, Italy restrictions on advertisements, and retrotransposon, leading back to a 4. Tempranillo 500,500 Spain, Argentina, Portugal loss of traditional market share are all functional gene. The now-functioning 5. Syrah 357,700 France, Australia among factors aggravating this crisis. gene meant that a black variety could 6. Carignan 274,600 France, China, Tunisia Some specialists are calling for an be bred from a white parent. 7. Bobal 219,800 Spain urgent ban on chaptalization to The initial mutation event leading 8. Pinot Noir 215,500 France, US, Germany prevent extreme measures such as to the appearance of white varieties 9. Sangiovese 190,100 Italy, Argentina, US pulling up vineyards, claiming that is certainly very ancient and 10. Monastrell/Mourvèdre 184,100 Spain, France, Australia banning the use of 60,000 metric happened long before grapevine *Estimated. Source: Patrick W Fegan, Chicago Wine School, 2006. tonnes of sugar each year to increase domestication (around 6000 BC). the alcoholic content of wine would This research explains why all white Widest-cultivated grey/rosé grape varieties go a long way towards easing the varieties harbour this mutation in Global, wine grapes only. situation. the same gene of the anthocyanin Grape variety Acres in 2005* Main countries synthesis pathway. WHITE IS THE MUTANT 1. Pinot Gris 63,800 Italy, Germany, US 2. Criolla Grande 57,400 Argentina A basic question about berry colour 3. Cereza 44,800 Argentina was recently answered by molecular 4. Gewürztraminer 39,600 Moldova, France, Ukraine genetics. Red plant pigments called 5. Grenache Gris 5,900 France anthocyanins are responsible for the 6. Roditis 2,500 Greece colour of grape skins. Until now, it 7. Catawba 2,400 US was thought that white varieties 8. Grolleau Gris 1,400 France developed from black varieties by *Estimated. Source: Patrick W Fegan, Chicago Wine School, 2006. independent mutational events. 362 WINE REPORT 2007 GLOBAL REPORTS GLOBAL REPORTS GRAPE VARIETIES 363 BEST WINES FROM 4 Kerner 2004 Domaine de la Fastest-growing white grape varieties NEW VARIETIES OR Côte d’Or, Switzerland (SF 13) The greatest global increase in recent plantings of white (wine only) grape varieties. NEW CLONES Dry white wine made from Grape variety Acres in 2004* Acres in 2005* % increase** Kerner (= Riesling x Trollinger, This year experimental wines 1. Ugni Blanc 338,400 374,600 10.7 from the Federal Research Centre Weinsberg/Württemberg State on Grapevines at Siebeldingen in Wine Institute, Baden, Germany, 2. Chardonnay 432,900 458,900 6 Germany form an important part 1969).Trollinger is the German 3. Sauvignon Blanc 193,100 199,900 3.5 synonym for the Italian variety of the list. Although they are *Estimated. **Some increases may reflect improved data collection rather than an experimental, the wines are also Schiava Grossa. Late flowering actual increase in acreage. Source: Patrick W Fegan, Chicago Wine School, 2006. provides frost resistance. It was the available to buy, so it is possible to taste new varieties at a reasonable fourth most planted variety in the price. Making the wines available 1980s in Germany and currently Fastest-growing black grape varieties advertises the excellent work of the covers 6,500 ha. The greatest global increase in recent plantings of black (wine only) grape varieties. research centre and spreads the word 5 Siebeldinger Mönchspfad Grape variety Acres in 2004* Acres in 2005* % increase** Villaris Kabinett 2004 Institut für to growers, who can try new fungi- 1. Cabernet Sauvignon 633,800 701,300 10.7 resistant varieties that require no Rebenzüchtung, Germany (€3.20) chemical treatment. Off-dry, 11.5 per cent.White wine 2. Merlot 647,800 694,300 7.2 made from the fungi-resistant 1 QmP Siebeldinger Mönchspfad 3. Syrah 334,800 357,700 6.8 variety Villaris [Sirius (= Bacchus x Regent 2003 Institut für 4. Grenache 513,400 516,500 0.6 Rebenzüchtung, Germany (€8.50 Villard Blanc) x Villard Blanc per 50-cl bottle) Experimental red (= Seyve-Villard 12-375); with *Estimated. **Some increases may reflect improved data collection rather than an actual increase in acreage. Source: Patrick W Fegan, Chicago Wine School, 2006. dry wine from Regent [Gf 67-198- Bacchus (= Müller-Thurgau x 3: (Silvaner x Müller-Thurgau) x [Riesling x Sylvaner]); BAFZ Chambourcin (= Joannes Seyve Geilweilerhof, 1984]. Fastest-growing grey/rosé grape varieties 6 QbA Siebeldinger Mönchspfad 26205); BAFZ Geilweilerhof] (14.5 The greatest global increase in recent plantings of grey/rosé (wine only) grape varieties. Phoenix 2004 Institut für per cent). Bronze medal, Economic Grape variety Acres in 2004* Acres in 2005* % increase** Chamber of Rheinland-Pfalz. Rebenzüchtung, Germany (€2.60 Aged in oak. Regent is said to be per 100-cl bottle) Dry white wine 1. Gewürztraminer 36,700 39,600 7.9 (11.5 per cent) made from the one of the most fungi-resistant red 2. Pinot Gris 60,800 63,800 4.9 varieties currently available. fungi-resistant variety Phoenix *Estimated. **Some increases may reflect improved data collection rather than an 2 QmP Siebeldinger Mönchspfad (= Bacchus x Villard Blanc; actual increase in acreage. Source: Patrick W Fegan, Chicago Wine School, 2006. Reberger 2003 Institut für BAFZ Geilweilerhof). Has a Rebenzüchtung, Germany (€7 slight Muscat aroma. per 50-cl bottle) Experimental 7 QmP Siebeldinger Mönchspfad dry red wine from Reberger Felicia Spätlese 2004 Institut für Grapevine [Gf 86-2-60: Regent x Lemberger Rebenzüchtung, Germany (€3.80) (= Blaufränkisch); BAFZ Off-dry white wine (11.5 per cent) • Marselan was authorized for Vin of the synonyms were Muscat White Geilweilerhof, 1986] (14 per cent). made from Felicia [= Sirius x Vidal de Pays d’Oc wines in December or Muscat of Alexandria crossed with Blanc (= Ugni Blanc x Rayon Silver medal, Economic Chamber 2005. Marselan (Cabernet Sauvignon other varieties. d’Or); BAFZ Geilweilerhof, 1984]. x Grenache Noir, INRA 1961), which of Rheinland-Pfalz. 3 Gamarêve 2003 Domaine Le 8 Finger Lakes Traminette 2001 was resurrected and registered as an • In Vietnam, grapevines are mainly Amberg Wine Cellars, USA official variety in 1990, promises to cultivated for table grapes and raisins, Vieux Clocher, Caves Leyvraz & be very popular. though a small amount of wine is Stevens, Switzerland (SF 15) Red (US$9.99) Off-dry white wine from made in northern regions. Evaluation Traminette (= Joannes Seyve wine from Gamaret (= Gamay • The number of Muscat varieties of foreign (US, French, and German) Noir x Reichensteiner, Agroscope 23.416 x Gewürztraminer; Barrett, has been clarified by genetic profiling. and domestic varieties has been Cornell Geneva University, 1965). Out of 64 Muscats, there are only 20 going on for 10 years. Three domestic Changins, 1970), matured in oak genetically different varieties, with the vines, NH-02-04, NH-02-10, and NH- casks. Integrated production. remaining 44 being synonyms. Most 02-1, look promising as wine varieties. 364 WINE REPORT 2007 GLOBAL REPORTS 9 Melody 2004 Goose Watch 5 Vin de Pays des Côtes du Tarn Winery, Finger Lakes, USA Prunelard 2004 Domaine des (US$6.79) Dry white wine from Très-Cantous, Bernard & Robert Melody [= Seyval Blanc x Geneva Plageoles, France (€11.50) Full- White 5 (= Pinot Blanc x Ontario); bodied red wine from Prunelard – Cornell Geneva University, 1965]. another almost extinct traditional 0 Vin de Pays des Alpes de Gaillac variety revived by Plageoles. Haute-Provence Marselan 2004 Acreage is limited to 6 ha in the Domaine de la Madeleine, France Gaillac area. (€3.97) Pure red wine from 6 Vin de Pays des Côtes du Tarn Marselan (= Cabernet Sauvignon Mauzac Noir 2004 Domaine des x Grenache Noir, INRA Très-Cantous, Bernard & Robert Montpellier, France, 1961). Plageoles, France (€6.50) Red wine. 7 Vin de Table Audace 2004 BEST WINES FROM Stéphane Tissot, France (€29.90 per UNUSUAL, OBSCURE, half-bottle) Sweet red wine made OR REDISCOVERED from Poulsard, an old variety of GRAPE VARIETIES Arbois wines in Jura. Biodynamic 1 Coteaux du Languedoc La production. Méjanelle Cuvée 1811 2003 8 Vin de Pays de l’Ile de Beauté Château des Mazes, France (€8.90) Bianco Gentile 2004 Antoine Red wine from a blend of Arena, France (€19.50) Organic Grenache, Syrah, and old Carignan white wine from Bianco Gentile – vines. Matured for a year in a traditional white variety from French oak. (The castle was Corsica that is almost extinct. built in 1811.) 9 Bordeaux Cep d’Antan 2004 2 Vin de Pays d’Oc Cuvée 1811 Domaine de Bouillerot, France 2004 Château des Mazes, France (€6.80) Red wine from a blend (€8.90) White wine from a blend of Carmenère, Petit Verdot, and of Sauvignon and Viognier, vinified Malbec. and matured for 6–7 months in 0 Bourgogne César 1999 Maison new French oak. Simonnet Febvre, France (€12.90) 3 Gaillac Vin d’Autan 2003 Red wine from César – an old Domaine des Très-Cantous, Bernard burgundy variety. & Robert Plageoles, France (€35 per 50-cl bottle) Sweet white wine (9.8 per cent) made through passerillage from Ondenc, which originates in the Tarn region. Ondenc is an old Gaillac variety that has been revived thanks to the efforts of Robert Plageoles. It is now registered as a variety for the appellation. Acreage is limited to 6 ha in the Gaillac area. 4 Gaillac Ondenc 2004 Domaine des Très-Cantous, Bernard & Robert Plageoles, France (€9.50) Dry white wine from Ondenc.