The producers of the Languedoc has now received its long-awaited permission from the Ministry of Agriculture to start growing, on an experimental basis, new grape varieties that are developed to be resistant against powdery mildew and downy mildew, we read in La Vigne.
Not having to treat the vineyards against these two problems is of course a great advantage to the environment and it allows the winemakers to save some money. If the quality of the wines made from these grapes will be good enough for the consumers remains to be seen.
The new varieties are the result of years of research, a research which is still ongoing. The resistant varieties are hybrids, that is, crosses between the European vitis vinifera (which is highly susceptible to fungal diseases) and the American or Asian vitis-families (which are more resistant). However, it is more complicated than it sounds.
First, an initial crossing is made and you get a vine with one or (preferably) several resistant genes. This vine is then crossed again, one or often several times, with known vitis vinifera as merlot, grenache, cabernet, etc. In the end you get a vine with a high proportion of vitis vinifera and, hopefully, the resistant genes intact.
This post is also available in: Swedish