Our wine made from fungi-resistant varieties can be ordered at: https://geilweilerhof.eu/weinverkauf
Whether fungal diseases or animal pests, whether climate change or wine quality: JKI grapevine breeding makes a significant contribution to solving open questions and challenges in viticulture.
Until today, powdery mildew and downy mildew, introduced from North America in the 19th century, are severely affecting native grape varieties. In order to effectively prevent infections, regular and intensive plant protection is imperative to produce healthy grapes and high-quality wines. From other parts of the world, wild grapevines are known to have resistance to these and other fungal diseases and are not affected by these pathogens. However, they usually produce low yields and hardly enjoyable wines.
This is where breeding comes into play: It combines the positive yield and quality characteristics of traditional varieties with the resistances of wild vines. For this purpose, wild vines are crossbred with our cultivated grapevines. The seedlings resulting from these crossings are then tested for their properties, especially quality and resistance. In Germany, this task began about 100 years ago. Grapevine breeding is a lengthy process as the plants usually start to develop their first flowers and grapes after 3 to 4 years and multiple backcrosses are necessary to improve wine quality. Altogether, the development of a grape variety can take up to 30 years.
In recent years, knowledge of grapevine genetics has grown enormously, opening up new, extremely efficient possibilities for grapevine breeders. Gene loci are known for a steadily increasing number of important traits. The inheritance of the desired grapevine traits can now be traced with molecular markers. In this way, specific traits such as resistance characteristics can be combined in a targeted manner. The use of marker-assisted selection (MAS) often not only leads to a higher level of resistance, but also improves the stability of resistance. In addition, MAS is carried out at an early seedling stage (a few months after germination), which makes breeding of a new variety more efficient and accelerates it by years.
In addition to breeding new grapevine varieties with a durable resistance to the most important fungal diseases, the Institute is increasingly focussing on questions about the influence of climate change. The aim is to develop new grapevine varieties that are better adapted to the expected climatic challenges of the future.
The breeding results are new grapevine varieties that convince with their high wine quality and enable sustainable viticulture through their climatic resilience and good resistance properties.