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Displaying items by tag: grape crossing

Have you ever tasted a Souvignier Gris, a Solaris or a Bronner? What about Regent, Cabernet Cortis or Rösler? These are just some of the disease-resistant varieties that have been bred over the last few decades from complex crossings of vitis vinifera cultivars with American sub-species such as vitis labrusca, vitis riparia or vitis rupestris.

What started as a crude exercise in creating new plant material in the wake of the turn-of-the-century phylloxera catastrophe has become a cutting-edge niche in wine production. Varieties are being developed that have resistance to cold, drought, or to common vine ailments such as downy mildew and botrytis. This has opened the door to a form of viticulture that requires almost no inputs apart from pruning.

Should we call these varieties hybrids or PIWIs or something else? And how is a hybrid different to a crossing or a “direct producer”? Does laboratory crossing of grape varieties overlap with gene-splicing, CRISPR9 or GMOs? Where are the boundary lines in these techniques and what do they mean for viticulture and wine in general?

We’ll talk about why winemakers from France, Austria, the Netherlands, Italy and beyond are planting hybrids – some are even specialising in them, mainly or even exclusively. Many see them as an essential development in the quest for more sustainable viticulture, and as a potential solution to the dangers posed by climate change.

What do they taste like and why has the wine industry’s reaction to hybrids sometimes been rather disparaging? We’ll take a look at some of the most promising varieties, and some of the winemakers who are achieving the best results.

Hybrids might just be the future in wine. So join me for this session if you want to stay ahead of the curve!

Presenter: Simon J Woolf

Simon J Woolf is an award-winning English author and wine writer, currently based in The Netherlands.

An acknowledged expect on the developing niche of natural wine, he's written for Decanter magazine, Meininger’s Wine Business International, World of Fine Wine and Noble Rot, and many other publications. Simon is the editor of The Morning Claret, an online wine magazine which specialises in natural, biodynamic, organic and orange wine.

Simon's first book "Amber Revolution - How the world learned to love orange wine" was published in 2018, and won the Roederer Wine book of the year award in 2019. Simon has also won numerous awards for his magazine features and online columns.

Simon travels regularly to countries such as Georgia, Slovenia, Italy and Portugal, where he continues to research the stories and traditions behind artisan winemaking. His second book, Foot Trodden, a collaboration with photographer and wine communicator Ryan Opaz, was published in October 2021. It is described as a journey deep into the soul of Portuguese wine.

Simon is also active as a presenter, editor, wine judge and translator.

WSG members still enjoy a discount on Simon's book "Food Trodden" ! Get your discount HERE

Published in Grape Varieties

Marselan started its commercial journey a mere thirty years ago, as an unknown cross useful in the fight against mildew. It has since won medals and trophies for Chinese wines and been acclaimed as the new Chinese variety. However, the variety is fast spreading around the world with producers needing to learn how the variety expresses itself in new terroirs and with different winemaking techniques. With such a short history, there is little inherited knowledge as to how this variety behaves and ages. With such diversity in style and quality, it is also a difficult variety to market, with suspicion in more conservative markets over its cross status. We will be looking at examples from France, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Israel, Lebanon, Uruguay and China to see what the potential is and where it is going.

PRESENTER: ELIZABETH GABAY,  MW

Elizabeth Gabay has been in the wine trade for thirty years, and an MW since 1998. She has lived in South-East France since 2002. Elizabeth specialises in the wines of southern France and Central Europe with a particular interest in viticulture, climate change, winemaking and non-mainstream varieties.  International judge and speaker, she writes for magazines such as Decanter, Meininger, The Drinks Business, The Buyer, Sevenfifty and GuildSomm. Author of "Rosé: Understanding the Pink Wine Revolution" (2018) and a new e-guide "The Buyer's Guide to the Rosés of Southern France" (2021).

Published in Grape Varieties
 

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