What is the new vine
Small, wild grape berries were once collected. Hardly settled down, the people of the South Caucasus began where Vitis vinifera occurs wild with the cultivation of the grapes. The oldest wine press comes from Iran and was dated to around 7400-7000 BC. For Switzerland, the oldest evidence of cultivated vines comes from the Valais and dates back to between 800–600 BC. attributed to. Thanks to various influences from neighboring countries and the different climatic regions, numerous varieties have established themselves here.
Uninvited American immigrants
In the New World, too, people began to work with vines, but used the types of vines that were originally found there Vitis riparia, Vitis rupestris and Vitis labrusca. From the 19th century, vines were exchanged intercontinentally, and so in the second half of the 19th century, American vines (= Americano grapes) also came with phylloxera (a root pest) and the fungi, powdery mildew and downy mildew to Europe and spread rapidly here . While the American vines were able to adapt to lice and fungi for a long time and are therefore hardly damaged, the European vines lacked the defense mechanisms. Lice and fungi together destroyed large parts of the vineyards in Europe by 1915. As a result, many varieties of grape disappeared irretrievably.
Truly rooted vines have been rare since then. One quickly realized that the solution had to be: refine the wood of European varieties on the roots of American grapevine species, because the American roots could hardly be damaged by the phylloxera. However, in this country, Americano grapes were long considered unsuitable for winemaking because of their distinctive Foxton (in Swiss German "Chatzeseicherli"). So you “built” your vines, so to speak, but at the same time continued to grow the new and old species in order to adapt them to the local conditions.
Old Americano grapes, especially in Ticino, have been used as shade-giving liana on pergolas, while old European grape varieties are still important today for wine production throughout Switzerland. However, just four varieties take up 70% of the area under cultivation! The rest of the area is shared by around 250 different old and newer varieties and clones *.
Varieties that have been known since the beginning of the 20th century or longer and whose continued existence is at risk come into the care of ProSpecieRara. There are currently 126 varieties, mainly from southern Switzerland. They are secured in two collections in Ticino: The collection in Minusio mainly contains old Ticino varieties as well as 18 different clones of the formerly typical Ticino varieties 'Bondola' and 'Bondoletta'; the collection in Mezzana houses 126 rare varieties from all over Switzerland.
* Clone: Grape varieties can change due to environmental factors (bud mutation). The new shoot resulting from a bud mutation has different properties than the remaining shoots on the hive. For example, it can be more robust or its grapes taste more aromatic. If you like these properties, this drive is propagated vegetatively. The resulting new variety is called a clone of the original variety.
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