The Mgaloblishvili grape variety holds promise

Friday October 05 2018 by Vitisphere

Probably named after its first winegrower, Mgaloblishvili is a grape variety from western Georgia. Not recommended for single varietal wines, it can be used in blends or for brandy production according to Georgian expert David Maghradze.Probably named after its first winegrower, Mgaloblishvili is a grape variety from western Georgia. Not recommended for single varietal wines, it can be used in blends or for brandy production according to Georgian expert David Maghradze. - Photo credit : DR

The Georgian grape variety Mgaloblishvili (also spelled Mgaloblichvili) is the first Vitis vinifera cultivar to have been scientifically identified for its reduced sensitivity to mildew. Although not very widespread outside its native Imerethian wine region, the red grape variety successfully curbs the development and spread of spores of the fungus Plasmopara viticola. “This was a surprise to us!” exclaimed Dr. Silvia Laura Toffolatti, a member of the Department of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Milan, who published the findings in late August in the journal ‘Scientific Reports’.

Surprising, indeed, is the word. While North American (such as Vitis labrusca and V. riparia) or Asian varieties (such as V. amurensis) are known to have acquired resistance to mildew following long co-evolution with the pathogen, such adaptation mechanisms had not been characterised on European vines. Vitis vinifera is in fact known for its sensitivity to the disease that arrived from the Americas at the end of the 19th century. “Resistance to powdery mildew has already been described in the cultivated vine, with the variety Kishmish Vatkana, but there was nothing like it for downy mildew, as far as I know”, confirmed research director Didier Merdinoglu, of France’s national agronomy research institute INRA.

Deregulated spore spread

Identified in 2011 during an extensive survey of the diversity of Georgia’s wine regions – the country claims the title of “world cradle of wine” – the resistance of Mgaloblishvili leaves and grapes to mildew was confirmed by laboratory tests. Downy mildew first invades the foliar tissues of the Georgian grape variety and its metabolism responds by creating callose barriers around dead mycelium. “Mgaloblishvili reduces the severity of the disease by deregulating the spread of the fungus’ spores”, summarises the study.

 

 

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