Martell plants 123 grape varieties resistant to powdery and downy mildew

Friday June 19 2020 by Vitisphere

290 disease resistant grape varieties will be planted. In three years’ time, the twenty best will be replanted on a larger scale.290 disease resistant grape varieties will be planted. In three years’ time, the twenty best will be replanted on a larger scale. - Photo credit : Marion Bazireau

As you drive by, the chances are you won’t even notice the 0.5-hectare plot. But to Martell, it’s worth its weight in gold. “On 8 June, we planted 123 vines resistant to downy and powdery mildew”, announced Christophe Valtaud, the cellar master at Martell Cognac, to a dozen journalists gathered in the vineyard on 9 June in Cherves-Richemont. “This is another turning point, four years after the start of our partnership with the Charente viticulture conservation centre and the Cognac marketing board’s viticulture centre”.

Two more planting days are already scheduled for the plot, the first in 3 weeks’ time, and the second in the spring. “In total, it will become home to 5 vines of 290 disease-resistant hybrid varieties. At the moment, some plants are still too small to be grafted with a knife”, explained Bernard Pineau, head of sustainable winegrowing at Martell Mumm-Perrier Jouët.

“We started with 16,000 pips”

We started with 16,000 pips from crosses between late local grape varieties that have the ability to produce acidic, low alcohol wines - Monbadon, Montils and Vidal 36 - and American and Asian varieties that carry resistance”, he continued. After being assessed by technicians from UMT Géno Vigne in the Gard area, only 290 were found to carry two downy mildew resistance genes and two powdery mildew resistance genes. “Multiple genes are necessary for the stability of disease resistance over time”, continued Bernard Pineau, who also specified that 99% of the genetic heritage of the selected grape varieties comes from Vitis Vinifera.

 

 

 

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