Friday, September 16, 2016

New varieties from Vititec

Since 2007 Vititec imported 60 new clones and 15 new cultivars from ENTAV, France, as part of our ongoing process to introduce new cultivars to the South African Wine industry.

Ongoing climate change affects the characteristics of the grape harvest in many wine regions.  Some of these varieties, mainly from the Mediterranean area, can be the South African wine producers answer to adapt to climate change.

New cultivars include among others Arinarnoa, Marselan,  Macabeu, Piquepoul blanc, Sauvignon gris and Vermentino.

The following amount of vines have been allocated for planting in 2016:

Piquepoul blanc

The following amount of vines were grafted for planting in 2017:

Piquepoul blanc
Terret noir

Friday, June 24, 2016

Cabernet Sauvignon ENTAV-INRA® N° 412

Imported by Vititec in 2008 and released from quarantine in 2009, this clone was first planted in 2014 in South Africa. According to French data, this clone originates in Gironde and is an earlier maturing clone. In experimentation carried out in Languedoc and Bordeaux, this clone has medium to lower fertility, bunch and berry weights. It has shown a lower production potential, high sugar content, medium acidity, and medium to superior anthocyanin and polyphenolic content.

Wines are appreciated due to their balance structure and tannins with and their very good ageing potential.


Production measured at Domaine du Grand Parc a Latresne, Bordeaux

As can be seen in table 1 and figure 1, clone 412 has similar final wine composition and quality characteristics to ENTAV-INRA N° 337 which has been considered the reference clone in Bordeaux.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

These are the best wines in South Africa in 2016


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Petit Verdot

Petit Verdot is a very old, well-established cultivar from the Médoc in France. Due to the good colour and tannin structure it is mostly used as a blending partner. 

Petit Verdot is a late ripening cultivar that only ripens fully in the warmer vintages of Bordeaux. The plantings in France declined from 685 hectares in 1958 to the current 380 hectares due to its inconvenient late ripening. 

Under the warmer South African conditions, Petit Verdot ripens late mid season (end of February to middle March) with average vigour and good production. In Stellenbosch the average production is 5-7 kg/vine with a must acidity of 7-9 g/l at 23-25 ºB. The bunches are average to large and the berries are even smaller than those of Cabernet Sauvignon.

The three clones available in South Africa, PR 400, PR 8719 and PR 1058 are all from French origin. PR 400 and PR 8719 are very fertile and crop control is necessary. The wines are concentrated, tannic and rich in colour with spicy, peppery flavours.

PR 1058 from ENTAV has lower fertility and below average production with full balanced wines and good colour.

 Clone comparison of of Petit Verdot N

- Appellation: Médoc- Rootstock: 101-14 MGt

- Soil: sandy

- Planting density: 6500 vines per hectare


Clone 1058 is less productive because it is less fertile than clone 400. Clone 158 provides the richest wines in total polyphenols with a higher color intensity. The evaluation was performed on an early ripening site. In another site in a cooler terroir, 1058 was ripening much later than clone 400 and has struggled to ripen properly

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Greek varieties suitable for climate change

Fifty Greek varieties has been introduced into France to study their suitability for use in the changing climate. Five of them were the subject of registration and a listing in the French national catalog: Aghiorgitiko N, AssyrtikoMoschofilero RsRoditis Rs Xynomavro N. 

"They have to keep a main characteristic of aromatic freshness even in the conditions water stress and high temperatures in Greece, "said Laurent Audeguin. This indicates that among these five varieties, Moschofilero Rs appears promising, bringing together both productive characters and good acidity. Their propagation is underway and should be available within two years. 
Although there are several differently coloured clones of this aromatic, late-ripening Greek variety, most vines produce pink- or grey-skinned grapes which are used to produce white wines.
Image: Moschofilero by Elisavetch at Greek Wikipedia
Its likely origin and most common home is in the centre of the Peloponnese, where the Mantinía appellation requires 85% Moschofilero.

It has high acidity and sometimes struggles to ripen, rarely reaching more than about 11% alcohol, especially at elevations of 600m or higher on the Mantinía plateau. On warmer sites, the variety can yield richer wines but, whatever the style, these white wines are characterised by grapey and floral aromas, ranging from delicate and stony to intensely fragrant with fruit flavours such as citrus and even apricot. The best examples are not only highly aromatic but also deliciously refreshing and quaffable. The use of oak is rare but some producers, such as Tselepos and Spiropoulos, make both oaked and unoaked versions.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Resistant varieties should be renamed

Jean-Michel Boursiquot, ampelographer and professor at Montpellier SupAgro, would restore some truths on resistant varieties and names used. Interview.

Jean-Michel Boursiquot, ampelographer and professor at Montpellier SupAgro, said that the names of some current resistant varieties may mislead the consumer.

What is the difference between a cultivar (cepage) and a variety?

The term cultivar originated in the sixteenth century. It was used for the first time by a poet (JA de Baïf, 1573), and this word initially referred to all the vines grown on a parcel. At that time, it was used exclusively for Vitis vinifera. The term "cultivar" should be reserved for Vitis vinifera, and not for interspecific crosses that also use the term "resistant varieties". One can also speak of "rootstock varieties." In Vitis vinifera, the cultivar is sometimes confused with the variety. This is the case for example for Syrah, or Malbec, where for the cultivar in question, there is only one variety. Conversely, for Grenache (blanc, gris, noir, lledoner pelut) or Pinot (noir, blanc, gris, meunier) we find several varieties that come from mutations, not crosses. When variations affect important characteristics that have technological implications, such as color of the berry, it is called varieties. The resistant plants we are talking about right now are the ones from crosses between Vitis vinifera and American or Asian species. It is therefore "resistant varieties".

Where did this confusion between cultivar and variety originated?

There was a deviation in Germany in the 1990s. Institutes have conducted interspecific crosses and obtained new resistant varieties such as Regent, they wanted to plant in AOC. But the EU law is very clear. It only allows for the  that the planting of Vitis vinifera in AOC at the moment. Rather than a regulatory change, the Germans classified, improperly and wrongly, it in Vitis vinifera, where it should have been classified into resistant varieties. 

Do you favor an evolution of this legislation?

It is desirable to change European regulations on this point. What is important and what should prevail is the quality and specificity of the products and the opportunity to reduce phytosanitary inputs. I'm not a government workings specialist, but some people in France are planning to push in this direction. I think all the other countries would follow.

What is your opinion on the names of these new varieties?

These new varieties, called cabernet volos, cabernet cortis, cabernet blanc, cabernet noir or cabernet Jura, originated from a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and an interspecific hybrid. They have a maximum of 50% of the genome of cabernet. To get a rate of 90%, you would have to recross several times with Cabernet Sauvignon, and this would lead to stunted varieties and low productivity, due to inbreeding. Current resistant varieties are not Cabernets. They will not give the same wine taste and this will be very different from one variety to another.
The name could also create a lot of confusion. This will trivialize the terms of merlot, cabernet or sauvignon. At present, there are already more than 20 varieties of Cabernet! When there are 80 or 100, what will they do? How will nurserymen and winemakers find it? As for the consumer, they may be lost and will lose confidence. Market access by traditional varieties was a major economic success vector. A loss of confidence on these names would be very dangerous. These new varieties must use different names to avoid confusion or deception.

Moving Legislation

Professional advice from FranceAgriMer gave a positive opinion on a draft decree reframing the varieties classification procedure. Once it is ratified by the ministry, after positive opinion of the CTPS, the size limit of the experiments will be increased to 20 hectares by arean and by variety. Furthermore, a list of 25 varieties was proposed by professionals for accelerated enrollment in the classification.

At the name level of these varieties, the EU sets no limit. It is currently the breeder who has discretion. "But there is a demand from several countries to legislate on the subject, explains Eric Rosaz, the INAO. France is pushing at the European level  to the OIV. We are opposed to name a variety by using all or part of the name of a geographical indication, as is the case for the Cabernet Jura for example. "

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Paulsen 775

Paulsen 775

Origin: A Berlandieri x rupestris hybrid, obtained by Paulsen in Palermo, Sicily in 1894


Tip of the growing shoot: upright, flat, triangular, cobwebby, half-enclosed by the developing leaves which are greenish-bronze with wine-red edges; axis green, cobwebby.

Upper young leaf: folded, shiny brown on green background, downy on the upper surface, brush-like hairs on the veins on the lower surface.

Lower young leaf: orbicular, entire, dark green, glabrous on the upper surface, primary veins wine-red, slightly pubescent On the lower surface; petiolar sinus V—U-shaped, open; teeth irregular, convex, broader than long, mucronate. 775 P defoliates late.

Petiole: rather short, reddish-brown, pubescent.

Shoot: semi-upright in growth-habit with vigorous summer laterals, internodes wine-red, nodes not enlarged, violet-red, pubescent.

Flower: male, always sterile.

Tendril: bifurcated, violet-red, brush-like hairs at the base.

Cane: very thick, dark chocolate-brown, ribbed, polygonal in cross-section with a small pith and fairly broad diaphragm; wood very hard.

Dormant bud: small, dome-shaped, longer than broad, sharply pointed.
One-year-old root system resembles that of 110 R.

Aptitudes: According to Pastena (14) the cuttings of 775 P root and graft fairly well. This rootstock has a very good affinity with commercially cultivated V. vinifera varieties in Italy. In fertile soil its grafted vines are too vigorous, accompanied by a poor fruit set. 775 P accommodates itself well to soils which become dry and compact during summer, and also tolerates stagnant water in the soil. It can support up to 17 per cent active lime in the soil (14). Cosmo et al. (8) considered it to be the best rootstock obtained by Paulsen

Distribution: 775 P is practically unknown outside Italy. Its ungrafted vines grow very vigorously in dry badly-drained clay soils in South Africa.

From: Rootstocks for Grapevines. DP Pongracz