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. "

No comments:

Post a Comment