Preservation via utilization: minor grape cultivars on-farm
Over the last 20 years, the reputation of minor grape cultivars has increased considerably. Grower magazines and wine journals have reported the renaissance of neglected and even threatened grape cultivars, raising awareness and promoting their cultivation by vine-growers. Minor cultivars represent huge value with respect to cultural heritage, adaptation to ecological conditions, diversification of products and marketing of specialities with a higher economic benefit. Recognizing the heritage and value of traditional crop genetic diversity maintained on farms, in 2017, the European Cooperative Program for Plant Genetic Resources (ECPGR) published a Concept for on-farm conservation and management of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. ECPGR described a future strategy for the preservation of genetic resources. Priority actions defined are transmissible to grapevine. They encompass the development of descriptors, inventory of on-farm vineyards, definition of threat categories and overcoming of legal obstacles, ensuring that obsolete cultivars can be grown. Focus on these four issues took place under the scope of the ECPGR grant scheme activity On-farm inventory of minor grape varieties in the European Vitis Database in 2017. Twelve researchers from ten countries (Albania, Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Montenegro, Portugal, Serbia, Spain) participated. Descriptors were selected for the grower (12 descriptors), cultivar preserved (17 descriptors), vineyard description (17 descriptors) and commitments (six descriptors). To date, 191 vineyards have been registered: in Spain (105), Albania (16), Montenegro (14), Croatia (13), Germany (13), France (17), Portugal (5), Serbia (5) and Austria (3). An on-farm database was developed (http://www.eu-vitis.de/on-farm/index.php). Criteria for four threat categories were defined and used to initiate a process for legal inclusion of rare historical cultivars in national cultivar catalogues. Preservation under practice conditions provides deeper knowledge of agronomic features and wine quality of traditional grape cultivars and relieves stress on grapevine collections.
Maul, E., Schreiber, T., Carka, F., Cunha, J., Eiras Dias, J.E.J., Gardiman, M., Gazivoda, A., Ivanišević, D., Koop, L., Lipman, E., Maggioni, L., Maletić, E., Maraš, V., Martinez, M.C., Muňoz Organero, G., Nikolić, D., Regner, F., Röckel, F., Schneider, A., Töpfer, R., Zdunić, G., Ziegler, M. and Lacombe, T. (2019). Preservation via utilization: minor grape cultivars on-farm. Acta Hortic. 1248, 55-62
grape cultivars, diversity, preservation, growers, genetic erosion