Sunday 23 July 2023

Alsace new varieties?


Appearing in 'Vitisphere' newsletter this morning:

Alsace wants to test 16 new grape varieties: chenin, malbec, syrah, vermentino...

The general meeting of the Association of Winegrowers of Alsace (Ava) on July 20 in Colmar gave the green light to the acquisition of technical references with grape varieties capable of helping the vineyard to adapt to climate change and to limit treatments.
By Christophe Reibel On July 23, 2023 in 'Vitisphere'
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Alsace wants to test 16 new grape varieties: chenin, malbec, syrah, vermentino...
Yvan Engel and Christian Kohser. "With the VIFA procedure and the Alsavine program, the Alsatian vineyard intends to acquire resistant grape varieties that are better adapted to climate change". - photo credit: Christophe Rebeil


As of this autumn, Alsace will initiate the VIFA procedure (varieties of interest for adaptation purposes) with the National Institute of Origin and Quality (Inao). The Association of Winegrowers of Alsace (Ava) created its VIFA commission at the end of 2022. This selected ten white grape varieties (chenin, floréal, johanniter, petit manseng, opalor, petit courbu, selenor, souvignier gris, vermentino and voltis) and six reds (calabrese/nero d'avola, colliris, malbec/côt, nebbiolo, sirano and syrah) in selecting them on their resistance to diseases, their time of maturity, their ease of management, the acid structure of the wines (but not according to the emblematic appearance of certain varieties in wine-growing areas, which could have consequences: see box).

For grape varieties resistant to mildew and powdery mildew, “many winegrowers are struggling to manage rows of vines close to homes. In these situations, they quickly need the solution for experimenting with resistant grape varieties that will allow them to respect the Non-Treatment Zones (ZNT) and produce without losing the appellation” explains Christian Kohser, in charge of the VIFA file at Ava . “This response comes in support of the Alsavine program which aims to select new varieties with polygenic resistances to Riesling and Gewurztraminer typicity. We can also re-study the behavior of clones deemed too acidic and/or too late in the past.” adds Yvan Engel, president of the Ava technical commission. The acquisition of references in the different types of soil is planned over a period of ten years. In the room, Pierre Gassmann, independent winegrower in Rorschwihr, regretted that the old Alsatian grape varieties like the knipperlé were not considered worthy of being part of the varieties selected. “We had to act quickly” explained Christian Kohser…

The vintage still has great potential

The meeting also approved the filing of a dossier for an innovation evaluation device (DEI) concerning the management of weeds on the cavaillon using permeable biodegradable mulch. A ten-year follow-up is planned. The profession is finally working on the constitution, probably in 2024, of a network of plots whose water profile will be monitored over ten years in order to specify the methods of (possible) irrigation of the vines.

Water, precisely, remains a crucial element to realize the great potential of the 2023 vintage on the 15,529 hectares of the Alsatian vineyard. The forecast relates to 991,00 hl against 849,00 hl actually produced in 2022. But to reach this level, it would still take a good thirty millimeters in August, according to several winegrowers present in Colmar. As for the yields authorized in the Alsace appellation, the vineyard generally remains on values between 55 (gewurztraminer), 65, 70 and 75 hl/ha depending on the grape variety. The crémant grapes increase to 80 hl/ha. These different levels are matched with a VCI of 10 hl/ha. The CRINAO meeting on August 22 will decide on the opening dates for the harvest.

Note: Inao (Institut National de l'Origine et de la Qualite) is the French institute which controls the delineation of appellations and what may be planted in them. It is also active since 1970 for the development of new and resistant varieties, active since 1970. These include Floreal and Voltis (white) and Artaban and Vidoc (red). They also produce recommended clones of many 'classic' varieties.

Wednesday 5 July 2023

Mas del Périé vieux cepages conservatoires.


At the Fabien Jouve place, Mas del Périé (Cahors) they say Malbec is king but they also have famously Jurancon Noir ('You fuck my wine') and mention the following in their literature;

Cahours, Negral, Baral, Pissaire, Magdeleine Noir, Merille, Grand Noir de la Calmette, Gibert, Malpe, Valdiguié, Noual

These are planted in 'plusiers parcelles de vieux cepages conservatoires'... only Gibert, Valdiguié, Noual have been used in their wines so far but we live in hope.