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Could there be new fine wine grape varieties? Ask Decanter

Could new grape varieties mean that there could be new fine wines?

Could there be new fine wine grape varieties? Ask Decanter

David Adam, Surrey, asks: I read Maggie Rosen’s ‘New Grapes on the Block’ (July 2018 issue of Decanter magazine), about new grape varieties, with interest.

It seems that most of these new grapes are being developed to create massmarket styles of wine. Are we ever likely to see fine wines made with Aromella, Divico and co?

Dr José Vouillamoz replies: The first and foremost rationale behind the breeding of new grape varieties is not to create massmarket wines, it is to obtain varieties that are resistant to biotic (insects, fungi, etc) and abiotic (frost, drought, etc) stresses, which usually allows a drastic reduction in the use of pesticides.

Despite some good examples like Divico in Switzerland, I have not yet tasted a wine made with these new crossings or hybrids that was as fine, complex, terroir driven and profound as the best wines made with historical grape varieties.

This might change in the future with the recent advent of gene editing that could regulate the wanted and unwanted aromas and flavours, thus creating complexity and, hopefully, balance.

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