Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Important new links between American grapes and European grapes

Lenoir (sometimes called "Black Spanish") is a grape grown in South Texas, where it has excellent disease resistance and makes good red port wine. But DNA analysis reveals it is the same grape as "Jacquez Madeira," an old hybrid grape with both European and American roots.

Herbemont (named for an important early American grape breeder) is a white grape that also derived from Jacquez Madeira, and also makes a (white) Madeira-like wine in the SE United States.

Jacquez Madeira's Vitis vinifera parent appears to be Cabernet Franc, and its other genes are from two American grapes (aestivalis and cineara). Apparently that cross occurred in the wild in the SE US, and the grape was taken to the Madeira Islands in the early 1700s!

So Madeira, a classic European winegrape (which might make the world's most-ageable wine, with many examples still tasting good after 300-400 years!) apparently arose in the US and contains significant US grape genes!

Read the story here.

(photo credit: iStock)


  1. Dear Sir

    Will the real Madeira stand up please? ;-)

    In 1979 the European Union (EU) officially banned most American hybrid grapes from all types of wine production, including the original six hybrid varieties (Clinton, Noah, Isabella, Othello, Herbemont and Jacquez).
    As a result, towards the end of 20th century, some producers started a renewed focus on Madeira wine quality, grubbing up the hybrid and American vines and replanting with the four major white "noble grape" varieties that are normally used for Madeira wine production.
    They are (from sweetest to driest) Malvasia, Bual, Verdelho and Sercial. However, the "workhorse" red grape variety, Tinta Negra Mole, now officially known as Tinta Negra, still accounts for approximately 85% of Madeira wine production simply because it is the most disease-resistant local variety.
    Today, Madeira wine's primary markets are not only confined to a few countries in the EU (Benelux countries, France and Germany), but to some emerging markets such as Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
    In the USA Madeira wine has a unique 'claim' to American patriotism.
    It was the 'beverage' most enjoyed by the Founding Fathers (including George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, James Monroe and Benjamin Franklin), who surely raised a glass or two after the final signing of the Declaration of Independence.
    Madeira wine quality is once again back on track, and is finally experiencing a much-deserved renaissance all around the world.

    Go well,
    Dr Jerry Rodrigues (PhD, Biochemistry, UCT)
    21 March 2019

  2. Actually I read it yesterday but I had some thoughts about it and today I wanted to read it again because it is very well written. https://wevino.store/


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