Towards elite mildew resistant selections suitable for industry use
To evaluate mildew resistant vines and identify additional traits that produce superior viticultural and wine qualities.
Prior grapevine breeding programs have delivered 1200 established field vines which are mildew resistant. This trait provides many production advantages, particularly relating to reduced chemical inputs and more sound fruit production. The capacity for these non GM mildew resistant vines to provide additional beneficial viticultural and winemaking traits has not yet been fully explored.
Preliminary data has shown the white mildew resistant vines produce a diversity of flavour types spanning the whole flavour spectrum from floral tones to vegetative aromas. Understanding which genes are involved in these characters and developing DNA markers to select desirable traits (genes) will enable future breeding programs to focus on production of elite material with desirable flavour types.
This project will measure and assess the field performance of the new mildew resistant vines over three years. Key measurables will include time of flowering, veraison, maturity and yield for both the red and white varieties. From this data, those of superior performance will be selected and additional measurements taken for berry quality attributes, berry sensory evaluation, and subsequent winemaking and wine sensory analysis. The use and testing of DNA markers for flavour will be part of this process. Selected vines will be harvested at two different maturity levels – low and normal sugar ripeness. Winemaking and wine sensory analysis will be conducted to identify vines able to produce flavourful wines at lower alcohol levels.
Vines that display promising performance and desirable wine attributes will be multiplied and planted in a mother source block every year. The aim is to have at least 30 white and 32 red vines within the source block by the end of the project.
The knowledge and the mother source block of new planting material generated by this project will give grape growers and winemakers access to new grapevines with desirable viticultural and winemaking properties; and through this, the ability to optimise the flavours that will differentiate their wines, whilst enhancing production efficiency.