How to deal with the Green Deal – Resistant grapevine varieties to reduce the use of pesticides in the EU
With its Farm-to-Fork Strategy, which is a part of the European Green Deal, the European Union aims at reducing the amount of pesticides used in agriculture by 50% until 2030. As viticulture uses around 70% of the fungicides in the EU, there is substantial pressure on winemakers to reduce their pesticide input. On top of the political goal, winegrowers face increased pressure from the public demanding a more sustainable production of wine. Since the introduction of downy mildew, powdery mildew and other pests and pathogens from North America to Europe in the 19th century, substantial breeding efforts were undertaken to develop disease-resistant varieties and reduce the amount of plant protection products needed for harvesting healthy grapes. Today’s winegrowers in Europe can choose from many new varieties allowing them to reduce fungicide input by 50-80% and produce high quality wines on par with the valued traditional cultivars. This review will provide an overview on the current situation of disease-resistant varieties in European viticulture. Selected European breeding institutions and private breeders will be introduced and their most important grapevine varieties will be presented. Many resistant varieties are available for winegrowers today, however, even the most robust new varieties will not lead to a more sustainable viticulture if the market does not accept them. The adoption and acceptance of new varieties by winegrowers and consumers is still rather low, but the interest in these varieties is rapidly growing. The production of grafted vines of disease-resistant grapevine varieties allows the estimation that the area of disease-resistant varieties will significantly grow in the next years in Europe.
Issue: GiESCO 2023
1Julius Kuehn Institute – Institute for Grapevine Breeding Geilweilerhof, 76833 Siebeldingen, Germany
2Université de Strasbourg, INRAE, SVQV UMR-A 1131, F-68000 Colmar, France
3Verband Deutscher Rebenpflanzguterzeuger e.V., Waldstr. 36, 71254 Ditzingen, Germany
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grapevine, breeding, disease tolerant varieties, sustainability, market acceptance