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ampélographie (F)
ampelography (GB)
ampelografia (I)

The science of the varieties (ampelos = Greek vine) is a part of the oenology, According to Greek mythology, the body of the man killed in the hunt spewed out satyrs Ampelos the first grapevine, His companion Dionysos first plant them in a bird's bone. As this was too small, in a lion, and finally in a donkey bone. So he could take the vine everywhere. To distinguish grape varieties was already in the Roman antiquity tried and already Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) noted that behind different regional names often one and the same grape variety can hide. Already from the late Middle Ages are lists of authors with the name of regionally grown grape varieties handed down. However, the descriptions are often inaccurate, so that one can only speculate on the actual grape varieties.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Airén, Tempranillo, Chardonnay, Syrah

Development as a science

After the establishment of the printing press and justification of modern botanical and zoological taxonomy Carl von Linné (1707-1778) also began to develop ampelography for the botanical science of grape varieties. The word creation comes from the botanist Philipp Jakob Sachs von Löwenheim (1627-1672), who titled his extensive work on the vine in 1661 with "Ampelographia". However, it took around 150 years until this term could prevail as a name for an independent scientific area. After him Balthasar created sprinkler (1724-1791) from the Cistercian abbey Maulbronn a three-volume work on viticulture with many hundreds of detailed descriptions of grape varieties.

Definition and scope

Ampelography includes the description of phenotypic and genotypic Characteristics of grape varieties and characterization by differentiating, varietal Characteristics. This includes the evaluation of the grape variety characteristics, the description of the cloning diversity, as well as uncovering the descent of historical varieties of unknown origin. The Varieties determination takes place due to habitus (external features) and vegetation cyclic Properties like Blossom-. Austriebs- or Maturity date, through DNA analysis the descent can be clarified. The heyday is in the 19th century. Especially in France, Italy, Germany and Austria-Hungary were extensive descriptions of the grape varieties. Famous ampelographers in German-speaking countries were, for example, Karl Friedrich Gok (1776-1849), Johann Philipp Bronner (1792-1864), Johann Butcher (1789-1852) or August-Wilhelm Freiherr von Babo (1827-1894), in France Victor Pulliat (1827-1896) and in the United States Thomas Volney Munson (1843-1913).

standard ampelographic works

In Italy, in the year 1877, that of Giuseppe di Rovasenda (1824-1913) wrote "Saggio di Ampelografia Universale", in which 3,666 grape varieties from the world's largest collection of grapes at Turin in Piedmont are described. In German-speaking countries, Hermann Goethe (1837-1911) culminated in the publication of his second edition of the Handbook of Ampelography in 1887. At the beginning of the 20th century, the seven-volume work "Ampélographie" was crowned by the two French ampelographers Victor Vermorel (1848-1927) and Pierre Viala (1859-1936) published. In it, several French authors describe the previously known European grape varieties, with around 24,000 grape varieties and their associated synonyms, Although not perfect, this work is still the most comprehensive standard work on traditional grape varieties in Europe. The book published in 2012 " Wine Grapes "(Jancis Robinson, José Vouillamoz, Julia Harding ) is now considered the standard work.

Identification of grape varieties

The descriptions in the 18th century focused mainly on the aspects of the grapes and berry, according to which the identification was made in the first place. This method was still relatively error prone and uncertain. But from the 19th century that occurred sheet as an organ for sort differentiation more and more in the foreground. By the mid-19th century, the entire morphology The grape varieties (trunk, wood, leaf, shoot tip, grape, berry) meticulously described and used for identification. The grape varieties were grouped and classified according to specific characteristics (berry shape, berry color, hairiness of the leaf, shape of the end tooth), numerous regional ones Synonyms enlightened and documented. Although Hermann Goethe As early as 1876, it was suggested that ampelometric criteria such as the measured ratio of the length and width of certain leaf structures or the angular sizes between the major nerves were only applied to a large extent in the 20th century. Well-known ampelographers of modern times include the Frenchman Pierre Galet (born 1921) and Paul Truel (* 1924), the in Montpellier were active. Both recognized hundreds of grape varieties at first glance.

varieties Catalogs

Comprehensive databases are VIVC (Vitis International Variety Catalog) and VITIS-VEA of the Julius Kühn Institute, The criteria for describing grape variety characteristics are today in the feature catalogs of international associations OIV and UPOV Are defined. The most important organs for variety differentiation are the shoot tip, the leaf, the grape and the berry. Criteria are color, shape, hairiness of the shoot tip and leaves, size and character of the grapes, as well as shape, color, taste and seed content of the berries. With the development of modern laboratory methods is tried, grape varieties also by means of content components (iso-enzymes) and DNA profiles to differentiate and molecular genetics to identify. Since 1995, there is the technique of genetic fingerprinting (microsatellite analysis), with which grape varieties can be clearly identified.

All well-known Viticulture Institute The world is looking at grape varieties based on genetic DNA profiles molecular genetics to characterize and define reference profiles However, the final balancing of varietal grape varieties in the various countries is still ongoing. The method has now become standardized, making it easier to compare the genetic fingerprints of different workgroups. That's why new insights are expected all the time. The fact that, despite clear criteria still can lead to identification problems, is related to the protracted over decades of clarifying the paternity of the variety Müller-Thurgau described there. See also below grapevine,

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