Many of today varieties carry probably inheritance shares of old vines in it, which already in the antique one of Greeks, Romans and Phoenicians were cultivated. However, most of today still existing traditional grape varieties may have emerged only in the Middle Ages or later centuries from the then existing varieties. Most of the ancient grape varieties had a blue or black berry color. The red, yellow and green varieties are only later through mutation originated and were through vegetative propagation obtained as independent color variants. So are Pinot Blanc. Pinot gris and Pinot Meunier by buds mutations on Pinot emerged. Which varieties were actually cultivated by the Romans can only be surmised today, because of the Roman varieties there is nothing but Latin names and rough descriptions. The map shows the Roman Empire at the time of the greatest expansion at the end of the reign of Emperor Hadrian (53-117).
However, the variety names used by the Romans were no longer in use during the Middle Ages. Thus 2000 years later, due to traditional names alone, there are no longer any clear linguistic bridges to grape varieties still available today. The molecular Genetics or DNA analysis would only be able to help here, if one fossil Rebsortenreste from Roman excavations directly with the DNA could compare today still existing varieties. This has not been tried yet. It is therefore entirely dependent on the rough descriptions, which due to certain characteristics of the vine in terms of morphology ( blossoms. shoots. Grapes. leaves ), Disease susceptibility, growth cycle and vine species have a relationship to today's varieties at best only very inaccurate suspect.
The basis for this are the descriptions of Roman viticulture by contemporary witnesses. For example, historical reporters like Strabo (63 BC to 28 AD), Columella (1st cent.) And Pliny the Elder (23-79) mentions in her works the most important grape varieties of her time and describes in part detailed cultivation methods, fertility (yield quantities) and the quality of the antique wines made from them. Among them were the varieties Allobrogica. Aminea. Arcelaca (also argitis), Biturica (also Balisca or Cocolubis) and Nomentana, Pliny mentions a local grape variety Holconia, which in Pompeii was named after one of the most famous families there. From Sicily dating back to the Greeks long before the turn of the Murgentina introduced to Pompeii, which developed very well on the volcanic soil of the Vesuvian slopes.
Even today in Emilia-Romagna spread Lambrusco with their numerous varieties can be counted in the broader sense, because this variety (or an ancestor of it) already mentioned Cato the Elder (234-149 BC). In general, one can assume that in the warm, Mediterranean influenced cultivation zones until today varieties exist, whose ancestors were already with the Greeks, Romans and Phönikern in the cultivation and at least their genes passed on. That could be Aglianico. César. Chasselas. Coda di Volpe Bianca. Falanghina. Fiano. Greco. Greco Bianco. korinthiaki and Lambrusca di Alessandria (see also under César ). Probably the ancient civilizations already have with the breeding (Crossing) of new varieties.
There are no clear and scientifically recognizable proofs. What applies to the southern cultivation zones certainly does not apply to the northern continental regions. Because you have to be aware that the heat-needy and late-maturing Mediterranean varieties were not necessarily successful there. Therefore, it is assumed that in the more winter frost threatened regions crosses with local Wild vines have taken place to ensure a shorter maturation phase and higher frost hardiness. As well as the Celts (Gallier) already operated viticulture is suspected that old varieties like Pinot and Traminer already cultivated in Roman times. The old age and the wide spread would then explain why many, regional mutations or. Klonvarianten could train these varieties.
Some seemingly plausible assumptions had to be revoked now because of genetic relationship analyzes. Such is the Roman vine mentioned by the two aforementioned authors, Columella and Pliny Vitis albuelis (Vitis alba) most likely not with the white one Elbling equate, because this is a child of the White Heunisch ( Gouais blanc ) certainly originated only in the late Middle Ages. This also applies to well over a hundred other grape varieties such as Aligoté. Blaufränkisch. Chardonnay. Gamay. Knipperlé and Riesling with Heunisch / Gouais Blanc as parent. See also below Ancient wines. Vines systematics (Taxonomy) and a list of all varietal relevant keywords under the keyword grapevine,