The Swiss biologist and grapevine specialist Dr. José F. Vouillamoz (*1971) completed his studies of biology at the Swiss University of Lausanne in 1994 with distinction. He continued his studies with his doctoral thesis "Molecular cytotaxonomy and phylogeography of the genus Onosma in Switzerland and neighbouring countries" and completed this thesis in 2001. Combining his passion for wine with molecular genetics, he received a grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation to study the origin and genealogy of the numerous autochthonous grape varieties of the Valais. For the scholarship he spent the year 2002 as a postgraduate researcher with his colleague Professor Dr. Carole Meredith at the University of California in Davis (USA).
In 2003, Dr. Vouillamoz carried out a research with Dr. Stella Grando at the Institute San Michele all'Adige (Trento) on the localisation of the domestication of the vine, taking into account genetics, archaeology and chemistry. This work was carried out in collaboration with Professor Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania and the Archaeological and Anthropological Museum of Philadelphia. From this, Dr. Vouillamoz concluded that the first domestication of the vine in today's Southeast Anatolia took place in Turkey and not, as generally assumed, in Transcaucasia.
In 2004, Dr. Vouillamoz and Dr. Grando discovered the parenthood of the Sangiovese variety (although there are other opinions). Together with the ampelographer Dr. Anna Schneider from the National Research Council in Grugliasco (Turin), the various relationships of the Nebbiolo, which is a parent of at least six northern Italian grape varieties, were determined. The extensive research and DNA analyses led to unexpected discoveries of the kinship relationships of the old Valaisian grape varieties Cornalin d'Aoste, Lafnetscha, Rèze, Rouge du Pays and many others (see under Old Plants).
In 2006, Dr. Vouillamoz and Dr. Claire Arnold of the Swiss University of Neuchâtel published on the Internet the "Swiss Vitis Microsatellite Database" containing the DNA profiles of more than one hundred grape varieties cultivated in Switzerland. Furthermore, Dr. Vouillamoz extended the family tree of the Syrah variety and identified Pinot as the most probable great-grandfather, established the kinship relations of Mondeuse Blanche, Mondeuse Noire and Viognier, determined the local origin of Chasselas and recently completed the family tree of Müller-Thurgau. In 2012, the team of authors Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz have published "Wine Grapes - a complete guide to 1,368 vine varieties". And in 2018 Vouillamoz published the work "Swiss Grapes - Their History and Origins".