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Wild vines

wild wine (GB)
vignes sauvages (F)

Name for natural vine occurrences, which developed in the course of the long history of evolution as species and subspecies. Wild vines are not allowed with the as Wild Wine designated vine genus are confused. The Artareale are a mirror of Climate- and vegetation history of the respective colonization areas and give information about the adaptability of the species. Wherever the areas of different species overlap, viable natural hybrids have become natural crossing form. Due to the numerous finds of fossil seeds, wood residues and leaf prints it is proven that there were wild preforms of the grapevines already at the end of the Cretaceous (Early Eocene) and in the early Quaternary (Oligocene), ie around 60 to 80 million years ago , Through the ice ages (100,000 to 10,000 years before today), the native in Central Europe wild vines were pushed back into the Mediterranean and the lowlands of the then non-existent Black Sea and Central Asia.

Wild vines in Europe, Asia and America

One of the oldest descriptions of wild vines (next to those in the Bible ) comes from the trips of the Icelandic Leif Eriksson in the Grenlinga saga, which around the year 1000 the famous Vinland on the east coast of the United States (Massachusetts) reached. In the 17th century, European settlers in North America found lush, proliferating wild vines in the forests. Today there are even larger stocks in the east and southeast of the North American continent, as well as in Asia, especially in China,

Due to the climatic conditions in Europe described below, only Vitis vinifera has survived as the only species here. It is divided into the cultivated form Vitis vinifera ssp. vinifera (obsolete Vitis vinifera ssp. sativa) and the wild form Vitis vinifera ssp. Sylvestris Gmelin . Of these, the subspecies Vitis vinifera ssp. cavaica Vavilov demarcated what can not be reconstructed today. The latter two are according to the botanists Johann G. Gmelin (1709-1755) and Nikolai I. Vavilov (1887-1943) named. In contrast, there are the large species groups of Asians Vines and American vines each with about 20 species.

Vitis vinifera ssp. Sylvestris Gmelin

Development in Europe

During the periods of interglacial warm periods, new vine stocks in Central Europe developed again and again, which were wiped out by the following ice ages. After the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago, during the following heat period (5500 to 2500 BC) with their subtropical monsoon climate, the wild vines along with other woody species have returned to Central Europe. The large-scale spread was mainly due to birds that ate the berries together with the kernels and the indigestible seeds somewhere with the bird droppings again. In the floodplains flooding also contributed to the spread. This allowed new wild vines to spread in the much lighter oak mixed forests and floodplain forests.

Together with the tree species advancing to the north, wild grapevines may have been widespread to far north and into the montane stage, because the tree line was about 200 m higher than today. In the sparse mixed oak forests, wild bushes appeared in shrub form or grew up to 20 meters high on emerging trees. They are likely to be as old as their carrier trees, so in about 80 to 300 years old. From about 2500 BC BC, the climate deteriorated noticeably and in this cooler phase settled from 1800 BC. Dark closed beech forests in Central Europe as the dominant forest formation through. As a result, the European wild vines stocks were pushed back to the large floodplain, because in the beech-formed, extremely shady and long-lived indoor forests (without soil cover) or in the now much cooler mountain forests were no longer sufficient budding seedlings and growth conditions.

Reproductive wild-grape populations, however, survived in thousands of specimens in the sparse softwood ridges of the great river valleys of Danube. Rhine. Rhone and their tributaries. Only there did the annual floods create a dynamic and structurally rich mosaic of vegetation from the most diverse stages of plant communities. In the constantly emerging clearings with budding shrub growth and natural tree rejuvenation, the light- and heat-loving lianas offered optimal growth and climbing conditions. In addition, the deposited mud created the ideal seedbed for seed germination. In more southerly areas, with increasing drought, the river valleys were also able to provide the vines with sufficient water, light and settlement dynamics.

Wild vines on the Ketscher Rhine island (Baden-Württemberg)

By clearings Towards the end of the 19th century, plantation of forests, targeted removal of wild bear thickets, as well as extensive river straightening and drainage of alluvial forests, they are now almost extinct in Europe. Some remainders are still in Spain (Basque Country), France (on the shores of Garonne. Loire and Rhone ), in Germany (at the upper reaches of the Rhine ), in Switzerland (Lake Geneva), in Austria (in the Au area Lobau at Wien ), in the Balkans and at the Danube especially in Serbia and Romania. On the Ketscher Rheinisel (a nature reserve) west of the eponymous municipality Ketsch in Baden-Württemberg is the largest stock of wild vines Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris in Germany.

Differences between game and culture vines

If you take a wild vine in culture and educate and cut it like a cultivated one Rebstock, the difference between cultivated and wild vines is not that big. The most significant difference is the so-called dioecious that is, the vines of the wild vines carry only functionally male or only functional female flowers and are so on one pollination reliant. However, there are still some functional female cultivar varieties, and about 1 to 5% of the wild vines in existing stocks bear hermaphrodite flowers. The rule in wild vines, however, are dioecious plants with unisexual flowers, blue berries, elongated internodes and long working tendrils. The monoecious Cultural vines usually bear hermaphrodite (see also in detail under blossom ).

Further characteristics of wild vines are relatively small, lockerbeerige Grapes and small berries with comparatively large seeds, although the grapes of some species can easily compete with small-berry Central European varieties. Also genotypisch It is difficult to make a clear distinction between European wild vines and European cultivars. In the game species, however, one does not speak of varieties but of forms and often uses the collector, place of collection and numbers instead of melodious names. Two such forms are Vitis vinifera ssp. sylvestris Ketsch 7 (after the locality Ketscher Rheininsel in Baden-Württemberg) and Vitis cinerea Arnold (after the American botanist Charles Arnold ).

Most likely, however, the remaining wild vines are no more than original. Due to geographical isolation and tiny population sizes, the Central and Southern European remnants show on the one hand incest phenomena, which are expressed genotypically in an increased degree of homozygosity (hereditary equality) of the alleles. On the other hand, some of them are already plants in which genes from cultivated vines or hybrid varieties may have spontaneously crossed through pollen from neighboring vineyards. The similarities between Rhenish wild vines and ancient cultivars such as Pinot Noir. Riesling or Traminer should therefore not be misinterpreted. Presumably, these similarities are not due to the selection from wild grapevines or the spontaneous cross-breeding of wild pollen in the culture stocks. Rather, the cultural stocks may have crossed into the wild vines stocks.

Development of grape varieties

Spontaneous new varieties are still taking place today. Often one finds traces of once as documents used hybrid vines of the American species Vitis labrusca. Vitis riparia or Vitis rupestris, Favored by the fungal resistance, some could become new ones hybrid grape form. Obviously, hybrid genes have already crossed into some European wild vines, because one finds in the genotypic profiles of many wild stock of Rhine and Danube alleles, which are otherwise only in American vines but can not be detected in any of the old European varieties. Wild vines are subject to natural evolution and selection. Therefore, they are often characterized by increased resistance against native diseases or negative environmental influences. Most American game species have defense mechanisms against the phylloxera and both mildews developed while the Asians Vines depth freezing temperatures had to survive.

The wild Europeans Vines however, no such resistance had to develop, as until the mid-19th century there was no selective pressure for phylloxera or mildew resistance and the frosts in the low-lying river valleys were not so severe. Today's remaining populations, with the exception of even larger stocks on the lower Danube, are barely able to reproduce due to tiny numbers and difficult germination conditions. Without reproduction, these already outdated stocks at the natural sites are inevitably doomed to extinction, so that evolutionary adaptation processes to new pests can no longer be expected from there. Therefore, resistant wild species from America and Asia to date in resistance breeding as gene donors for mushroom-resistant new varieties used.

Historically, the first cultivated grape varieties probably originate from about 7,500 years ago on the Caucasus edge surviving wild forms from which have developed over thousands of years through selection, cross-breeding, reselection and targeted or spontaneous cross-pollination of today still preserved cultural grape varieties. From when targeted in the past Varieties (Intersections) is not known. Probably 9,000 years ago, wild grapevines were collected and used by Stone Age people, as proven by grape seeds found in Asia Minor. The actual domestication, that is, the cultivation of cultivars for the production of wine has probably six to eight thousand years ago in Transcaucasia on the southern edge of the Caucasus and in Mesopotamia began. According to the latest research, viticulture with cultivated vines in the southeast of Anatolia is not far away Ararat originated in today's Turkey.

Spread of cultivated vines

From there, viticulture has spread to the west (Anatolia, Mediterranean, Balkan / Danubian countries) and south (Mesopotamia, Jordan Valley, Egypt) and east (Iran, Afghanistan, China), where the wine culture through the ancient civilizations of the Egyptian. Assyrian. Babylonian, Hittites, Persian and Sumerer was refined. Presumably, in each historic growing area at different times, new varieties have emerged again and again through seedling sowing and selection. Certainly, some of these are ancient grape varieties by Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) and others perhaps introduced to southern Europe before him and by the Greeks, Phoenicians and Romans were grown and redistributed. Probably the Indo-European peoples of the Celts in Gaul and the Balkans already has regionally adapted varieties for viticulture long before the Roman Empire was established. The Bronze Age long-distance trade has contributed to the general spread of grape varieties from Asia Minor and the Mediterranean.

Wild vines are, as already mentioned, generally dioecious. To produce fruit on female plants, one needs pollinator plants in the neighborhood. Presumably, the rare cases of hermaphroditic and large-bigeye female plants in the wild-vines populations were selectively selected and further cultivated in the gardens along with imported varieties, possibly already crossed and sown in early times, until higher-yielding varieties were bred with hermaphrodite flowers. By the hermaphrodite becomes the cultivated Rebstock the Selbstbefruchter, with which a regular earnings is secured. Today, the varieties of the cultivated vine Vitis vinifera ssp. vinifera almost only hermaphroditic and some old female grape varieties, Wild vines are today like as ornamental vines on walls or pergolas used. The pictures show American ( Vitis riparia ) and Asian species ( Vitis coignetiae ) in Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam ( Brandenburg ).

Wild vines - Vitis riparia and Vitis coignetiae in Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam

Perhaps the large numbers of preserved, purely female grape varieties in the Balkans are an eloquent testimony to this perhaps very ancient breeding tradition. However, documented fertilization of mothers with pollen from selected fathers, subsequent sowing and selection of seedlings only began in the middle of the 19th century, initially for England and France, later increasingly for the whole of Europe. Probably, however, the ancient civilizations have already dealt with targeted breeding crosses, but at the latest after the collapse of the Roman Empire, this probably never written fixed knowledge was unfortunately lost during the turmoil of migration and in the anti-scientific Middle Ages.

Additional information

See with regard to the subject area also under Antique grape varieties and Vines systematics, A comprehensive list of relevant keywords on grape variety is under the keyword grapevine contain.

Picture above: By Javier martin - Own work, Public domain , Link
Picture center: From AnRo0002 - Own work, CC0 , Link
Pictures below: FaçadeGreen

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