Scientists in France have developed grapes that are more resistant to rot, which lessens the need for wine producers to spray grapes with pesticides.
It’s not about GMO and genetically engineered grapes, but instead, researchers have created a kind of mix of European grapes mixed with wine from Asia and the United States.
This revolutionary breed of grape has been grown in the laboratory under a programme called “Resdur” at the National Institue of Agronomical Research (Inra) in Colmar, eastern France. The aim is to be “durably resistant” to fungal attack by winemakers’ two sworn enemies: downy and powdery mildew.
Traditionally, wineries must use pesticides twelve to thirteen times a year, but with this new grape, it should suffice with only twice a year. And France, in particular, is under intense pressure to reduce pesticides following a string of cancer cases and a recent scandal in which pupils at a school near a vineyard were sprayed with chemicals, leading to several falling ill.
Unfortunately, it may take a while before we see wine produced on grapes like these. The wine produced with the new grape today is described as mediocre and will need more work before available on markets.