The area planted in Germany with vine varieties resistant (or less sensitive) to fungal diseases, such as mildew or oidium, presents a clear upward trend, and already represent, according to the German Wine Institute (DWI) 3% of the 103,000 hectares of German vineyards (approximately 3,000 hectares of these varieties).
In Germany they are known as «Piwi» (short for Pilzwiderstandsfähige Reben, literally: fungal resistant vines) and are characterized by the need for many fewer treatments, which make them «more sustainable», something that consumers also value.
Through the classic cross of American wild vines that have a natural resistance to these fungi with European vines that are synonymous with high quality wine, In recent years it has been possible to breed in Germany these new sustainable grape varieties that hardly need plant protection. They combine a good flavor with a great resistance. In fact, as highlighted by the DWI, German winegrowers have established themselves as world leaders in the development of these grape varieties.
These strains are already grown in the 13 German wine regions. In the past, it was mostly organic wineries that spent more time growing them, but in recent years more and more conventional wineries also grow these varieties.
Of the approximately 3,000 hectares planted with the new varieties throughout the country, approximately half are planted with the Regent red grape variety, which has been grown in Germany since 1995. The new red and robust varieties, such as Cabernet Cortis or Pinotin, still have less than 100 hectares cultivated. However, they grow from year to year as much as, for example, the white varieties Cabernet Blanc or Souvignier Gris, which together are already grown on more than 300 hectares.
As consumer environmental awareness increases, so does the interest and acceptance of these new varieties. At present, the demand for vine planting material of certain varieties of this type from wine producers is even higher than the supply. This is accentuated by the increase in international demand.
According to experts, when growing these new varieties, phytosanitary treatments can be reduced by up to 80%. In addition, there is additional CO2 and fuel savings, as it is not necessary to tour the vineyards so often. For wine producers, this means not only protecting the environment, but also reducing time and costs.