18 Jan 2011

New grapes needed to ensure future wine

9:25 pm on 18 January 2011

Scientists says the future of wine-making depends on developing new varieties of grape.

Nearly all types of grape in use today belong to one species, meaning that they are vulnerable to the same diseases.

Disease is a constant issue for growers, but new regulations are likely to curb the use of chemical treatments, the BBC reports.

Researchers in the United States have made genome maps of more 1000 vine samples.

Writing in the magazine Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers say this type of data plots the way to disease-resistant grape varieties.

The most popular grape varieties including merlot, chardonnay, semillon and riesling, have mainly been developed from the species Vitis vinifera vinifera.

It is thought to have been "domesticated" about 5000 years ago, in what is now Turkey.