23 May 2014

'Wine revolution' may be on the way

1:48 pm on 23 May 2014

New Zealand scientists might be able to create completely new types of wine thanks to a discovery in grapevine genetics.

A team of scientists from Lincoln University and Plant and Food Research say their work might also boost productivity and help control disease.

Wine glasses.

Photo: PHOTO NZ

The researchers have discovered how to switch on natural DNA sequences, called transposons, which can replace and reshuffle genetic material.

Project leader Chris Winefield said this allowed them to speed up evolution, potentially creating new varieties of grape that can be used to make new types of wine.

Dr Winefield said at least 15 years' more work was needed before those new wines could end up on shelves.

He said the discovery could also be used to boost the productivity and disease resistance of other plants.