The application of products that protect vines is present in all vineyards, notably products that protect the leaves against mildew and powdery mildew, two important leaves diseases. In the context of a necessary reduction in the use of pesticides and of the consumers demand, genetic resistance of vines is key. The French Institute of Agronomic Research, INRA, presented essential findings for the development of varieties of vines that are resistant to these diseases in order to create the wine industry of the future.
A major part of the French economy, the wine industry must respond to the strong societal demands to reduce the use of pesticides and to increase the diversity of its products. Among the options to reduce the use of these products, genetically resistant varieties seems to be an efficient and safe alternative.
In France today, studies of the improvement of vines for mildew resistance have been conducted by INRA since 2012. To study the durability of resistance and behavior of several varieties that INRA has helped produce, INRA and the French institute for Wine put in place the National Observatory dedicated to deploying resistance grape varieties (OsCaR). This tool launched last January constitutes a major challenge for the entirety of the wine producing industry, because the efficient roll out of these new grape varieties will allow to reduce the use of pesticides.
The goal of this unique tool is to evaluate the real scale of durability of the varieties’ resistance to the 2 diseases, i.e. to monitor the evolution of the mildew and powdery mildew populations. Different agronomic and wine practices will be evaluated in order to determine best practices for maintaining resistance. Production and quality of the wines will also be analyzed, because they will of course be key elements in the success of these new grape varieties.
All of the data collected thanks to this program will be useful in an innovative approach at modeling. It will allow predicting risks and determining best practices. The objective of this strategy for a sustainable and high-quality wine industry is to create conditions that allow for a rapid roll out of the best innovations in the field. It pushes for the acceleration of resistant varieties and their operation deployment and underlines the strong engagement of INRA to bring new and solid solutions to problems facing wine makers in the field.