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AOC: varieties for climatic and environmental adaptation



Interesting article discovered via reddit:

Evidence par Caroline ahead of the curve.


Two standouts for me in this:

  1. no information on their use can be disclosed to the public, either on websites or labels

  2. may chose new crosses or even hybrids

So, the people who actually pay for the wine, i.e. us the consumer, are not alowed to know that we are not getting what we thought we were buying.

And hybrids, which have been banned in France for 70 years, are now being allowed and yet the buyer must be kept in the dark.

If this is such a great idea, surely the public would be seeking out such wines if only they knew.

Stinks to me!


They can be up to 10% of the wine (although only 5% of plantings), so they seem to be expecting heavy cropping varieties. 10% isn’t insignificant in a blend of 2-3 declared varieties.


which was one of the factors in the original banning of hybrids.

As you remark, 10% in a blend (though some of these wines will be labelled as a varietal), can make a huge difference to a wine.


I presume that’s just for the trial time, although I agree I’d like to know, and the trial is 20 years!

In the end though, it kind of matters less to me whether a wine has a portion of x grape than whether it tastes good, but would be useful for consumers to be a part of the experiment too by being able to compare.


Strange wording "‘This change is motivated by the society’s concerns towards the environment " then follows the mantra that the idea is the grapes will enviromentally sustainable, goobledygook.

There are moves in other countries to use grapes more suited to a Mediterranean climate further north if climate change continues, quite a simple and logical long term move, so why secret hybrids and crosses, which are the same but different depending on what context the term is used.
Germany has had a program from the Giesenheim research institute producing hybrids, many which have been in use for years, so this French approach is strange to put it mildly.
But then the French do like a bit of bureacracy, not that we don’t these days, especially within agriculture.
A question, if these “hybrids” if used in a product that is sold to the general public have to be declared in the ingredients, or is that to simple.


Hybrids and crosses are not the same in viticulture.

Every single grape variety is a cross - i.e. it is the result of sexual reproduction.

In viticulture hybrid is used for a cross between species - usually vitis vinifera with a native American species.

Hybrids (and American varieties) are generally banned in the EU

The article says definitely not. The use of them cannot be disclosed.


The hybrids and crosses as you say are different, I am not going to be a pedant but this is an area of much discussion in horticulturewhere the whole thing gets muddied, I had a long talk years back with a nurseryman who had a doctorate in hybridisation and was on the RHS committee that renamed plants thought to have the wrong names because of their ancestry, his lifes work it appeared was to continually rename Bamboos and explain why , he really could bore for Britain as in most cases the infintesimal differences because the same cross had been reached in the same way hybrids can be from different versions of crossing in previous generations resulting in the same outcombe but giving them different names despite the fact they were identical.
These people will drive you nuts.


I should have added, not that anyone cares, that crosses do occur between different species…

In biology, hybrid has two meanings. The first meaning is the result of interbreeding between two animals or plants of different taxa. Hybrids between different species within the same genus are sometimes known as interspecific hybrids or crosses.

And then the bore took over.


Yes, which I why I said its not the same usage in viticulture.

It’s important to understand the meaning. Hybrids are not allowed in the EU unless by special exception, usually on the grounds of climate. And then wine made from hybrids ar enot allowed a ‘Quality’ designation.

Hybrids are almost universally considered to make inferior wine, and in countries, such as the USA, that do not limit their use it is rare, maybe impossible to find them in wine regions where vinifera can be grown

In regions that vinifera really struggles, such as North Eastern USA where native and hybrid varieties have traditionally been grown, grape growers still battle to grow vinifera.


Agree. If this is a result of ‘society’s concerns’ surely society should be told on the labels that these new varieties are being used in the wine.

As a cynic, I think that flavour is an afterthought with these hybrids and the best will be neutral, used to pad out a more expensive and finicky vinifera.


I agree. But without tasting it before buying, how does one know?

Some people like 100% Sauvignon Blanc, some people only like it when it has Semillon blended in and the label usually tells you which is imporatant because they have a different taste.

The Appellation is a guide to the taste of a wine. For instance, if you like one Chablis you’ll like another. But if the other has 10% of a hybrid in it, it will taste different. You might prefer that or dislike it but you won’t know the reason why if the interloper is not allowed to be named.


Hybrids are generally banned in the EU for QUALITY wines, but not for other wines.

However, there are a handful of hybrids that are totally banned. And also a few hybrids that the EU classes as vinifera (even though they are not 100%), and thus are allowed even for quality wines.


Complete non-sequitur. This sort of nonsense is called greenwashing.