"RED" Muscadet

Browsing through twitter yesterday, I came across a tweet from Peter Dean, (drinks editor for the-buyer.net) . He’s come across a vineyard with a vine(S) which have started producing red fruit. Obviously this can happen, (Think Pinot) but its usually the other way around with red grape vines mutating to begin producing white grapes.
Can you imagine drinking rose or red Muscadet? Interesting


That is very odd, and interesting.

I was under the impression it only worked the other way - in that ‘white’ grapes were effectively albino versions of their red cousins (or more accurately, clones) … I’ve never come across it in the other direction.

While we tend to think there is already a lot of variety in wine / grapes, it is interesting to remember that varieties are actually clones of a grape, and we actively STOP them becoming more varied so that we can guarantee certain style & taste - but nature can’t always be contained!

There was also a fun and interesting project where Randall Grahm planted a whole vineyard of 10,000 different & unique grapes on purpose!


Wow, how interesting , I’m going to have a read of this thanks, this is the tweet by the way …


The INAO won’t be happy!


They don’t strike me as an overwhelmingly jolly bunch ever though.


I picture a panel of silent, gallic frowns because one of the vines is outside the boundary, or someone chaptalized using the wrong brand of sugar…


Well, he’s not planted them yet, It’s a big undertaking to breed vines and 10,000 different means an awful lot of work.

The quickest way is just to plant 10,000 seeds of various grapes, but you won’t know the parentage unless you look at the DNA afterwards.

Better way is to select parents, isolate female flowers, brush with pollen from male. When grapes develop then plant those seeds.

Not all will grow, some will be male vines and thus useless for wine, some won’t grow properly, some won’t grow in a way that can be trellised.

So, of your 10,000 seeds you are unlikely to get more than half that are useful.

You need to plant them in a remote, phylloxera-free site and after a couple of years graft them to a rootstcok. Not all will take the graft so you lose more.

Finally you plant them in your vineyard. Then after 3 years soonest you can harvest. Some - most - will make pretty poor wine.

Grahm talks big, and he’s been talking about this project for at least 5 years and the link gives a 10 year target, if he gets the crowd funding.

I don’t doubt he can make a blend, but breeding a wine grape that people want to drink is very difficult. Consider that new varieties are being bred all the time around the world for the past 100+ years and most wine drinkers still choose ‘heritage’ varieties. :slight_smile:

As every different vine variety is unique, the word here in the quote is being used in the regretfully American meaning of unusual.

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Quite an interesting article, my career in horticulture means I know a little of the subject and it can get complicated as mutation becomes involved and that can be caused by a myriad of factors.
The fruit has to be remembered is an attraction for birds animals insects to consume and spread the seed so colour can be very important in attracting the right suitors.
Yet the flower colour also has a role for others, where that becomes interesting is that islands like NZ had virtually no coloured flowers, all was white as the distance for seeds to travel and cross pollinate was to great so the islands became isolated to natural hybridisation until very recently.

The natural pollinators also do not always run to form for reasons still not fully understood, there growing evidence that the dominance of white flowers in the New Zealand alpine is not simply due to a lack of colour discrimination among pollinators.

So it is a very complicated area and mutants can be thrown up even different coloured fruit as with flowers on the same plant, this can all revert as many varieagated, the varieagation is caused by a virus, plants revert to the base green if the green branches are not cut out as they are stronger and will take over, the fruit can emerge as a clone for similar reasons in the wild, it is a fascinating subject but very involved.


It’s said that white grapes are a mutation that wouldn’t survive in the wild.

Veraison - changing of colour from pale green to red/black - happens when the grape ripens, or more importantly, the seed ripens and is ready to reproduce.

Red/black grapes stand out from their green leaf backgrounds and are shouting ‘eat me, eat me’ to birds and animals who will spread the seeds far and wide and cause new vines to grow.

Green grapes don’t stand out and won’t get propagated so much and the line will die out.