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Which two varieties would you save?


There’s a thread created by @Mooble on the MW exam paper. One of the questions caught my eye:

If a global disease were destroying all known grape varieties and you had the chance to preserve only two varieties - one white and one black - for humanity, which would you choose to save, and why?

Personally I’d go PN and Chardonnay - both are extremely terrior driven and can produce a wide variety of wines, and can take or leave oak. What would you save?


Ooh really interesting question. I might go for Chenin for the white (though Chard would be my second choice), because it can be used for the full range of dry/off-dry/sweet/sparkling, can be oaked or not and can have a range of different flavour characteristics.

Much as I’d love to save PN as the red, it isn’t the easiest grape in the world to grow, and I only really enjoy it when it’s made in a cool climate, so if I chose it, I’d probably be killing off half the wine growing regions of the world. I think I’d say Syrah because it can handle any climate from Moderate to Warm to Hot, can be made in very different styles, and is already planted all over the world.


Interesting question indeed and I bet those taking the test actually had quite a bit of fun answering it! So many different ways of approaching it! I think @Mooble is right - in terms of MW examination they’re definitely wanting more than ‘ohh these grapes because I love them etc etc’. Do you go for the highest yielding to produce as much as possible and stop inevitable inflation of prices/demand? The most disease resistant to save them for the future? The ones you can grow basically everywhere? The ones that have the most styles available to them? Is it specific clones? Grafted/ungrafted? My brains bubbling over just thinking about it lol.

Oh, and it would be riesling and syrah for me. Why? Because I love them…


Definitely Riesling and PN. Riesling for its age worthiness and adaptability to different climates.


This begs a poll… not sure one with open choices can be created though…

I would also go Riesling and Pinot Noir


I’m approaching this in a very non-scientific way (as are most of you, from the looks of it :smiley: ) and choosing with my heart…

I think I’m going to have to say… chardonnay and syrah. I drink chardonnay ALL THE TIME in all its glorious forms and syrah is the red grape I enjoy from the biggest number of diverse places around the world so I’d have more choice.

That was a tough choice though and I’m sure I’ll change my mind tomorrow!


With versatility with food in mind I would go for Sangiovese and Chardonnay


You’ve sold me on the shiraz, but you can get a late harvest chard for when you need that desert wine. And obviously sparking, though I have seen, but never tried, sparking shiraz.


Great question and as @horsleym says, my first response wasn’t necessarily which ones I’d want to drink. I think I’d go for the two varieties which you could cross-fertilise to regenerate as many of the others as possible - effectively repopulating earth with as close to the diversity we have now. Hoping that the two parent plants conferred sufficient disease resistance for success!


Maybe Traminer and Sauvignon Blanc? Plant them together and let nature (and time!) follow it’s course.


Great question, though it’s giving me a headache just thinking about it! :grimacing:
So going with the immediate two that came to mind: Riesling and Syrah. Versatile, can cope with various soils and climates and both make delicious wines :wine_glass:


Good to see no one has given a list of all the grapes they like…

Syrah and Viognier…Rhone, let me have Rhone !!!


I don’t think I want to live in a world where Viognier is the only white grape.


I actually think I might change my white option to Pinot Gris because genetically it’s the same variety as Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc, so I’d get three for the price of one.

This is all on the assumption that this disease only affects vitis vinifera varieties… If it also affects American ones, I guess I’ll have to save one of those for the rootstocks. Heaven forfend.


My like is obviously a slip of the forefinger…you’ll just have to hope I don’t become all powerful in the World of Wine !! :roll_eyes:


Riesling, because it can be anything from very dry to TBA and is excellent at all places in between. Not sure about PN: it can be very disappointing from some terroirs. Syrah/shiraz, again for variety?


Syrah (apologies C-S!) and Palomino Fino.


That is a good point… I am sure we’ll find a way to make sherry from Riesling.


So, I can understand the Riesling and Chardonnay choices as few other whites grapes are quite so versatile, but I’ll stick my neck out and go for that unfashionable choice, Sauvignon Blanc. My hope is for a New World, full of Sancerre like deliciousness.

The red would be Grenache which makes both a superb red and a tasty pink wine.


Purely out of self interest rather than big logic - riesling and palomino


I’m sure there’s an inspired Chilean or Australian out there who could manage that…