UC Davis Releases New Wine Grape Varieties Resistant to Pierce’s Disease

After 20 years of development, University of California, Davis, researchers have released five new varieties of wine grapes that are highly resistant to Pierce’s disease. The three red and two white varieties were traditionally bred and produce high-quality fruit and wine. The new varieties could be a boon to Southeast growers who have only been able to grow disease-resistant varieties that weren’t of good wine quality, and to growers whose crops are becoming increasingly subject to Pierce’s disease due to rising temperatures from climate change. “These varieties will hopefully make viticulture much more sustainable and provide a high-quality wine that the industry will welcome,” said variety developer Andrew Walker. “So far there has not been tremendous interest in new wine grape varieties, but climate change may encourage growers to reconsider wine grape breeding as we work to address future climates and diseases.”