Portrait of the Perfect Grapevine: Industry Survey of Desirable Traits

DOV (dry on the vine) raisin grapes on an overhead trellis

If you could grow the perfect grapevine, what would it be or do? What would its fruit be or look like? How would it perform throughout the season, given your climate, soil and labor availability? Essentially, these were the dreams grape and wine industry representatives were asked to entertain when surveyed about the most desirable grape traits.

In order to help guide current and future grapevine breeding and/or genetics research, like VitisGen2, NGRA’s Genetics & Grapevine Improvement Research Theme Committee recently surveyed grape growers and producers to understand the traits—by sector and, for wine grapes, by region—that are most highly desired. Industry subject-matter experts from each sector and from grape-growing regions across the U.S. were polled.

The traits that ranked most highly across all grape and wine sectors are:

  • High and consistent yield
  • Uniform ripening
  • Resistance/tolerance to mealybugs (associated with the transmission of leafroll virus)
  • Resistance/tolerance to powdery mildew
  • Looser grape clusters
  • Resistance/tolerance to heat or cold
  • Facilitation of mechanization (For example, the amenability for spur pruning due to fruitfulness in lower bud positions, as cited in the raisin and table grape surveys, would likely facilitate robotic pruning. Identifying additional traits that would promote the employment of automated and/or mechanized viticultural practices would be of great interest.)

Click to view or download complete results, including results for wine, juice, table and raisin grapes, broken out by sector and region. Apparently, this is the stuff dreams are made of, if you’re a grape grower or producer!