Grape varieties, sorts and forms

Classification characteristics of the grape genofond of Azerbaijan

Botanical description, classification of grapes, characteristics of grape genus and varieties

Grape family (Vitaceae Juss.) widely spread in wild and cultivated form from 20-52° north latitude to 30-45° south latitude in the tropical, subtropical, and mild zone of the earth is considered one of the biggest and richest grape families and includes 14 genus and 968 species (scheme).

Since the plants of this family are polymorphic and rich, the number, range, and environmental characteristics of wild plants are not fully studied.

Vitaceae Juss. family consists of 14 genus(Ampelocissus Planch., Partnenocissus Planch., Tetrastigma Mig. Pterisanthes Blume, Cyphostemma Alst., Cayratia Cuss., Acareosperma Gagnep., Pterocissus Urb. et Ek. , Vitis L. etc.) , sufficiently distinguished from one another due to the date, origin, range, morphological, biological and ecological characteristics of the family. Genus included to the grape family are distinguished from one another by origin, biodiversity and range. Cissus L. is one of the oldest, least studied genus of the family covering 319 varieties. Representatives of this genus are widely spread in tropical and subtropical climates of Asia, Africa, America and Australia and they are bush type with the roots like tubers and the majority are decorative plants.

All varieties of Partnenocissus Planch. genus are known for their resistance to drought and frost, 40°C heat and -30°C frost. They are not imposed to phylloxera and characterized by the immune response to fungal diseases. They are not soil demanding except for strong carbonate lands. They are widely grown as decorative plants due to the beautiful appearance with nice green leaves in summer and dark red leaves in autumn. The plants of this genus are considered as climbing plants. The berries are black and small with 1-2 seeds. Two species - P.qinquefolia Planch. and P. tricuspidata are spread in the former USSR region. P.qinquefolia Planch. species is cultivated in gardens, parks of Azerbaijan as decorative plants. It is resistant to fungal diseases. Well adapted to the cultivation in industrial cities.

Vitis L. genus. Vitis L. genus that is consisted of about 70 varieties is distinguished from the representatives of the grape family by economic significance, diversity and richness. Representatives of this genus are spread in the mild and subtropical climate in the northern hemisphere of the Earth.

Vitis genus is divided to 2 -Euvitis Planch. (68 varieties), Muscadinia Planch. subgenuses.

Euvitis Planch. subgenus. 20 species out of 68 species are cultivated which are used for the production of high-quality grape berries and high quality phylloxera-resistant rootstock in the selection work. Their berries are distinguished with the high taste quality and used as fresh and dried form for production of jam, juice and wine. Until the ice age many species of Euvitis genus were widely spread in the European continent, including the continent's tropical climatic zones with sufficient moisture and heat, as well as in North America and East Asia. Three geographical-ecological categories that are significantly different from each other have been established after the separation of the mainland and the era of the ice age:

  • European-Asian species - vinifera L.;
  • Eastern Asian species - amurensis Rupr. etc. (40 varieties);
  • North American species - labrusca L. etc. (up to 30 varieties).

Vitis L. - variety of cultivated grape among its genus (V.vinifera L.) that has great economic importance. Wild and cultivated grapes included to Azerbaijan's ancient grape form belong to this species. As Vitis virifera L. is very polymorphic, it is divided into two subspecies- Vitis vinifera ssp. sylvestris C.C. Gmel. (wild grape) and Vitis vinifera ssp. sativa D.C. (cultural grape).

Vitis vinifera ssp. sylvestris C.C. Gmel - is mainly grows in the banks of forests and rivers (in the Tugay forest) and in the forests (due to sufficient moisture). The leaves are simple, round and egg-shaped, or kidney-shaped, small, without edges of cuttings, or shallow-cut

Wild grapes spread in Azerbaijan

In line with the 4 taxonomic categories of wild grapes (Vitis sylvestris var. typica Negr., Vitis sylvestris var. aberrans Negr., Vitis sylvestris var. balcanica Negr., Vitis sylvestris var. tabasaranica Negr. ), two more unknown varieties of wild grapes have been discovered in Azerbaijan: a) Vitis vinifera ssp. sylvestris var. Zangezur Mail- widely spread in Mehri and Zangazur forests of Zangazur region. The berry is white and small and has 1-3, sometimes 2-4 seeds. b) Vitis vinifera ssp. sylvestris var. Alpan Mail- was discovered in the forests of Alpan village in Guba region. They are dicotyledonous plants. The berry is white and small with 2-4 seeds.The species is 3-5 tongued, bottom surface is fluffy or non-fluffed. Plant has male and functional female-type flowers The leaves are sparse, the berries are round, black, juicy, sour, sometimes delicious. The seeds are small with a length of 6 mm and the beak is short. Two natural varieties of grape are found in the In the flora of Azerbaijan (V. vinifera L. and V.labruska L.). Cultivated (Vitis vinifera ssp. sativa DC.) and wild (Vitis vinifera ssp. sylvestris C.C. Gmel.) varieties of V.vinifera are spread in our country.

  1. Vinifera L. is the most popular subspecies of the cultivated grape species (V.v.ssp. sativa DC.). This subspecies is distinguished by the sort, shape and clone richness and polymorphism. The plants belonging to this subspecies are widely cultivated and its yield is broadly used in agriculture and production. V.v.ssp. sativa DC. (cultivated grape) is the largest and popular taxon of Vitis L. genus. The varieties, forms and clones of the cultivated grapes (V.v.ssp. sativa DC.) are distinguished from one another for their biomorphological and technological features, and they have a number of positive classification and selection criteria. The richness of the subspecies (V.v.ssp. sativa DC.) allows establishment of forms with new quality and features by using them as starting material in selection and breeding works.

Representatives of the genus with economic and selection importance are increasingly spread across a number of countries of the world.

The cultivated grape (Vitis vinifera ssp. sativa D.C.) is divided into three ecological-geographical categories for geographical distribution and biological characteristics:

  • convar orientalis -Eastern category;
  • convar pontica- Black sea basin category;
  • convar occidentalis Negr.- Western Europe

Grape varieties cultivated in Central Asia, Azerbaijan, eastern regions of Georgia, Dagestan, Iran, Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Africa are referred to the Eastern category varieties (convar orientalis Negr.). Eastern category is divided into subconvar caspica Negr. and subconvar antasiatica Negr. subcategories. Subconvar caspica Negr. subcategory includes table and technical varieties of Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asia, Eastern Georgia, Azerbaijan and Dagestan, while subconvar antasiatica Negr. subcategory includes varieties with solid berry and full-bodies table varieties of Azerbaijan, Dagestan and Turkmenistan. As a result of historical artificial selection process, gradual change has occurred in the formation and establishment of species included in this category. The development of viticulture and wine-making has led to variety diversity in the countries covered by this ecological-geographical category. In ancient times the strong development of winery in the Western Asian valley, Azerbaijan, and Eastern Georgia has given rise to the cultivation of technical grape varieties similar to local wild varieties with medium or small bunch and small berry. Such varieties are currently being cultivated in the republics of Central Asia, Azerbaijan and Eastern Georgia. These varieties belong to the Caspian subcategory (caspica Negr.). Later, table varieties with large berry and large bunch were preferred mainly for consumption and drying connected with the spread of the Islamic religion in the East. These varieties belong to the antasiatica Negr. subcategory of the Eastern category.

The sorts belonging to the Black Sea Basin category (convar pontica Negr.) are mainly spread in Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Greece, Turkey, Azerbaijan and western parts of Georgia. Sorts included to this category: lower surface of leaves is cotton plated, degree of fluffiness is bristled, webbed, the size of the bunches is medium, dense, sometimes loose, berries are large, medium sized and round, pulp is juicy, colour of berry is white and black, sometimes pink. The seeds are small. These varieties are the product of the national selection of local wild grape forms undergone for many years in the countries of the Black Sea basin. The varieties of the category are similar to wild grapes for their morphological features. They have quite short vegetation period, and they are not resistant to frost and drought. Growth capacity of the grapevines is medium or high. The amount of fruitful sprigs in the grapevines is significantly high, and most of them are sprigs with 2 or more bunches (fruitfulness ratio is 0,6-0,8). Majority of the sorts is high productive (10-15 tons/hectares). Most of the varieties belonging to the category are technical (Rkasiteli, Saperavi, Chinuri, etc.) or table-technical (White Chaus, Shabash, Galan, etc.), and some are typical table varieties.

Sorts (corundum or grape category) with the berries growing partially or fully developed by parthenocarpia (oblique) are in majority in this category.

The varieties of Western European category (convar occidentalis Negr.) have been spread in European countries (France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, etc.) and each has a rich genofond of local species from this category. The origin of these sort belonging to this category goes back to the local wild grapes. They are very similar to wild grapes due to their morphological features. All of the sorts of the category are technical sorts. There are not varieties grown by partenocarpia in this category.

Varieties belonging to Northern African category (convar Nord-Africa Gram.) have long vegetation period which are evergreen plants. Bud flowering and leaf loss in the grapevines is happening later. They are not tolerant to diseases, pests, including frost. All of the sorts of the category are table varieties.

Azerbaijani scientists revealed that 80-90% of the total composition of grape varieties spread in our Republic are eastern (convar orientalis Negr.), Negr.), 10-15% is Black sea basin varieties (convar pontica Negr.).

According to the latest literature, V. vinifera L. (species of Eurasia) includes over 12,000 species, forms and clones. Vast majority of the grape genofond belonging to V. vinifera L. species includes aboriginal grape varieties which are product of popular selection method.

Eastern Asian species: This species combines 39 species that comes from the third generation. These species have low quality berries and not used, therefore is less studied species. The only important species among them is V.amurensis Rupr. This type of acute climate has been characterized by high frost-resistance and humidity demanding feature in soil freezing and high humidity conditions after the Ice Age. Plants of these species are characterized with short vegetation period and strong development process. Other East Asian species growing in the southern regions of Eurasia have not gained any of the above mentioned elements.

Amur grape differs from European-Asian grape variety due to the morphological and biological characteristics. The lianas of these plants grow very strongly, reaching up to 25 m in length, and their trunk is thick (diameter up to 18 cm). Most varieties of this species are dicotyledonous plants. Plants with hermaphrodite sex of flower have been found among them as well.

Amur grape is high frost-resistant (-40°C), as well as has short vegetation period, relatively resistant to fungal diseases, especially mildew. But they are not tolerant to phylloxera. Ripening level is improved and frost tolerance is increased in case of inoculation with European-Asian varieties.

Non-resistance to Mildew and the Phylloxera is the shortcoming of this species.

However, high frost resistance of buds and sprigs is characteristic of all ecotypes of Amur grape. Ecotypes of Amur grape are heterogeneous in terms of resistance to Mildew. V.amurensis species is important in the selection of grape as frost resistance which is a valuable biological feature.

There is a great interest to American species of the grapes in regard with the development of the viticulture in our country. American species includes 28 varieties and 18 out of them have been studied well. Only some of them are practical and planted for use in selection works.

American species have been started to be cultivated after discovery of America. In the 17th century, efforts were made to cultivate high-quality European-Asian grape varieties on the American continent, but these efforts were unsuccessful. European-American grape varieties were destroyed due to the high carbonate content of the American soil, the effects of fungal diseases, especially the extreme spread of phylloxera.

However, hybrids with quite high taste quality and large, white and pink, hermaphrodite flower types have been created in northern American forests as a result of their natural biological crossing. They are distinguished with the resistance to phylloxera and fungal diseases compared to the natural hybrids of the European-Asian type of American species. Samples suitable for fresh use and processing have been established as a result of selection of the best natural hybrids growing in the forest and cultivation and they are known as "American extractive hybrids". The most widely spread among them are Isabella, Conkord, Katavba, Lydia, Noa. Currently, these grape varieties are widely cultivated in eastern states of the United States and narrowly in some viticulture regions of Europe.

American species have become more popular in Europe, especially in the vineyards of France, Italy and other countries due to the spread of phylloxera and massive destruction of vineyards consisting of grape varieties of Europe and Asia.

Long-term studies on American species enabled to select forms resistant to phylloxera and fungal diseases.

V.vulpina L. (V.riparia Michx.), V.rupestris Scheele., V.berlandieri Planch. species are mostly of practical importance, therefore a considerable quantity of the species was introduced to Europe, especially France. The berries of this species are not for nutrition, but they have been attempted to be used as a rootstock. However, these species did not correspond to the soil-climatic conditions of the European continent. During their inoculation with European-Asian varieties, grafting resulted in poor affinity, barrenness, and infection to chlorosis. However, long-term selection studies have been conducted, American species have been selected and decent phylloxera-resistant rootstock sorts suitable to the various soil-climate condition of the area have been created with the obtained hybrids after crossing among American species, as well as among American species and European-Asian grape varieties.

Along with studies for creation and selection of resistant rootstocks, scientists also performed inter-hybridisation for creation of sorts with high-yield and quality characteristics of the Eurasian grape and phylloxera-resistant features of American species as a result of hybridisation of American species with European-Asian species.

Such hybrids are called "Direct extractive hybrids". For example, Kuderk 4401, Zeybel 1, Zeybel 14, Zeybel 1000, Bako 1, Kastel 120, Terras 20 etc.

Although these hybrids are quite widespread in European and Russian vineyards, later they were replaced with high-quality and productive European-Asian grapes inoculated with phylloxera-resistant American rootstocks due to the shortcomings in phylloxera-resistance features and low quality of berries.

V. labrusca L., V.vulpina L. (V.riparia Michx.), V.rupestris Scheele.,V.berlandieri Planch., V.lincecumii Buckly, V.cordifolia Michx. are quite widespread and detailed studied species distinguished by experimental importance among American species. The country of the Isabella sort which has been introduced to Azerbaijan is North America. Sort is the natural hybrid of V.labrusca L. and V.vinifera L. species.

Isabella grape variety is resistant to mildew and odium diseases. That is why is cultivated in Lankaran region where amount of the annual rainfall is high especially by localization. This sort is cultivated in the farms of most regions and villages of our republic as decorative plants as the this sort grows well, as well as it is resistant to diseases and pests, and habitus, the appearance of leaves and fruits is exotic,

Isabella species are found in the Dorchester forests of North America and are believed to be cultivated since 1816. Sort has spread to South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia after a ling time. Isabella sort is one of the first American origin to spread in Europe. Tolerance of the sort to the unfavourable climatic conditions, the diseases and the pests, as well as the high productivity of the sort attracted the attention of European grape-growers and widely spread soon. Sort was brought to Russia from France in the 50's of the 19th century and then introduced to Georgia and later to Azerbaijan. Mainly cultivated in Krasnodar, Crimea and Dagestan in Russia, and in Abkhazia and Adjara regions of Georgia. Sort is used in Georgia as a fresh and sort for wine production. “Salkhino” dessert wine is produced from the mixture of Mgaloblishvili and Dzvelshavi sorts with Isabella sorts.

Cultivation areas of Isabella species in Azerbaijan covered more than 300 hectares before, of which about 200 hectares were located in Lankaran region and Garabakh zone. Famous with the name "Bear grape" in some regions of Azerbaijan.

V.labrusca L. (Isabella grape) - parent species of Isabella sort is quite widespread among American species. Homeland is North Carolina state of North America. The species is naturally spread over sandy soils in smoothly moist places and along river edges in southern-east part of Canada and northern-east part of USA. Representatives of the species are frost-resistant, tolerant to fungal diseases, weakly infected by phylloxera.

Lianas of Vitis labrusca L. species is extending to 30-40 m, diameter of the trunk is 20-25 cm, colour of bud is brown or dark chestnut, fluffy, tendril is short with 2-3 forks. Leaves are large, wide egg-shaped or round, edges are whole not fully clear divided into 3-5 slices. Berries are medium or large sized, shape is balloon shaped, the colour is dark purple, black or pink, has muscat taste. Berries have 2-4 seeds, length of the seeds is 5-8 mm, edge side of the seed is very short. According to A. Grossheim, the V.labruska L. (Isabella grape), belonging to the North American species, is widespread in the Lankaran-Astara region of the Talysh forests and is one of the relict plants in this region.

V.vulpina L. (V.riparia Michx.)- Beach grape. This grape species is spread in the eastern part of North America - from northern parts of Canada to the southern states of the United States (Texas, Colorado, etc.). This species is characterized with high frost-resistance (up to -30°C). They are not imposed with fungal diseases and resistant to root form of the phylloxera. The grapevines of the species are well multiplied by the rod and have high dexterity. Hybridization of V.vulpina L. and V.labruscaL species has resulted in many hybrids of economic importance. V.vulpina L. is used to obtain phylloxera-resistant rootstock sorts during selection. As a result of the selection, Riparia Qluar de Monpele (Riparia Qluar), Riparia Qran, Qlabr species and Solonis x Riparia 1616 etc. hybrids with experimental significance have been obtained.

V.rupestris Scheele. species. This species is widely spread in central and southern states of the United States. The majority are strong, branched bushes that are not very tall. Growing normal in bright, sunny, hot and open areas and dry and light soils where the quantity of carbonate does not exceed 18-20%. Resistant to diseases, phylloxera, frosts and drought. They are heat demanding plants. This species is widely used to obtain hybrids with new economic significance and phylloxera-resistant sorts.

Rupestris dyu Lo variety and Riparia x Rupestris 101-14, Riparia x Rupestris 3309, Murverd x Rupestris 1202, Aramon x Rupestris Qanzen № 1 hybrids belonging to this species is valuable phylloxera-resistant rootstocks.

V.berlandieri Planch. species(Mountain grape, winter grape. Representatives of this species are located in the central and southern parts of Texas and in northern part of Mexico in USA. The bushes are not large lianas. This is the most phylloxera-resistant species. Introduced to Europe since 1887. Tolerant to 22-28°C frost, 40-45°C heat. This species grows normally in lime-containing soils, but are not resistant to excessive lime in the soil. They are tolerant to the lime-containing soils up to 65% in contrast to other American species, while hybrids with V.vinifera species is tolerant to the 40-45% lime-containing soils. Frost resistance is low in comparison with the other species. This species is used during selection process to obtain phylloxera-resistant rootstock sorts characterized with high tolerance to lime-containing soils.

V.berlandieri x V.riparia Kober 5BB, V.berlandieri x V.riparia 420A, V.berlandieri x V.riparia Teleki 8B, V.berlandieri x V. riparia CO4, Kreçunel 2, Şasla x Berlandieri 41B, V.berlandieri x V. Riparia Rixter 99 etc. are widespread high quality and phylloxera-resistant rootstock forms.

V.lincecumii Buckly species. This is very heat demanding plant and spread in Central and East Texas, Louisiana, on the banks of the river, usually in oak woods under hot and dry conditions. Resistance to fungal diseases is medium, resistance to phylloxera is high. The plants belonging to this species develop weakly on the lime-containing soils. A number of hybrid forms of economic importance (Zeybel 1, Zeybel 20, Zeybel 1000, Zeybel 4986 etc.) have been obtained by crossings happened among V.lincecumii,V.rupestris and V.vinifera species. Berries of the most sorts are large and suitable for eating.

V.cordifolia Mİchx. species. Strong growing, developing liana plants with thick trunks (diameter of the trunks reaches to 80 cm). This is the strong polymorph species. Spread from north of Pennsylvania state to the north of Florida in the United States, west of Kansas, in the Missouri River basin from the east of Oklahoma to the centre of Texas. Grapevines are growing well in clay, lime-crush containing soils, while growing weak in lime containing and dry soils. Vulnerable to the quantity of lime in the soil (up to 10-12%). Resistant to diseases, phylloxera and drought. Easily crossing with other American species. Species is of practical importance in terms of creation of phylloxera-resistant rootstocks. Especially, phylloxera-resistant rootstock sort ((Riparia x Cordifolia) x Rupestris 106-8) obtained from the crossover with V.rupestris species is quietly widespread.

It is found during studies that approximately 50 sorts in Azerbaijan have signs of the sorts of Black sea basin. And majority of them are universal and table grape varieties. 94% of grape varieties cultivated in Nakhchivan belong to eastern ecological-geographical grape sorts rafi (convar orientalis Negr.) and 6% of the grape varieties to the Black Sea Basin (convar pontica Negr.).

It is known from the literature that the bunches and berries of this species belonging to this category are of small or medium size and are mainly technical species. According to the findings, it can be concluded that these sorts was formation direction of Black Sea basin, experienced development path specific to Azerbaijan territory and grape sorts adapted to the local condition.

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