Introduced varieties

Introduced grape varieties

Bringing any plant to a new country or region is called introduction. Plants brought from other countries and regios are called exotic or introducers. Introduction work is of purposeful character and one of the fastest ways to enrich the vine genofond. Introductory works are carried out in order to eliminate the lack or deficiency of genotypes that meet the requirements of modern agriculture and industry and donor firms in selection works performed across the country.

From ancient times, people have been spontaneously engaged in the selection and introduction of plants to meet their nutritional needs. They selected the best plants (productive, good quality, good appearance, etc.) which were suitable for nutrition and and cultivated them near the their residential areas. Subsequently, neighboring tribes brought precious plants to their place as a result of purchasing and exchange and thus achieved their large-scale expansion.

The introduction of plants was carried out spontaneously until the beginning of XVII century and the transfer of plants from one location to another was connected with the trade relations, military interventions and the discovery of new countries. Scientific training on biology and plant cultivation initiated in the XVII-XVIII centuries enabled successful transplantation and cultivation of the plants under new conditions. In the 19th century, Darwin's "Origin of Species" and "The variation of animals and plants under domestication" books proves that along with the "heritage" of plants, the varieties of the same grape family were cultivated in the north and south, which indicates completely different soil and climatic condition.

Viticulture and wine-making have historically played an important role in the economic life of our country, and this area has been of an industrial character.

In order to produce high quality viticulture and wine-making products in Azerbaijan, property owners were bringing grape varieties from different countries and cultivating in their farms since the end of the 19th century. In addition to the Madrasa, Shirvanshahi grape varieties of Shamakhy region cultivated in the vineyards of "Forer Brothers", who had the largest vineyard field and wine industry in Azerbaijan in the nineteenth century, Georgia's grape varieties such as Rkasiteli, Saperavi, Tavkveri, Lokani, Mtsvane, as well as European's grape varieties such as Aligote, Tokay, Muscat, Merlo, Bordo, Cabernet, Riesling, Sotern, White muscat, Muscat of Alexandria, Pino blan, Murverd, Malbek, Mauzak were also widely cultivated in these vineyards.­­

As a result of the study of local and introduced grape varieties in different ecological regions of Azerbaijan in 1960s, 39 prospective varieties were identified which were added to the variety standards of Azerbaijan (By the Resolution of the former Council of Ministers date of July 7, 1966). 22 varieties were local and 19 varieties were foreign introducers. Along with the local grape varieties, the introduction of grape varieties has also played a significant role in the development of viticulture and wine-making in the 1980s. According to the statistics of 1980s, almost 45% of the cultivation areas for vineyards existing in Azerbaijan accounted for introduced grape varieties (Rkasiteli-35,9%; Tavkveri-1,3%; Cabernet-1,3%; Terbash-0,6%; Rain riesling-0,6%; White fetashka-0,4%; Aligote-0,2%; Pino-0,1%; Isabella-0,1%; Garaburnu-0,9%; Aghadayi-0,8%; Kardinal-0,4%; Shasla-0,4% etc.). As a result of the study of grape varieties in ampelographic collection vineyards, preliminary information on productivity, product quality, environmental plasticity and bioecological characteristics of these varieties is obtained.

Grape varieties that meet the soil-climatic conditions of the region (region of the collection) according to their biological characteristics are selected and multiplied.­ After such varieties are multiplied, appropriate amount of the varieties are presented to the State Commission for Testing and Protection of Selection Achievement for testing purposes. Successful varieties as a result of the trial are recommended to the vineyards and their compliance with the standard viticulture requirements of the certain regions are confirmed.

There are reports of the presence of primary plantations date to the VII-VI millennium BC due to the introductory activity of people in Central Asia and Transcaucasia.

The theory of plant introduction was first grounded by Swedish scientist A. Decandol in 1855. Taking into account the external conditions and geological history, A. Decandol studied the distribution principles of plants on the Earth and laid the foundation for the plant geography.

Research on viticulture shows that introducing grape varieties is a very fast and effective method in enrichment and improvement of the composition of grapes.

Taking into account the favorable soil and climate conditions for the development of viticulture in our country, in line with the local grape varieties, use of grape varieties introduced in order to help the farms to be quickly formulated and developed is one of the high priority issues.­­

If the grape varieties and forms were not actively exchanged, different countries and regions would have narrow framework of grape varieties and the world countries developing viticulture would not have grape genofond with rich grape varieties.­ At the same time, growing different grape varieties under the soil-climatic conditions allows to define their reaction to external ambient factors and the selection of the best ones, and find the ones with more plasticity.

Currently, theoretical provisions, ways and methods of introduction are successfully being developed. It should be noted the following features shall be defined during the introductory process: assessment of the ecological condition of the intended region; detailed study of the biological characteristics of the varieties to be introduced; and most importantly, response of the variety to the main environmental factors etc.

Special focus should be paid to the following aspects during analysis of the environmental factors of the region: the amount of active heat during the vegetation period, the number of days with frost-free and active temperature (high than +10ºC-), absolute minimum temperature in winter, water supply (amount of precipitation, hydro-metric coefficient), amount of illumination or photosynthetic active radiation, mechanical and chemical properties of soil, the condition of groundwater etc.­

Comparison of the main biological characteristics of the grape varieties with the indicators of environmental factors and the degree of compatibility allows to prepare a scientific justification and prediction on potential varieties, purposeful introduction into a particular region, and the application of new varieties in new conditions.­ Implementation of this work will provide a basis to study the variety's potential plasticity and adaptation to the new circumstances.

Long-term experience shows that the varieties belonging to the ecological-geographical group of Western Europe and the Black Sea basin have more plasticity. The varieties of the Eastern group are not highly evaluated in this respect. If the grape varieties are formed in the northern regions of the world, then their introduction to the southern regions will produce successful results. On the contrary, if the grape genofond is formed in the southern regions, their introduction to the northern regions does not produce successful results. Grape varieties of the Central Asia are very heat demanding and have a long vegetative period. These varieties do not grow in the northern regions as in their homeland. The last phase of introduction is to select successful varieties of the grapes adapted to the local conditions and test them in a wide range production conditions, and ultimately recommend to the farms.

It should be noted that viticulture has grown in 10 natural-economic regions of the Republic and grape varieties such as Aghadayi, Aligote, Isabella, Cabernet Sauvignon, White muscat, Pink muscat, White pino, Riesling, Rkasiteli, Saperavi, Pink tayfi, Agh huseyni, Agh shasla, Muscat of Alexandria, Kirghiz chaushu, Kulcinski were introduced from other viticulture countries and were cultivated successfully by adapting to the regions.

Table and technical grape varieties included in the country's variety standards do not meet the growing demand for the grape varieties at the required level due to the fact that the demand for high-quality grape and grape products in the domestic and world market has grown significantly year-by-year

Grape and grape products exported from other countries are not compatible with the purchasing capacity of the population in regard with the higher prices due to additional costs.

In order to provide population with fresh and high-quality grape products for long-term (4-5 months) in the territory of our Republic, there is a need for large-scale cultivation of table and raisin varieties which are ripening in different periods (earliest, early, medium, late, latest) and high quality, high productive grape varieties in terms of biochemical and technological terms which are resistant to biotic and abiotic factors, therefore identification, selection and recommendation of varieties for cultivation in large production areas is of particular importance.

Growing demand for high quality wines, grape juice, table grapes of different types (table, champagne, dark, dessert) requires a wider range of viticulture and wine-making in the country and selection of grape varieties that meet appropriate standards. As a result of the agrobiological study of a large number of local and introductory grape varieties in the main viticulture zones and ampelographic collection vineyards of the Republic, specialization of viticulture and regionalization of grape varieties in Azerbaijan are successfully carried out.­­­

The regional distribution of grape varieties has been carried out in 10 natural-economic zones covering all viticulture regions of the Republic. Several aspects of viticulture and wine-making have been identified depending on the soil-climatic conditions of the regions in each natural-economic zone and relevant varieties were recommended based on the quality, agrobiological properties, grazing areas and defined use directions.

It is reasonable to distribute grape varieties on soil-climatic zones and administrative regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan as follows:

Irrigated lowland area along the Kura river

Shirvan strip semizone along the Kura river Regions: Zardab and Kurdamir (south parts), Hajigabul and Sabirabad (western and northern parts);

Mil plain Regions: Aghjabadi (north-eastern part), Beylagan (eastern part), Imishly (Area between Kura and Araz rivers) and Saatli (left part of Araz river);

Mughan-Salyan semizone. Regions: Jalilabad (eastern lowland), Saatli (left part of Araz river), Salyan (southern part), Imishly (right part of Araz river), Masalli (northern edge), Neftchala and Bilasuvar (north-eastern part);

South-eastern Shirvan semizone: Salyan region (northern part);

Table grape varities – Agh huseyni, Tabrizi, Chahrayi tayfi, Agh khalili, Mahmudu, Salyani, Agh shani, Gara shani, Gara kishmish, Agh oval kishmish, Marandi.­

Technical grape varieties – Shirvanshahi, Rkasiteli, Bayanshire, Agh muscat, Chahrayi muscat, Hamashara, Khindogni, Madrasa, White grenache, Black grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon.­

Shirvan-Garabagh irrigated lowland zone

Shirvan semizone Regions: Aghdash (central and southern part), Aghsu (southern edge), Yevlakh (north-eastern part), Shamakhy, Ujar and Kurdamir (northern part), Goychay (southern edge).

Mil-Garabagh semizone. Regions: Aghdam (eastern part), Aghjabadi (south-western part), Barda, Jabrail (along Araz river), Yevlakh (south, east and western part), Beylagan (western part) and Fuzuli (along Araz river).

Table grape varieties - Agh huseyni, Tabrizi, Chahrayi tayfi, Agh khalili, Agh shani, Gara shani, Gara kishmish, Agh oval kishmish, Novrast.

Technical grape varieties –Bayanshire, Agh pino, Agh muscat, Chahrayi muscat, Hamashara, Khindogni, Shirvanshahi, Madrasa, Rkasiteli, Cabernet Sauvignon.

III. Irrigated mountanious - plain zone

Mountanious - plain zone of Greater Caucacus Regions: Aghdash (eastern part), Aghsu (mountanious - plain zone), Goychay (Irrigated mountanious - plain zone) and Shamakhy (plain part).

Northern mountanious - plain zone of Lesser Caucacus Regions: Aghdam (western part), Gazakh (central part), Goranboy, Tovuz (plain part), Shamkir, Samukh, Goy-Gol (plain part), Tartar (western part), Shamkir (central part) and Aghdara (plain part).

Southern mountainous - plain zone of Lesser Caucasus Regions: Jabrayil, Zangilan, Gubadli, Fuzuli and Khojavand.

Mountainous - plain semizone of Northern Talish mountains. Regions: Jalilabad (central mountainous-plain part) and Bilasuvar (western part).

Table grape varieties– Agh khalili, Agh shasla, Agh oval kishmish, Agh shani, Gara shani, Tabrizi.

Technical grape varieties – Bayanshire, Saperavi, Chahrayi muscat, Agh muscat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Hamashara, Riesling, Aligote, Garagoz.

Samur-Shabran irrigated plain area

Regions: SHabran, Gusar, Guba, Khachmaz and Siyazan (plain part)

Table grape varieties – Agh shani, Gara shani, Agh khalili, Aghadayi.


Regions: Astara, Lankaran and Masalli (plain part).

Table grape varieties - Agh shani, Gara shani, Agh khalili.

Technical grape varieties – Isabella, Rkasiteli, Bayanshire.

Absheron area

Regions: Absheron district (sentral, northern and southern seaside) and Khizi region (western part of Absheron peninsula).

Table grape varieties - Agh huseyni, Tabrizi, Chahrayi tayfi, Agh khalili, Agh shani, Gara shani, Gara kishmish, Agh oval kishmish, Madeleine Angevine, Agh shasla, Aghdayi, Sarigile, Azeri, Nimrang, Chahrayi kishmish, Agh kishmish, Girmizi kishmish, Novrast.

VII. Mountainous-desert zone

Gobustan semizone. Regions: Gobustan (mountainous-desert zone) and Shamakhy (south-eastern edge).

Jeyranchol-Ajinohur semizone. Regions: Goychay, Oghuz, Gakh, Ismayilli, Tovuz, Shamkir, Shaki and mountanious plain areas of Goy-gol regions.

Table grape varieties - Agh oval kishmish, Tabrizi, Agh khalili.

Technical grape varieties – Rkasiteli, Bayanshire, Khindogni, Chahrayi muscat, Agh muscat.

VIII. Lowland zones.

Gusar-Guba semizone. Regions: Lowland areas of Shabran, Guba and Gusar regions.

Mountainous Shamakhy semizone. Regions: Shamakhy region (central lowland areas).

Mountainous Gobustan semizone. Regions: Shamakhy region (south-eastern parts except edges), Gobustan and Khizi (lowland area).

Desert-plateau semizone. Regions: Lowland areas of Aghsu, Oghuz, Gabala and Ismayilli regions.

Northern lowland semizone of Lesser Caucasus. Regions: Aghstafa, Gazakh, Goy-gol, Shamkir, Tovuz, Goranboy, Aghdara and Khojaly.

Southern lowland semizone of Lesser Caucasus. Regions: Jabrayil, Zangilan, Gubadli, Fuzuli and Khojavand.

Talish semizone. Regions: Lowland mountainous areas of Jalilabad, Masalli and Yardimli regions.

Table grape varieties - Agh oval kishmish, Tabrizi, Agh khalili, Shamakhy marandi, Agh shasla, Gara shani.

Technical grape varieties – Rkasiteli, Bayanshire, Khindogni, Chahrayi muscat, Agh muscat, Aligote, muskat , Aliqote, Cabernet Sauvignon, Madrasa, Riesling.

Shaki-Zagatala zone

Valley parts of Balakan, Zagatala, Gakh, Gabala and Ismayilli regions.

Table grape varieties - Agh khalili, Agh oval kishmish, Asgari, Novrast, Huseyni, Gara kishmish, Gara pishraz, Madeleine Angevine, Agh shasla, Cardinal, Irsai Olivér.

Technical grape varieties – Hamashara, Madrasa, Garagoz, Aligote, Riesling.

Mid-mountain zone

Mountain-forest Lankaran semizone Regions: Mid-mountain areas of Astara, Lankaran and Yardimli regions.

Mid-mountain zone of Greater and Lesser Caucasus. Regions: Dashkesen, Gadabay, Kalbajar, and Lachin regions, Mid-mountain zones of Khachmaz, Ismayilly, Guba, Gusar, Tovuz, Goy-gol, Goranboy, Shamakhy, Aghdara, Khojavand, Khojaly and Shusha regions.

Doma-Diabar area

Western edges of Lerik and Yardimli regions.

Table grape varieties - Agh khalili, Agh oval kishmish, Asgari, Novrast, Huseyni, Gara kishmish, Gara pishraz, Madeleine Angevine, Agh shasla, Cardinal, Irsai Olivér.

Technical grape varieties – Hamashara, Madrasa, Garagoz, Aligote, Riesling.

Viticulture farms introduce grape varieties mainly from foreign countries (Italy, France, Turkey, Georgia, etc.). associated with the recent rapid development of viticulture in our Republic. Although they are valuable varieties, their cultivation without consideration of the biological characteristics and soil-climatic features of the regions create serious problems. Annual agrotechnical measures and operations carried out in the vineyards should be carried out on the basis of biological features of the grape varieties and soil-climatic conditions of the area. Productivity of the grapevine is formed and developed under the mutual influence of various factors (abiotic, biotic, anthropogenic) and other measures along with the biological characteristics. However, there are a number of problems in the establishment of new vineyards, cultivation, and most importantly, the selection of grape varieties and specialization of viticulture. It is difficult to reach the targeted goal of the farm and the profitability of the farm is low as the biological characteristics of some grape varieties are not compatible with the soil-climatic conditions of the region and the same agrotechnical services are applied to all varieties of grape. It is impossible to obtain abundant and high-quality product without determining the proper cultivation technology according to the cultivation condition of the variety.

Recently table grape varieties such as Sultanina (white raisin), Moldova, Prima, Parkent, Red qlob, Sentenial seedless (white raisin), Uzbekistan white raisin, Superior seedless (raisin), Attika (black raisin), Autumn Royal (black raisin) etc., and technical grape varieties such Aleatico, Alicante Bouschet, Black grenache, Uni blan, Pino Nour, Pino fran, Shiraz, Petit verdo, Montepulciano, White grenache etc. introduced from other countries and widely cultivated in our Republic which are not regionalized and not included in the state registry. The adaptation, climate and introductory properties of these varieties in Azerbaijan shall be determined, and prospective varieties shall be identified and presented to the state variety testing for regionalization.