Herbemont redux

When phylloxera broke out in Europe in the 1860s and 70s, many of the resistant hybrid vines in North America were uprooted and shipped across the Atlantic to save the European wine industry. The unfortunate consequence was that most plantings of Herbemont (and several other American varieties) were destroyed. In the 1920s, Prohibition disrupted winemaking in the US. When the industry took off again in the 1930s, tastes had changed and high-quality dry wines had fallen out of favor. When high-quality wine started to become popular again, in the latter half of the 20th century, European Vitis vinifera varieties were often emphasized at the expense of American varieties such as Herbemont. Just a handful of producers still make Herbemont wines. Thankfully, efforts are now underway to reintroduce and promote the Herbemont grape in several states across the South.

It now turns out, one place they might reintroduce it from is South Africa.

These two simple tests provide good preliminary evidence that the 95-year old Wynberg Village grapevine is probably an ancient clone of the true original Herbemont hybrid rootstock cultivar, which I believe is in real danger of becoming extinct for historical reasons.

Though of course there are also genebanks.

Nibbles: Open data, Banana virus, Potato impact, Peruvian agrobiodiversity, Malagasy Coffea, Evolution experiment, A2S

Crop wild relatives get special treatment

…this Special Volume of Plant Genetic Resources, Characterization and Evaluation is very timely as CWR science finally moves beyond the theoretical to the increasing applied, to meet breeders and consumers growing demands. It includes prioritized CWR inventories at different geographical levels viz. national (Bissessur et al., 2019; Dickson et al., 2019), regional (Allen et al., 2019; Fitzgerald et al., 2019) levels. Tools to facilitate conservation planning have also been developed (Magos Brehm et al., 2019; Holness et al., 2019), and regional conservation strategies and approaches have been developed (Allen et al., 2019; Kell et al., 2016).

Ok, the whole thing is not open access, but at least the introduction to the Special Issue is. And since I’m on the subject, there’s a nice summary just out of the state of wild Coffea in Madagascar. Coincidentally, one of the paper in the special issue is on the CWR of Mauritius, among which Coffea features very prominently.

The wild coffee species that grow in northern Madagascar are genetically similar to Coffea species found on Grande Comore in the Comoros – a volcanic archipelago off the east coast of Africa, near Mozambique. Other species have spread from Madagascar to Mauritius and Reunion Island.

Brainfood: Coca phylogeny, Potato taste & nutrition & resistance, CC & nutrition, Light & nutrition, Remote poverty, Spicy toms, Input subsidies, Broilerocene, European livestock then & now, Bean domestication, Peach domestication, Machine conservation, Habitat fragmentation, Conservation planning, Taxidermy, Wheat diversity, Livestock GS

Brainfood: Stressful crops, Quinoa, Ganja genome, Medicinal vetch, CWR in PAs, CWR in Zambian farms, African viral chickens, Naked barley, Farmer trials, Cotton genomes, Tuscan toms, Land sharing, Nigerian goats, Walnut diversity, Bean breeders, Sweet rice