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Unravelling the origin of Vitis vinifera L. Verdelho

Moita Maçanita, A., Santos, R., Catarina Gomes, A.
Australian journal of grape and wine research 2018 v.24 no.4 pp. 450-460
Vitis vinifera, ancestry, chloroplast DNA, cultivars, genetic analysis, genetic variation, grapes, historical records, islands, microsatellite repeats, progeny, provenance, wines, Azores, Madeira Islands, Portugal
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The history of Vitis vinifera L. cv. Verdelho has been studied, however, its geographic origin remains unknown. Although not widespread in mainland Portugal, Verdelho has gained a reputation as a Madeira wine, which has led most authors to attribute its origin to the Madeira Islands. The objective of this work was to determine the origin of Verdelho. METHODS AND RESULTS: An integrated strategy was followed, combining the molecular analysis of 28 nuclear and three chloroplast DNA microsatellites with an historical literature search. Historical records of the presence of Verdelho in the Azores Islands were found and these preceded those of the Madeira Islands by about 200 years. Moreover, the genetic analysis supports Verdelho as the progenitor of the Azores cultivars, Arinto dos Açores and Terrantez do Pico, and as the progeny of cv. Savagnin. CONCLUSIONS: Verdelho is a key cultivar in the Azorean genetic diversity pool, sharing first‐degree relationships with the two most important autochthonous grape cultivars, and reinforcing the historical data of its ancestry in the region. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY: The results presented here, both historical and genetic, shed new light on the origin of Verdelho, and suggest that the Azores Islands is the site where this cultivar was likely to have originated.