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Introduction, breeding and production of Winegrapes in China
- Wang, Lijun, Li, Shaohua, Fan, Peige
- Acta horticulturae 2014 no.1046 pp. 241-244
- Vitis vinifera, cold tolerance, crossing, cultivars, germplasm, red wines, soluble solids, vines, viticulture, white wines, wine grapes, wine industry, winemaking, China
- The earliest viticulture in China can be traced to the Han Dynasty more than 2000 years ago. Modern winegrape viticulture began in the 1890s with the birth of ChangYu Pioneer Wine Company Limited, which introduced 120 cultivars to test in China. These cultivars were Vitis vinifera such as 'Cabernet Sauvignon', 'Merlot', 'Chardonnay' and 'Riesling'. However, grape production including winegrapes comprised a very small area (3,200 ha) before 1949. The breeding of winegrapes in China was initiated with crosses of V. vinifera with V. amurensis at the Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IBCAS), in 1954. Other research units in China also introduced western and eastern European cultivars to evaluate and select at the same time. Although there was a sharp increase in grape production in the 1950’s, further growth of winegrape production was slow until the early 1970's. With its release by IBCAS, 'Beichun' became the main winegrape cultivar in the south of China with 7,000 ha in production during the 1970s and 1980s. V. vinifera cultivars such as 'Cabernet Sauvignon' have become important from 1990s to now. However, 'Beihong' and 'Beimei', released by IBCAS, have become widely grown in the past 5 years and are strong competitors to 'Cabernet Sauvignon' and other V. vinifera because they have higher tolerance to cold and disease and have a 24-27% soluble solids content. In addition, the winegrapes 'Gongniang 1' and 'Gongniang 2' from V. vinifera × V. amurensis crosses were released by Jilin Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and three 'Shuang' series cultivars were derived from V. amurensis at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Although these cultivars also have high cold tolerance, they have few good winegrape characters, so they are only grown in northeast China. 'Yan 73' and 'Yan 74', good teinturier cultivars, were developed by ChangYu Pioneer Wine Company Limited. Three ‘Mei’ series grape cultivars for red wine and 2 'Quan' series grape cultivars for white wine were released by the Shandong Vine and Wine-making Institute. However, these cultivars are only grown in small areas and are primarily kept as grape germplasm material.