Press release PIWI International
November 2022

Viticulture must respond to climate change

A large number of members of the "PIWI International" association from Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Italy, Poland and the Netherlands met last weekend in Neustadt an der Weinstrasse for the annual general meeting. Most of them are winegrowers who (sometimes even exclusively) grow new grape varieties that are resistant to powdery mildew and downy mildew, among other things. This means that treatment with pesticides can be significantly reduced, which is good for the environment and lowers the costs for the winemaker.

Friday began with a visit to the Freytag Rebschule, which is one of the major providers of these resistant grape varieties and which gave the participants an insight into their work and interesting information on breeding and propagation.

The theme of the afternoon at the Neustadt Wine Campus of the Ludwigshafen University of Applied Sciences was “Science Meets Practice”. Specialist lectures highlighted the range from breeding to marketing:

  • Business research on sustainability and PIWIS's: Surprising insights and prospects (Prof. Dr. Marc Dressler)
  • Molecular resistance mechanisms of PIWI grape varieties (Prof. Dr. Jochen Bogs)
  • Knowledge transfer PIWI as part of the student project week "Sustainable Viticulture" (Karin Franzen, Institute for Viticulture and Oenology, DLR Rheinpfalz)
  • Wine stylistics of PIWI grape varieties: consumer and expert preferences, including comparative tasting (Prof. Dr. Ulrich Fischer)

The summary of Prof. Fischer at the end of the day: The potential of the PIWI varieties in relation to the necessary changes to more sustainability is immense. And they no longer need to shy away from the taste competition with the traditional varieties.

At the general meeting on Saturday, President Alexander Morandell reports on the many activities of the association over the past year. The board alone met 14 times online and once physically, traditionally in Prien. The most important activities of the association included the new form of the PIWI International Wine Challenge and the drafting of a new statute. This should enable PIWI International to act as the umbrella organization for the national associations.

The General Assembly confirmed the current members of the Executive Board in their offices when they were elected. Only the former president, Josef Engelhart, resigned from the board of his own volition after having served several terms in office. The current President, Alexander Morandell, thanked him for his many years of service. He is still available for advice in his specialty, the cultivation of PIWI grape varieties. Heinrich Leutenberger (D) took his place on the board and took over the office of secretary.
The auditor Edwin Locher was confirmed in office, and Ulrich Frizlen was unanimously elected as the second auditor.

A lively discussion followed on the use of the PIWI International logo, which should be strengthened as a brand and also used more frequently by the members.

On Saturday evening, after an entertaining dinner, there was an opportunity to present the certificates of the PIWI International Wine Challenge to the winners and to taste a variety of excellent wines.

Sunday rounded off the event with a visit to the Mohr-Gutting winery in Neustadt-Duttweiler. Here the practitioners got an insight into the traditional and organic winery, which has been using PIWIs for years.

PIWI International would like to thank everyone involved for the friendly reception.

PIWI International is now a strong network that is not only represented in the traditional European wine-growing countries, but is also expanding to Denmark, England, Sweden and even Norway as well as the USA and Canada.

In November 2022
PIWI International
Heinrich People Berger

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