The second edition of the event on the theme of PIWI vines has come to an end
The great challenge of the resistant grape varieties, success for the 2nd PIWI wine competition in San Michele
Friday 02 December 2022


The second edition of the national tasting of PIWl wines organized by the Edmund Mach Foundation to promote “sustainable” grape varieties bred to be resistant (or rather tolerant) to the main vine diseases: powdery mildew and downy mildew , completed successfully.

Today, in the Aula Magna, in the presence of well-known international experts in the field of genetic research and sustainable viticulture, the award ceremony for the award-winning wineries took place. 44 Italian wineries took part in the event, which was supported by the Consortium for Wine Innovation and the association PIWI International. The 82 competition wines, divided into six categories (red, white, orange, sparkling, crémant, classic method), were judged on November 9th and 10th by a panel of 30 qualified experts, assisted by the students of the viticulture course .

The award ceremony took place in a scientific seminar was also attended by the President of the FEM, Mirco Maria Franco Cattani, the President of the CIVIT, Enrico Giovannini, and the President of PIWI international, Alexander Morandell.
"This event, promoted by the Mach Foundation, aims to raise awareness and promote resistant grape varieties, which represent a concrete and tangible project, even if they are not the only solution to the problems of viticulture," said FEM President Mirco Maria Franco Cattani, at the opening of the event, and conveyed the greetings of the Provincial Minister of Agriculture, Giulia Zanotelli, who underlined the importance of this event, which was held for the second time and has become part of the rich calendar of events of the Foundation.
Alexander Morandell, President of PIWI International, indicated that the issue of resistant vines "is becoming a European and global initiative". Enrico Giovannini, President of CIVIT, the Consortium for Innovation in Viticulture, also expressed this sentiment. "In the last ten years," he says, "the tide has turned: we are receiving requests from all over Italy to test these new varieties and everyone is impressed by the level of quality achieved."

Professor Mario Pezzotti, Director of the Research and Innovation Centre, moderated the seminar and again appealed to national politicians to take decisions that free Italy from the impasse in which the exploitation of genetic innovation in viticulture finds itself. This concerns both the inclusion in the Testo Unico del Vino for DOC wines of the possibility of growing resistant vine varieties obtained by crossing with wild vines, and the possibility of testing in the open field prototypes of varieties already bred that are characterized by cisgenesis or genome editing (New Genomic Techniques - NGT, or Tecnologie di Evoluzione Assistita - TEA, in Italian).

As part of the seminar, which ended with an award ceremony and a tasting of the participating wines, well-known German and French researchers who explained their projects for the introduction of their appellations spoke: Prof. Ulrich Fischer from the Weincampus in Neustadt and Prof. Geraldine Uriel from the Interprofessional Committee for Champagne wine. dr Gabriele Di Gaspero from the Institute of Applied Genomics in Udine spoke about genetically improving the resistance of vines.
Prof. Ulrich Fischer recalled how the European goals of the Green Deal are favored by the introduction of resistant varieties, even if today there is still resistance to their introduction due to a lack of knowledge on the market. He explained the results of several trials carried out at his institute, in which comparative tests with corresponding reference varieties gave flattering results for some PIWI varieties.
Prof. Geraldine Uriel spoke about the Interprofessional Committee for Champagne Wine, the research carried out and the integration of new resistant varieties in Champagne, which in 2014 was one of the first areas to invest in an ambitious innovation program with the aim of selecting by 2030 varieties which are permanently resistant to powdery mildew and downy mildew and preserve the typicality of Champagne wines.

Genetic innovation and precision farming are at the heart of a revolution in agriculture," emphasized Dr. Gabriele Di Gaspero, who highlighted the potential of Assisted Evolution Technologies while pointing to the need to change public perceptions of genetic innovation in agriculture.

PIWI vines and cultivation in Italy

PIWI is an abbreviation of the German word pilzresistent, which means something like "fungus-resistant vines". With the regulation published in the Official Journal on December 6, 2021, the European Union gave the green light for the inclusion of fungal disease-resistant grape varieties or "PIWI" in wines with a designation of origin.

The National Register of Wine Varieties now includes 36 PIWI varieties and the area planted with these varieties is several hundred hectares. So far, the cultivation of the varieties in Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Abruzzo, Emilia-Romagna and Marche has been approved, in other regions approval is in preparation.

FEM research efforts to develop resistant cultivars

The Edmund Mach Foundation has always been committed to researching innovations to help farmers meet new challenges. The biggest challenge facing agriculture today is the need to make cultivation sustainable from an economic, social and environmental point of view. The FEM responds to this challenge with various tools, including the genetic improvement of the main crops in Trentino: vines, apple trees and small fruit. With this event, the FEM also wants to promote the research and experimentation on tolerant varieties, which, thanks to the collaboration of the CIVIT consortium, has led to the registration of four new varieties in the National Register of Grape Varieties: Termantis, Nermantis, Charvir and Valnosia. Recently, the VEVIR project found that these varieties, along with Solaris, Souvignier gris, Bronner, Palma, Johanniter and Pinot Regina, are optimal for cultivation in Trentino.

The results in numbers
82 wines, 44 wine düters, 6 categories
30 commissioners, 5 gastronomic and wine journalists, 5 sommeliers, 5 wine communicators, 5 university researchers, 10 oenologists-wine technicians

Translated from Italian to German with
You can view the results here

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