Press release from the Julius Kühn Institute (JKI), Federal Research Institute for Cultivated Plants No. 1/2021
The new breed from the Julius Kühn Institute (JKI) is resistant to powdery mildew, downy mildew and black rot.
(Siebeldingen) Every wine consumer in Germany knows wines made from classic grape varieties such as Riesling and Pinot Noir. Wines from new varieties that can defend themselves against harmful pathogens, such as the fungus-resistant Piwis, however, are still waiting to be discovered. The Felicia variety, the lucky one, joins this growing segment of the PiWi avant-garde in Germany. Wines of this white grape variety have been available from the Julius Kühn Institute in the wine shop of the Institute for Vine Breeding at Geilweilerhof for several years. The variety has had plant variety protection since 2004. At the end of 2020 it received its approval from the Bundessortenamt. This means that it is approved for quality wine production in most wine-growing regions, and experimental cultivation is no longer necessary. Even under the new wine law, the gates are open for a prosperous development. After Calardis Blanc in spring 2020, Felicia is the second fungus-resistant, so-called PiWi variety from the JKI, which was approved in 2020.
These new varieties are an indispensable building block on the way to more sustainable viticulture, which also has to arm itself for climate change. Thanks to their resistance to the most important fungal pathogens, new varieties such as Regent, Calardis Blanc and Felicia make it possible to meet the demand for more sustainable production. The EU recently issued the premise of reducing the use of pesticides by half by 2030 as part of the “Green Deal”. New, resistant varieties already achieve this goal, some varieties clearly exceed it. Specifically, up to two thirds of the fungicides can be saved by cultivating the Felicia variety.
The variety was created in 1984 from a cross between the resistant parent varieties Sirius and Vidal Blanc. In addition to moderate resistance to powdery mildew and downy mildew, the variety is also resistant to black rot. This can also reduce the use of copper.
Brief profile of the vine and wine style
In the vineyard, Felicia can be recognized by its strikingly shiny leaves. Typical for the variety are large and loose-berried grapes, which are also suitable for direct consumption. With three to four grapes per shoot, the variety has a relatively high yield level. Due to the loose grape structure, Felicia is quite insensitive to botrytis. Due to their not quite upright growth, however, tacking in the vineyard is a bit more time-consuming. It matures comparable to Müller-Thurgau.
From a sensory point of view, Felicia stands for a light and delicately fruity type of wine. The subtle bouquet is characterized by fine, ripe fruit aromas such as apple, apricot and banana, which in some years are combined with a light nutmeg. The wine has a harmonious acidity. Due to the predominantly subtle wine style, the variety is also an interesting cuvee partner.
Since certain crops such as vines and fruit have extremely long breeding times and the breeding of disease-resistant new varieties is supported by the social interest in the reduced use of pesticides, the JKI, as the federal research institute for crops in vines and fruit, breeds to the finished variety.
With best regards from the JKI press office
Press office in Quedlinburg and Braunschweig
Julius Kühn Institute - Federal Research Institute for Cultivated Plants
Tel. (Qb): 03946/47 - 105
Tel. (Bs): 0531 / 299-3207
E-mail: press office@ julius-kuehn.de