Disease-resistant vines and ECOVIN
The state wine research institute breeds and clones vines selected for their capacity to resist plant diseases, especially the destructive powdery mildew and peronospora (also known as false mildew). Such vines are ideally suited for organic cultivation methods.
Solaris is a mildew-resistant cross developed by the state wine research institute from Merzling and Gm6493 vines (Zarya Severa x Muskat-Ottonel). The cross took place in 1975 and has been protected as a commercial variety since 2001. The grapes ripen early, justifying the derivation of their name from the sun and the high sugar content of their juice. We make powerful, fruit-driven wines from Solaris, with well integrated acidity, that is maintained through extended skin contact in early fermentation, kept cool throughout its cellaring.
Cabernet Cortis is a mildew-resistant red grape variety crossed from Cabernet Sauvignon and Solaris in 1982 by the Freiburg wine research institute. The vines sprout, flower and form fruit with timings similar to those exhibited by pinot noir, and the grapes are ready for harvesting about a week ahead of pinot noir. Longish berries clump loosely; they smell and taste of black pepper and paprika, with supporting notes of black fruits. We create Mediterranean-style rosé and powerful tannic reds reminiscent of Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
Cabernet Carbon is a further mildew-resistant cross of Cabernet Sauvignon, from the year 1983, using the parent vines Merzling, plus Zarya Severa and St. Laurent. Cabernet Carbon gives strong-tasting, intensely coloured and tannic wines, close in style to those derived from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
The Johanniter is a white mildew-resistant vine, crossed here at the wine research institute in 1968 from Riesling with an intermediate cross of Seyve-Villard 12-481 (known to confer disease resistance on its offspring) with pinot gris and the local Gutedel. This variety is well established across Germany, offering the firm fruit and acidity that one would expect of a Riesling, with less intensive vineyard maintenance requirements.
Souvignier gris was created at the wine research institute in 1983, combining Cabernet Sauvignon and the mildew-resistant Bronner. Its grapes offer a skin spectrum close to that of the Gewürztraminer, from rose pink to amber in colour, and the growth cycle, upright habit and limited serrations of the leaves are comparable to those of pinot vines. Depending on its treatment by the wine maker, a souvignier gris wine can be neutral to juicy, to heavily aromatic and fruit-focused.
The Freiburg state vineyard manages its plots that are planted with mildew-resistant varieties in line with the requirements for organic farming, and is a member of the national association ECOVIN: ECOVIN is Germany’s largest association for organic grape production. It has some 215 member companies, which between them manage vineyards in eleven growing districts totaling about 1400 hectares. ECOVIN-co-branded products are checked annually both for content quality and for the environmental credentials of vineyard management. The association guidelines go well beyond those required by the EU, and only wines and vineyards that meet the requirements in full are awarded the ECOVIN brand. In short: soils need to be maintained or improved by the culture of vines, and the vines themselves need to be healthy and disease-resistant. The state vineyard grows and submits for certification the mildew-resistant varieties Cabernet Cortis, Cabernet Carbon and Cabernet Carol, plus Monarch and Prior, along with the white-wine Johanniter, Souvignier gris, Bronner, Helios and Solaris. Cabernet Carbon and Johanniter appear as varietal wines in our catalogue, along with Solaris which we grow and ferment as a sweet Auslese. The remaining varieties are used for our BACAT blends, whether red, white or rosé: highly aromatic blended wines made exclusively of these organically farmed varieties.