Resistant Varieties

VRIAACC Project: going beyond organic viticulture

Resistant varieties

What are resistant varieties?

Resistant grape varieties are a type of vine which, through crosses between different species of vitis, have achieved natural resistance to fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and downy mildew, which are very common in our area in wet spells and one of the main concerns of vine growers in the vineyard.

The VRIAACC project is modelled on other countries (especially Germany, France, Italy, Austria and the United States) that have been working on resistant varieties for many years.

In this way, we work with nature instead of fighting against it.

Viñedo de variedades resistentes

What do we achieve with resistant varieties?

+organic

With resistant varieties we not only reduce the number of treatments in the vineyard, but also considerably reduce CO2 emissions, tractor use and soil compaction.

+healthy

The reduction of copper and sulphur treatments in the vineyard by more than 90% allows us to produce wines that are cleaner and healthier for the environment and for people. It is also an important change for the grower who avoids exposure to treatments.

+diversity

Resistant varieties offer us a new universe of flavours and aromas with high quality wines that have put the focus on people and the environment. Wines that are the heirs of our native varieties but that look to the future.

Projecto VRIAACC

Can our autochthonous varieties be resistant to fungi?

For some years we have been working on the VRIAACC programme (Resistant and Autochthonous Varieties Adapted to Climate Change). This means that we are crossing the most representative varieties of Catalan viticulture (Xarel·lo, Macabeo, Parellada, Tempranillo and Grenache) with other already resistant varieties. The aim is to naturally obtain several genes of resistance to the fungi that affect our vineyards, while at the same time seeking greater adaptability to the problems that climate change is causing us (drought, earlier and faster ripening, etc.).

Since 2013 we have made more than 300,000 crosses between autochthonous and resistant varieties to date, we have already obtained the first plants with high levels of resistance and with the typicality of our autochthonous varieties. It is important to emphasise that this is a flowering cross and is not, under any circumstances, a work of genetic manipulation.

The current forecast (2022) is to obtain the first commercial results from this project in 2026.

Once again, we are the first in the country, but we are not alone!

History of the project

  • 1998: Josep Maria Albet i Noya discovers resistant varieties with Dr. Pierre Basler at Chateau Duvivier (Provence, France). It was through him that the first resistant vines were planted on our Can Vendrell estate (Sant Pau d'Ordal) with the Vidal, Chambourcin and Chancellor varieties.
  • 2007: Within the Innovi cluster, a research group on resistant varieties was created and we saw the need to create a new line of research based on our native varieties, rather than falling back into the arms of foreign varieties.
  • 2011: The Swiss breeder and engineer Valentin Blatner is contacted to start the first trials of what has finally been baptised as the VRIAACC project (Resistant and Autochthonous Varieties Adapted to Climate Change).
  • 2013: The Alta Alella and Josep Piñol wineries join the project and the first experimental vineyard of fungus-resistant native varieties is planted on our Can Milà de la Roca estate (Lavern).
  • 2020: Faced with the worst downy mildew plague in modern history, the experimental vineyard of resistant varieties is proving highly effective and makes us believe even more in the viability of the VRIAACC project.

At Albet i Noya we lead the VRIAACC project and we are part of the Piwi International Association.