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Wine News

New grape varieties continue to be trialled in the New World as growers adapt to a warming world

The New World continues to embrace new grape varieties, with South Africa having its first commercial crop of Marselan harvested this week while Argentina plants Assyrtiko.

Assyrtiko is the white grape variety grown on the windy Greek Island of Santorini. Here the wind dries the grapes, creating concentrated citrus and stone fruit wines with high acidity. In Argentina, producer Trapiche has planted 2 Ha of Assyrtiko on the volcanic soils in Chapadmalal, 200km south of Buenos Aires, one of the few vineyards in Argentina not at altitude.

In South Africa, Marselan was planted in Paarl, one of the warmer areas in the Western Cape where altitude is used to help keep the region cool. Marselan is a red grape variety created in 1961 by crossing Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. The vine is grown mostly in the Languedoc wine region with some plantings in the Northern Coast of California. It has also become very popular in China. Marselan tends to produce large clusters of small berries that are mid-late ripening. It has strong disease resistance to botrytis, bunch rot and powdery mildew as well as to coulure and mites.