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Sustainable enhancement of autochthonous wine grapes in mountain areas

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Boosting European regional wine production

Wine production constitutes a vital economic sector for a great number of European Union regions. Supporting that industry is a multifaceted activity combining scientific knowledge and local expertise.

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The EC-funded EAGLE WINES project focused on the autochthonous grape varieties in mountainous areas and ways to support and enhance them. Project partners put together a list of criteria, which was used to identify the 36 varieties that would form the main core of the project. These criteria lay the groundwork for the complete characterisation of the cultivars in terms of future potential and site suitability. Data collection included information on climate and soil parameters. Analysis of the grape plants was carried out based on detailed methodologies spanning the entire life-cycle of the plants through to fermentation and wine production. The final step in the analysis was the wine-testing session organised during wine exhibitions. Different wines from different autochthonous grape varieties from mountainous areas were rated based on a series of descriptors. The EAGLE WINES project thus developed a protocol that can be used for the complete characterisation and analysis of the chosen cultivars on all levels: phenological, agronomical and enological. This type of approach might show potential in the analysis of other grape varieties in different areas worldwide.

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