Traditional grape varieties, such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, cannot successfully thrive in the cool and humid climate in the Netherlands. Additionally, only very limited use of pesticides is allowed in the battle against insects and fungi. In order to be able to successfully cultivate wine under these conditions, various grape varieties have been developed that are more resistant to fungal diseases such as mildew, downy mildew and botrytis. With these grape varieties, the production yield is much better in our relatively cold climate than with traditional grape varieties.

These fungus-resistant grape varieties, also called ‘hybrid grape varieties’, are relatively unknown and therefore a real challenge for wine lovers to discover. Below is a (non-exhaustive) overview of all grape varieties in use in the Netherlands. This list will be expanded gradually with every ‘discovery’ I make!

Sources: Wikipedia.org; Glossary.wein-plus.eu; www.vreeken.nl; www.mijntuin.org

White Grape Varieties

Aurora is a very easy grape for Dutch outdoor growing. This variety ripens well, even in slightly colder places in the garden and is very suitable for a neutral and soft wine (also for example a blended wine). This variety produces large racemes with medium-sized, golden-yellow fruits. The flesh is juicy and has a fairly neutral taste. The growth is strong and there is good resistance to mildew and many other diseases. This variety is very hardy. The yield is very large, even in a cold and humid climate.

Auxerrois blanc is a white French grape variety, crossed from the pinot and heunisch weiss. The name auxerrois is also used for the blue grape variety côt or malbec, which should not be confused with this grape. The name auxerrois is probably from the French county Auxerre.

The Bacchus is a white wine grape created by crossing a (Silvaner x Riesling) with Müller-Thurgau. Bacchus is an easy grape and can grow where Riesling, for example, does not ripen reliably. Bacchus ripens relatively early in the growing season, about the same time as Müller-Thurgau. Bacchus has a high productivity similar to that variety. In Germany, it was generally known for having high sugar potential and low acidity levels. It has rarely been considered good enough for premier vineyard sites for white wine in that country, where Riesling continues to reign. Bacchus can give varietal wines of reasonable quality, somewhat in a Sauvignon blanc-like style. In the Netherlands, the cooler climate can lift the acidity of Bacchus.

The white grape variety (also VB 91-26-1) is an interspecific new cross between Cabernet Sauvignon x unknown resistance partners. The hybrid was crossed in 1991 by the winery owner Valentin Blattner in Soyhières in the Swiss canton of Jura, and then selected in the Freytag nursery in Neustadt/Lachen-Speyerdorf in the Palatinate (Germany). The vine is resistant to frost, botrytis and both types of mildew, but tends to small berries (Millerandage). It produces aromatic, fragrant white wines with a taste somewhere between Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.

Chardonnay is a green-skinned grape variety used in the production of white wine. The variety originated in the Burgundy wine region of eastern France, but is now grown wherever wine is produced, including the Netherlands. Chardonnay is an important component of many sparkling wines around the world, including Champagne and Franciacorta in Italy. Chardonnay’s popularity peaked in the late 1980s, then gave way to a backlash among those wine connoisseurs who saw the grape as a leading negative component of the globalization of wine. Nonetheless, it is one of the most widely planted grape varieties, with 210,000 hectares worldwide.

The white grape variety is by far the most common variety of the Traminer. The Gewürztraminer was first mentioned under this name by Johann Christian Butcher (1789-1852) in 1827 as a rare variety from the Rheingau. The vine is particularly vulnerable to viral diseases what in the meantime through selection of resistant Clone was solved. (https://glossary.wein-plus.eu/gewurztraminer)

The white grape variety (also Freiburg 242-73, FR 242) is an interspecific new breed between Merzling x Freiburg 986-60. It is an extremely complex intersection, because both parent varieties have already emerged from a long chain of intersections. A total of around 15 varieties were involved. The crossing of the hybrid was done in 1973 by Norbert Becker (1937-2012) at the State Wine Institute Freiburg. The medium-ripening vine is resistant to the real and the wrong mildew such as Botrytis, (https://glossary.wein-plus.eu/helios)

The grape was grown in 1968 by Johannes Zimmermann of the wine-growing institute in Freiburg as fungus-resistant. It is the result of crossings between Riesling, Seyve-villard, Ruländer, and Gutedel. The grape is named after the grower. Outward similarity with her mother-grape the Riesling are unmistakable. Both the grape, bunch and the leaf. The best harvest time depends on the climate. In The Netherlands, this is early to mid October.

Merzling is a white-wine hybrid grape variety with a parentage of Seyval Blanc (or Seyve Villard 5-276) and a Riesling and Pinot Gris crossing. It was bred in Freiburg, Germany in 1960 by Dr. Johannes Zimmerman, and registered as a protected varietal in 1993. Its high tolerance of cold weather, resistance to most disease (excluding oidium), and tendency towards ultra-high yields means it is often used as a valuable blending component in cooler vineyard sites in various northern European regions. Ripening period lies between the end of September and early October

Müller-Thurgau is a white grape variety. This cultivar was developed in 1882 by the scientist Hermann Müller from the Swiss canton of Thurgau. After gene research around the year 2000, it has been determined that this is a cross between the Riesling Weiss and Madeleine Royale, a seedling of the Chasselas. With a worldwide planting of more than 40,000 ha, it is a very successfully grown grape. It is a grape variety that places relatively few demands on soil and weather. Wine from this grape has mild acids, is fruity and can best be drunk young.

The white grape variety is a new variety cross from Solaris x Gelber Muskateller. The hybrid was crossed in 1987 by Norbert Becker at the Viticulture Institute Freiburg (Baden-Württemberg). The medium-early maturing vine is resistant to both types of mildew and frost. The variety was released as a quality wine grape variety in Austria around 2018 after a long period of testing.

The Palatina is a cross between the “Queen of Vineyards” and the fungus-resistant “Seyve Villard 12-375.” The crossing took place in 1966 in Hungary by the breeders Pal Kozma, Lazlo Nagy and Marta Urbanyi. The early ripening vine is resistant to both mildews, frost and dryness. It yields a very rich harvest of large bunches, greenish-yellow grapes with a fruity sweet taste and a slight nutmeg aroma. Ripe for wine from the third week of September

Pinot blanc is a white wine grape. It is a point genetic mutation of Pinot noir.

The white grape comes from France. Around 150 Synonyms testify the old age and the wide spread. Pinot Gris was a crossing partner at Columna. Deckrot. Freisamer. Hecker. Hoelder. Johanniter. Merzling. Nosztori Rizling. ruling and Schantlrebe. According to a legend, Emperor Charles IV (1316-1378) brought the vine from France as early as 1375 Hungary where they from Cistercian monks was grown on Lake Balaton. That is why the Hungarian name is Szürkebarát (Gray Monk). From Hungary she allegedly found her way back to Alsace and was called Tokay here. The variety has been known since the 12th century. The first reliable mention comes from the year 1711 in Speyer in Rhineland-Palatinate (Germany).In France it was mentioned in 1712 as Auvernat Gris, in 1770 as Pinot Beurot and only in 1783 in Flavigny on the Côte d’Or as Pinot Gris. (https://glossary.wein-plus.eu/pinot-gris)

The white grape variety Riesel is an interspecific new breed between Cabernet Sauvignon x unknown resistance partners. The early ripening vine is resistant to frost and both mildews but prone to Botrytis, but prone to Botrytis. (https://glossary.wein-plus.eu/riesel)

Riesling is a white grape variety. Originally it would be a descendant of the Heunisch grape and a Traminer variety. The grape is known as one of the best varieties. She is very popular in Germany and Alsace in particular. This grape is not ripe until late, usually late September or early October. The Riesling is suitable for the production of dry and elegant wines. In Germany the grape is known as Queen of the grapes

Rubens is a crossing of Riesling under number GM 7926-1 of Geisenheim test station. It is a fast growing grape, has good flowering power and also very large, compact bunches, is not susceptible to diseases. Rubens has a high yield and the ripening is irregular. The grapes are greenish yellow, medium to large.

This variety is an interspecific hybrid resulting from the crossbreeding of a descendant of Sauvignon x Riesling and a hybrid whose identity is unknown. There is no officially recognized synonym in France nor in the other countries of the European Union, for this variety. The hybrid was crossed by the owner of the vineyard Valentin Blattner in Soyhières in the canton of Jura in Switzerland. The late ripening, loose and frost-hardy vine with pink hard-shelled berries is resistant to both mildew and botrytis. Some of the variety research took place in Bordeaux and Cognac, where there are many villages, hamlets and field names ending in “nac”. One of the parents of this crossing is Sauvignon blanc and so, the name ‘Sauvignac’ was born.

The Sirius grape is a hybrid variety, a cross between the Bacchus, a pure Vitis Vinifera cross and the Seyve-Villard 12-375. The latter is a cross between two hybrids from Albert Seibel. It is a white grape with small berries that is well resistant to mildew. The plant produces large clusters with large green-yellow berries and a rich yield. Maturation takes place in the second week of October. The Sirius delivers a delicious aromatic wine with a mouthful aftertaste.

The Solaris is a white grape variety that was developed in 1975 by the Weinbau Institute in Freiburg. It originated from the cross of Merzling and Geisenheim 6493. This makes it a distant relative of the Riesling and Pinot Gris. Because of the many crossings, the grape has not remained a pure vitis vinifera, which means that it is considered to be one of the hybrid varieties. The name Solaris is derived from “solar” the sun, because of its strength and early summer ripeness. The wine is very suitable for cooler wine-growing regions, where the grape still has high sugar and low acid levels, resulting in strong fruity white wines, also because the ripening already takes place from 1st week of September.

The Souvignier Gris is a cross between the famous blue Bordeaux variety cabernet sauvignon and De Witte Bronner. The grape was cultivated at Weinbauinstitut Freiburg in 1983. Because both parents are vitis vinifera grape varieties (= wine grapes), souvignier gris is not a hybrid variety, but a cross. It is an easy grape and suitable for conveniently located vineyards. The grape is frost resistant, which makes it very suitable for cold climate regions.

Woman eating red grapes

Red Grape Varieties

Black Muscat (or Muscat Hamburg) is a red grape variety derived from the crossing of the Schiava Grossa and Muscat of Alexandria, in the UK in 1850 . It is commonly produced as table wine but it has also been used in the production of dessert wine. In France, the grape is used chiefly as dessert grape including AOC varieties such as Muscat du Ventoux.

Blaufränkisch (German for blue Frankish) is a dark-skinned variety of grape used for red wine. It is a late-ripening variety. For a long time before the application of DNA analysis, Blaufränkisch was erroneously thought to be a clone of the Gamay grape variety, due to certain similarities in morphology and possibly due to its name Gamé in Bulgaria.

According to Wikipedia, ‘the grape is grown across Central Europe, including Austria, Czech Republic (in particular southern Moravia where it is known as Frankovka), Germany, Slovakia (where it is known as Frankovka modrá), Croatia, Serbia (frankovka), Slovenia (known as modra frankinja), and Italy (Franconia). In Hungary the grape is called Kékfrankos (also lit. blue Frankish) and is grown in a number of wine regions including Sopron, Villány, Szekszárd, and Eger (where it is a major ingredient in the famous red wine blend known as Egri Bikavér (lit. Bull’s Blood) having largely replaced the Kadarka grape). It has been called “the Pinot noir of the East” because of its spread and reputation in Eastern Europe. In America the grape is also known as Lemberger, Blauer Limberger or Blue Limberger’.

The Bolero is a fungus-resistant cross from the research center in Geisenheim. Crossing of Gm 6427-5 (Rotberger x Reichensteiner) and Chancellor. The Bolero is a precocious blue grape with beautiful, full bunches and an abundant yield. When the grapes are ripe it is not possible to wait too long before picking, because of the risk of mold formation. The picking is at the end of September) Bolero delivers an aromatic fruity wine, with a low level of acidity.

In the Netherlands the most famous grape for the garden and probably a cross between Zinfandel x Ontario, originating from America.

A new variety from the Winegrowing Institute Freiburg. It is a new species from the Winegrowing Institute Freiburg. This grape has a strong resistance to mildew and downy mildew. The plant has a wild and strong grower with sturdy leaves. Maturation is from the beginning of October. The wine has an intensive color, Merlot-like with a lot of aroma.

Cabernet Cortis is a resistant grape variety. It is a cross between the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merzling + Zarya Severa + Muskat Ottonel. You can make a powerful red wine with a lot of potential from Cabernet Cortis. The taste resembles Cabernet Sauvigon and has a beautiful red color. The young wine often has harsh tones and actually needs wood aging.

Dornfelder is a dark-skinned variety of grape of German origin used for red wine.[1] It was created by August Herold (1902–1973) at the grape breeding institute in Weinsberg in the Württemberg region in 1955. Herold crossed the grape varieties Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe to create Dornfelder. Dornfelder received varietal protection and was released for cultivation in 1979. It was named in honor of Immanuel August Ludwig Dornfeld. Dornfelder has a depth of color, good acidity and the ability to benefit from barrique aging. Higher-quality Dornfelder wines are velvety textured, slightly floral, often show flavours of plums, blackberries or cherries, and are typically oaked.

Frankentaler is a synonym of the Schiava Grossa grape. The schiava grossa is a popular grape among winemakers because of its easy adaptability and its high yield. The grape gives a wine with a lot of fruit that often has to be drunk young.

The Frühburgunder is a blue grape that is mainly grown in German wine regions. It is a mutation of the Pinot Noir, also known as spätburgunder in German. The name ‘Frühburgunder’ can be understood as ‘early Spätburgunder’, because the grape is generally ripe 14 days earlier than the Spätburgunder.

Lemberger, Blauer Limberger or Blue Limberger is the name under which Blaufränkisch is commonly known in the USA, but it’s also used in Europe occasionally. According to Wikipedia, “The German name Lemberger derives from the fact that it was imported to Germany in the 19th century from Lemberg in Lower Styria in present-day Slovenia and then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. An 1877 export of Lembergerreben to Germany has been recorded. The almost identical name Limberger refers to Limburg at Maissau in Lower Austria, where in the late 19th century “ungrafted Limberg Blaufränkisch vines” (wurzelechte Limberger Blaufränkisch-Reben) were offered for sale.”. To read more on this grape variety, see ‘Blaufränkisch‘.

The Leon Millot is a good disease-resistant grape variety; this variety ripens early in the year and is completely resistant to almost all diseases. Mildew can only occur with very bad conditions. This variety is very suitable for a colder climate such as the Netherlands, and gives a nice burgundy wine with a deep red color.

Marechal Foch is a new grape variety, grown at the Obelin Institute in Colmar (France). Marechal Foch is a French hybrid variety, a Cross of Vitis riparia & Vitis rupestris and Goldriesling.named after a famous French marshal from the First World War. This variety can also be grown in cooler places. The marechal foch grape grows easily, has small bunches of black currants and a very high resistance to fungal diseases. The berries are not quickly affected by Botrytis, so that they can linger long and mature well. Marechal Foch is one of the most resistant grape varieties. It produces a very dark wine with an aroma of berries, cherries and herbs.

Merlot is one of the most grown red wine varieties worldwide. It has been cultivated since the 18th century in France yet has only been grown in the Netherlands recently. Merlot grapes are identified by their loose bunches of large berries. The color has less of a blue/black hue than Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and with a thinner skin and fewer tannins per unit volume. It normally ripens up to two weeks earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon. Also compared to Cabernet, Merlot grapes tend to have a higher sugar content and lower malic acid. Water stress is important to the vine with it thriving in well-drained soil more so than at base of a slope. Pruning is a major component to the quality of the wine that is produced with some producing believing it is best to prune the vine “short” (cutting back to only a few buds). Wines can be vinified as a single grape variety or as a cuvée with other red varieties and aged in barriques.

Pinot noir is a red wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. The name is derived from the French words for pine and black. The word pine alludes to the grape variety having tightly clustered, pine cone-shaped bunches of fruit. Pinot noir is almost certainly a very ancient variety that may be only one or two generations removed from wild, Vitis sylvestris, vines. Its origins are nevertheless unclear.Pinot noir is a difficult variety to cultivate and transform into wine.The grape’s tendency to produce tightly packed clusters makes it susceptible to several viticultural hazards involving rot. The grape produces mostly lightly colored, medium-bodied and low-tannin wines. When young, wines made from pinot noir tend to have red fruit aromas of cherries, raspberries and strawberries. As the wine ages, pinot has the potential to develop more vegetal and “barnyard” aromas that can contribute to the complexity of the wine

The Regent was cultivated at the German Institute for Grape Cultivation in Geilweilerhof and has been selected for its resistance to fungal diseases. It is a hardy variety; a frost resistance without protection up to -27 degrees Celsius has been reported in the United States. The Regent also has very good wood aging. Regent is a widespread planted blue variety in the Netherlands.

Rondo was originally called Gm 6494-5 and comes originally from the Czech Republic. Helmut Becker further developed this variety in Geisenheim in 1964 from the hybrid zarya severa x St. Laurent. Maturation is from mid-September. It is a blue hybrid grape variety and is suitable for light and fruity red wine, with a bit of a pinot noir / Burgundy character and aromas of cherries, plums, flowers, grapes and smoke.

The Salomé is a Swiss variety. In Switzerland there are wine-growing areas of some significance in the cantons of Zurich and Aargau. This variety is also increasingly being discovered in the Netherlands as a suitable frost-resistant and medium-early-maturing variety. This grape gives a high yield of medium-sized loosely formed bunches with large dark blue berries. Maturation from the end of September. This grape gives a wine with sufficient tannins, a deep red color, neutral in taste, of the Bordeaux type.

The variety Satin Noir was developed in 1991 by Valentin Blattner and is a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and resistant varieties. The genetic relationship with Cabernet Sauvignon is clear. The thick skin of the small, strongly colored grapes, and the concentrated aromas, are typical of the variety. The grapes ripen circa 10 days before Cabernet Sauvignon.

Spatburgunder or Pinot noir is a red wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. The name is derived from the French words for pine and black. The word pine alludes to the grape variety having tightly clustered, pine cone-shaped bunches of fruit. Pinot noir is almost certainly a very ancient variety that may be only one or two generations removed from wild, Vitis sylvestris, vines. Its origins are nevertheless unclear.Pinot noir is a difficult variety to cultivate and transform into wine.The grape’s tendency to produce tightly packed clusters makes it susceptible to several viticultural hazards involving rot. The grape produces mostly lightly colored, medium-bodied and low-tannin wines. When young, wines made from pinot noir tend to have red fruit aromas of cherries, raspberries and strawberries. As the wine ages, pinot has the potential to develop more vegetal and “barnyard” aromas that can contribute to the complexity of the wine

Triomphe d’Alsace is a black grape variety of Franco-German origin, commonly grown in the United Kingdom. Triomphe d’Alsace was produced by Eugène Kuhlmann from about 1911 at the Institut Viticole Oberlin at Colmar in Alsace, after a series of crossings.The variety was not brought to market until 1921, by which time Alsace had been restored to France following World War I.The Triomphe d’Alsace vine is fairly vigorous and very robust, growing rapidly even in cool climates. The grapes ripen early, and often suddenly, even in cool and damp summers, although harvest may have to be postponed as late as October. the variety is not so robust against disease and can suffer from mildew if the autumn is exceptionally wet. Wine made from the Triomphe d’Alsace can vary from a very deep, almost black, purple to a rosé, depending on the method of extraction

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