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US Grapes - Sauvignon blanc and the Sauternes

Written by Nancy L. Sweet, FPS Historian, University of California, Davis - July, 2018
© 2018 Regents of the University of California

Sauvignon blanc and the Sauternes


Sauvignon blanc originated either in central France or Bordeaux

The broad appeal of the Sauvignon variety is demonstrated by its popularity in many regions around the world, primarily as a dry white wine. A 2015 report from OIV showed Sauvignon blanc plantings in 38 countries, eight of which have 10,000 or more acres (France, New Zealand, Chile, South Africa, United States, Australia, Romania and Spain). 1 Boursiquot, Jean-Michel, "Tasty and Racy - The French Connection", Keynote Speaker presentation at the Sauvignon blanc Experience, International Symposium, Kelseyville, Lake County, California, May 4, 2018, citing OIV report from 2015.

Sauvignon blanc is one of the three varieties, along with Sémillon and Muscadelle, used in the highly regarded sweet white wines of the Sauternes region near Bordeaux. Sémillon is also blended with Sauvignon blanc to make dry table wine.2 All three varieties were brought to California in the 19th century.

This chapter profiles the Sauvignon blanc, Sauvignon gris, Sémillon and Muscadelle (Sauvignon vert in California) selections in the foundation vineyards at Foundation Plant Services in Davis. Muscadelle du Bordelais is included in this chapter but is not related to Muscadelle (Sauvignon vert).

SAUVIGNON BLANC

As is common with many of the ancient grape varieties, the precise origin of Sauvignon blanc is not known. The variety appears to be indigenous to either central France (the Loire region) where most of the variations are located or to southwest France (Bordeaux). 2 Galet, Pierre. 1998. Grape Varieties and Rootstock Varieties, pp. 120-121, OENOPLURIMÉDIA sarl, Château de Chaintré, 71570 CHAINTRÉ, France. One detailed parentage analysis presents a persuasive case for a Val de Loire origin for Sauvignon blanc. 3 Robinson, Jancis, Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz. 2012. WINE GRAPES, pp. 952-953, HarperCollins, New York.


Sauvignon blanc cluster is small and dense with short peduncles

The first mention of the variety appeared in France in the 16th century, when the grape was known under the old synonym names Fiers and Surin. The origin of the current name Sauvignon is from the French word "sauvage" (wild). The variety is now known in France as simply "Sauvignon", with synonyms such as Blanc fumé (in the Loire), Fié, Sauvignon blanc, Sauvignon jaune, and Sauvignon vert (not to be confused with Muscadelle in California). 4 Robinson, Jancis, Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz. 2012. WINE GRAPES, pp. 952-953, HarperCollins, New York.

Microsatellite analysis from INRA Montpellier and Domaine de Vassal in France shows that Sauvignon is a seedling (progeny) of Savagnin blanc (Traminer blanc) from the Jura.5 Savagnin (Traminer) is also one parent of the following varieties, which are either full or half siblings to each other and Sauvignon blanc: Chenin blanc (from the Loire region), Grüner Veltliner (Austria), Petit Manseng, Räuschling, Silvaner, Trousseau, Verdesse (Alpes), Verdejo blanco (Spain), and Verdelho da Madeira (Portugal). 5 Boursiquot, supra; Robinson et al., 2012, supra. The second parent for each of these varieties, including Sauvignon blanc, is unknown as of 2017.

In 1997, Dr. Carole Meredith, Professor of Viticulture & Enology at UC Davis, and her student John Bowers published evidence that a spontaneous cross of Sauvignon blanc with Cabernet franc occurred most likely in Bordeaux to produce what is arguably the most highly regarded red wine grape, Cabernet Sauvignon. 6 Bowers, J.E. and C.P. Meredith. 1997. ''The parentage of a classic wine grape, Cabernet Sauvignon'', Nature Genetics 16: 84.

Jean-Michel Boursiquot, well-known ampelographer and viticulturist with the Institut Français de la Vigne et du Vin (IFV) and Montpellier SupAgro (the University at Montpellier, France), spoke at a seminar sponsored by FPS in Davis in May, 2010 - Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc. Boursiquot's talk was entitled "Sauvignon and the French clonal development program". After discussing the historical context of the variety, he described its viticultural characteristics and wine styles in France.

Sauvignon blanc is known for its small-to-medium, dense clusters with short peduncles, that make it appear as if the cluster is attached directly to the shoot. The stem and peduncles are green, and the leaves are bullate (bumpy surface) and ruffled on the margins. The small to medium size leaves create a very dense canopy on a very vigorous Sauvignon blanc vine. 7 Boursiquot, supra. Boursiquot commented that Sauvignon blanc is a technically demanding cultivar that requires balanced conditions and vigor control.

Some of the characteristic aromas of wine made from the Sauvignon grape have been described as black currant bud, boxwood, broom, figs, citrus (grapefruit), passion fruit, white peach, gooseberry, green fruits, flint, rhubarb, tomato leaf, aspergillus, grassy, herbaceous, and green bell pepper. 8 Boursiquot, supra; DuBourdieu, Denis, Takatoshi Tominaga, Isabelle Masneuf, Catherine Peyrot des Gachons, and Marie Laure Murat. 2006. ''The Role of Yeasts in Grape Flavor Development during Fermentation: The Example of Sauvignon blanc'', Am.J.Enol.Vitic. 57: 1.

Changes in cultural practices and conditions can alter the aromatic quality of Sauvignon wines. One of the challenges with Sauvignon is control of vine vigor through canopy management and use of moderate to low-vigor rootstock. Too much vegetation can cause a strong herbaceous quality to the wine because the berries do not fully ripen. A bell pepper or grassy vegetal aroma caused by methoxypyrazine compounds can occur in the wine when grape maturity is insufficient. 9 Boursiquot, supra; Robinson, Jancis. 2006. The Oxford Companion to Wine, 3rd ed., Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, England. Exposure of the clusters to sunlight can also significantly affect fruit flavors. Finally, it is thought that the strong varietal character is more pronounced in cooler climates than in warmer climates. 10 Christensen, supra, at pp. 139-141.

Sauvignon has two notable color mutations. Sauvignon rouge has reddish black berries and is found among isolated Sauvignon blanc vines. Sauvignon gris (Sauvignon rose) differs from Sauvignon blanc by its pinkish grey berries. In France, Sauvignon gris has been less productive than Sauvignon blanc. 11 ITV (ENTAV)-INRA-Supagro-Viniflhor. 2006. Catalogue official des varieties de vigne cultivées en France, 2ème edition, Ministère de l’Agriculture et de la Pêche, CTPS (in French); Galet, supra.

The talks presented at the Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc at UC Davis in 2010 may be accessed on the FPS website at http://fps.ucdavis.edu/VarietyFocus.cfm.

Sauvignon in France

There are approximately 65,000 acres of Sauvignon blanc planted in France, with significant plantings in Bordeaux (15,000 acres), Sancerre (10,000 acres), the Loire Valley (9,500 acres), and in the Languedoc where the variety is used for vin de pays (almost 16,000 acres). 12 Christensen, supra, at pp. 139-141.

In the Loire Valley region, the characteristic dry and perfumed white wine varietals have been produced on limestone soils in areas such as Pouilly-sur-Loire, Sancerre, and Quincy. 13 Galet, supra. The Sauvignon variety is known in the Pouilly area by the synonym name Blanc fumé, after the "smokey" colored or gray bloom that grows on the Sauvignon grape. 14 Seely, James. 1989. The Loire Valley and its Wines, Leonard Publishing, Oxford, England. Robert Mondavi adopted the name Fumé blanc for his Sauvignon blanc wines in the 1960's to suggest the dry style of the Loire Valley wines. Loire Valley wine is made with a lower alcohol level (11%).

Sauvignon has been grown since at least the 18th century in Bordeaux in southwest France, where it is frequently blended with Sémillon. 15 Bowers, John E. and Carole P. Meredith. 1996. 'Genetic Similarities among Wine Grape Cultivars Revealed by Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) Analysis', J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 1219(4): 620-624. The Gironde départment is one of the biggest in France. In that départment, Sauvignon blanc is an ingredient in the dry wines of Graves and Entre-Deux-Mers, as well as the sweeter wines made in Sauternes. 16 Bolter, William. 1988. The White Wines of Bordeaux, Octopus Books Limited, Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, London SW3, England.

In the Sauternes area of Bordeaux, the mild, humid autumn weather encourages botrytis cinerea (la pourriture noble, or, noble rot), a fungus that starts to attack the Sauvignon blanc and Sémillon grapes around September. This action produces a must that is enriched in sugar without a significant change in acidity. The harvest process in Sauternes includes late harvesting and selective picking (passing through the vines on several occasions). 17 Olney, Richard. 1986. YQUEM, Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd., London WC2E, England; Benson, Jeffrey, and Alastair Mackenzie. 1979. Sauternes, a study of the great sweet wines of Bordeaux, Sotheby Parke Bernet Publications, Covent Garden, London WC2, England. As a result, in Sauternes, Sauvignon blended with Sémillon produces very sweet white wines with a minimum of 13% alcohol with low maximum yields. 18 Robinson, 2006, supra, at pp. 611-612; Galet, supra.

Some of the finest examples of this sweeter style of wine have been made since the 18th century at Château d'Yquem in the Sauternes region. The château property containing the vineyard and winery was acquired by the Lur-Saluces family in 1785 through marriage into the Yquem family. Amédée de Lur Saluces was the Marquis in 1884 when Charles Wetmore visited Château d'Yquem to collect French varieties for his vineyard in Livermore, California. 19 Bolter, supra; Olney, supra.

George Washington stocked the presidential cellar with a 1787 Yquem, at the recommendation of Thomas Jefferson, the Ambassador to France. The golden sweet Château d'Yquem wine made from overripe grapes affected with noble rot received the classification of Premier Cru Supérieur ("Great First Growth") in 1855. The highest price paid for any French white wine is said to be a tonneau (900 litre tun) of 1847 Château d'Yquem (Sémillon blended with Sauvignon blanc) which the Marquis de Saluces sold in 1859 for 20,000 francs to Grand Duke Constantine, brother to the Emperor of Russia, at the time of his visit to Bordeaux. The price was four times the amount paid for a French white wine until that time.

Sauvignon blanc in California

In the 1860's, Californians believed that the best white wine from Bordeaux came from the French region called Sauternes, and "Sauterne" or "Haut Sauterne" later became standard generic labels on bottles of dry or sweet wine in California. 20 Sullivan, Charles L. 1994, 2008.Napa Wine, A History from Mission Days to the Present, 2nd ed., The Wine Appreciation Guild, South San Francisco, California. The Sauvignon blanc grape came to California sometime in the second half of the 19th century. There is evidence showing that the variety was imported by J.-B. J. Portal to the Santa Clara Valley in the 1870's, and was definitely in collections in Napa (H.W. Crabb, Gustav Niebaum) and Sonoma (J.H. Drummond) in the 1870's and 1880's, when Sauvignon blanc first became popular in California. 21 Sullivan, Charles L. 1998. A Companion to California Wine, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California.

Charles Wetmore was the Chief Executive Officer to the Board of State Viticultural Commissioners for the years 1882-1884. In his 1884 Ampelography of California grapes, he dedicated only a few words to the "Sauterne type" white wines: "The noblest French and Spanish [white wine varieties] are scarcely known [in the state], which is to be regretted, as we are thereby prevented at present from reproducing the Sauterne and sherry types". He referred to the "true Sauvignon recently imported" and compared it to another California vine (which turned out not to be Sauvignon). 22 Wetmore, Charles A. 1884. ''Ampelography'', Part V, Second Annual Report of the Board of Viticultural Commissioners, pp. 108, 112, 116.

Wetmore is relevant to the grapevine collection at Foundation Plant Services because he was responsible for bringing to California from France in the early 1880's the original source material for Sauvignon blanc FPS 01 and for Sémillon FPS 02. Although the story will be told in greater detail below in connection with Sauvignon blanc 01, Wetmore travelled to Bordeaux with a letter of introduction to the owner of Château d'Yquem and returned to California with cuttings of Sauvignon blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle.


Sauvignon blanc was collected from Château d'Yquem in 1880's

By the end of the 1880's, northern California winemakers were producing Sauternes-style wine that was praised at the 1888 Viticultural Convention in San Francisco. That northern California "Sauterne" or "Haut Sauterne" was not the very sweet style characteristic of French Sauternes, because the dry climate in California is not conducive to the noble rot disease. 23 Winkler, A.J. and H.P. Olmo, ''The Sémillon'', Wines and Vines, March 1937, p. 4.

Frederic T. Bioletti researched the appropriate varieties for California in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Both he and Dr. Eugene Hilgard recognized value in the Sauvignon blanc variety at that time. Hilgard planted Sauvignon blanc at the University of California Experiment Stations by 1890. In a 1907 Experiment Station bulletin, Bioletti recommended planting Sauvignon blanc, along with Sémillon and Colombar (Sauvignon vert), in the coastal counties for fine dry wines. He noted that "Sauvignon blanc increases the quality of the wine ... but requires careful cutting, selection and pruning to give satisfactory crops". 24 Bioletti, F.T. The best wine grapes for California. California Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 193: 141-60, 1907. Bioletti considered Sauvignon blanc to be a support grape for blending with Sémillon, which he described as the characteristic Sauternes grape with true Sauternes aroma. 25 Bioletti, Frederic T. Elements of Grape Growing in California. California Agr. Extension Service, Circular 30, March 1929, Revised April 1934, at page 35; Winkler and Olmo, 1937, supra.

UC Professors Maynard Amerine and A.J. Winkler stated in a 1944 publication that Sauvignon blanc made a high quality white table wine, appropriate for Winkler regions I, II and III, either by itself as a varietal or for blending. Sauvignon blanc was recommended for high quality dry table wines in regions I and II. Amerine and Winkler noted a distinct and strong aromatic flavor and an overabundance of sugar in both cool and warm regions, and recommended the variety for naturally sweet wines in warm seasons and region III. 26 Amerine, M.A. and A.J. Winkler. 1944. ''Composition and Quality of Musts and Wines of California Grapes'', Hilgardia, vol. 15 (6): 493, 547. Amerine was quoted as saying that Sauvignon blanc is California's greatest white grape but that its strong aromas needed tempering for mass appeal. 27 Robinson, 2006, supra.

Producers such as Wente in Livermore and Beaulieu in Napa maintained quality sauternes wines in California after Prohibition. Wente's 1932 Valle de Oro Sauvignon blanc varietal wine is thought to be the first time the variety name (instead of the more generic term Sauternes) appeared on a California wine bottle. At that time, the number of true Sauvignon blanc acres planted in California remained very small. The precise acreage was not well known in part due to the fact that, until 1966, government officials grouped that variety with the acreage for the unrelated variety, Sauvignon vert. 28 Sullivan, 1998, supra. In 1945, it was estimated that there were 82 acres of "Sauvignon vert" and 15 acres of Muscadelle planted in California in the combined "other white varieties' category" for white wine grape acreage. 29 Preliminary Estimates of California Grape Plantings in 1945. California Crop and Livestock Reporting Service, Bureau of Agricultural Economics and Statistics, United States Department of Agriculture and California Department of Agriculture, December 17, 1945 (referred to herein as California Crop and Livestock Report for 1945).

Bob Steinhauer, grape grower and viticulture consultant in Napa County, was the keynote speaker at the Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc in Davis in 2010. The Variety Focus event was held on the U.C. Davis campus and co-sponsored by U.C. Extension and FPS. In his talk "Looking Backwards at Trends in Vineyard Management of Sauvignon blanc", Steinhauer described the history of Sauvignon in California beginning with 1971, when there were fewer than 2,000 acres of Sauvignon blanc grapes planted. By 1974, the plantings had increased to 3,193 acres. The variety then experienced a tremendous surge in popularity during which the Sauvignon blanc acreage expanded to 15,383 acres by 1985. Steinhauer attributed the increase in acreage to a recognition by growers that certain soils were not desirable for Cabernet Sauvignon, increased consumer demand for white wine, and a recognition that quality wine was being produced in California. 30 Steinhauer, Bob. 'Looking Backwards at Trends in Vineyard Management of Sauvignon blanc', presentation at Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc, May 6, 2010, in Davis, California.


Mondavi pioneered dry style white wine named Fumé blanc

One of the significant influences on increased consumer demand for quality wine made from the Sauvignon blanc grape was Robert Mondavi's production in 1966-67 of a white wine in the dry style of Loire Valley Sauvignon wines. Mondavi called his new wine Fumé blanc, in deference to the Blanc fumé of the Pouilly-sur-Loire region of France. Mondavi felt that the name "Sauvignon blanc" was not a good marketing name because it was difficult to pronounce and had previously been identified with sweet wines. The Fumé blanc wine was developed in part from an insight into approaching consumer acceptance of dry wines to be consumed with food. Mondavi intended to create a more distinctive, complex wine, using primarily the Sauvignon blanc grape. The new drier wine was fermented to dryness in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks and then aged in small French oak barrels. By 1968, there was a "tremendous demand" for the new Fumé blanc wine. 31 French, Susan. Unpublished paper authored by Susan French of Robert Mondavi Winery, dated January 4, 1983. The United States Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) approved Fumé blanc as a synonym for Sauvignon blanc for use on wine labels in the United States.

Sauvignon blanc acreage declined after 1985 but began a resurgence in 1997 until acreage reached 15,203 in 2015. Plantings on the North Coast constituted about 50% of the total acreage. Steinhauer attributed the increased acreage from the low in 1997 (11,380 acres) to improved quality in wine production, making Sauvignon blanc one of the "blue ribbon California varietals". Vineyard practices used to achieve vine balance and reduce the vegetative character of the grapes included: movement to warmer climates (from Winkler region I to a region II or III); increased yields to between 5 and 7 tons per acre; canopy management and leaf removal to moderate cluster exposure; irrigation and fertilizer management; and trellising and training. He also cited the blending of Sémillon into the wines as an improvement in wine quality. 32 Steinhauer, supra; Bledsoe, A.M., W.M. Kliewer, and J.J. Marois. Effects of Timing and Severity of Leaf Removal on Yield and Fruit Composition of Sauvignon blanc Grapevines. Am.J.Enol.Vitic. 39(1): 49, 1988.

Sauvignon blanc in New Zealand

Mike Trought, Director of Plant and Food Research, Marlborough Wine Research Center, Blenheim, New Zealand, spoke at Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc on "Soils, sunshine and serendipity: the success of New Zealand Sauvignon blanc".

Sauvignon blanc was introduced to New Zealand in 1968 when cuttings of a selection called "UCD 1" were imported (import permit 7911) to F. Berrysmith in Auckland from Foundation Plant Services at the University of California, Davis. A second shipment of Sauvignon blanc cuttings from FPS to the New Zealand Department of Agriculture followed in 1969. The FPS order cards from 1968 and 1969 show that the shipped cuttings were taken from a mixture of FPS vines at locations F4 v6, v7 and v8 in the foundation vineyard. Those three FPS vines originated from two separate source vines in the Wente Livermore vineyard. The distribution method sending cuttings from a mixture of FPS source vines was the practice at the time before the importance of clonal identity was fully understood. It cannot be stated with certainty which specific vine was the source of the "UCD 1" selection sent to New Zealand.


FPS order card showing 1968 shipment to New Zealand

It is believed that those 1968 and 1969 cuttings of Sauvignon blanc FPS 01 (UCD 1) formed the basis of the New Zealand Sauvignon blanc industry. Some of those imported vines tested positive for leafroll virus, but a persistent and lengthy selection process in New Zealand has kept that disease to a minimum. 33 Trought, Mike. 'Soils, sunshine and serendipity: the success of New Zealand Sauvignon blanc', presentation at Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc, May 6, 2010, in Davis, California.

Perry, Peter John and Brendon Paul Norrie. The Origins & Development of a New World Vignoble: Marlborough, New Zealand, 1970-90. Journal of Wine Research 2(2); 97-114, 1991;

Hubscher, P.V. Experiences with Sauvignon blanc in Marlborough. Proceedings of the 2nd International Cool Climate Viticultural & Oenological Symposium, Aukland, New Zealand, January 1988.
[The story below describes how Sauvignon blanc 01 has been propagated at FPS only from the leafroll-negative material since the time the leafroll virus was discovered in some of the Sauvignon blanc vines.]

Sauvignon blanc is the most important of the wines exported from New Zealand. Trought stated that New Zealand's unique climate impacts its Sauvignon blanc wine style, which began to receive international acclaim at the Sunday Times wine festival in London in 1986, where it won the first of a series of awards. The unoaked Sauvignon blanc was characterized as a "new or different style" of wine. Quality Marlborough Sauvignon blanc is composed of both good ripe aromas (e.g., passion fruit, tropical flavors) and unripe aromas (e.g., herbaceous) and acidity. 34 Trought, supra; Parr, Wendy V., J.A. Green, K. Geoffrey White, Robert Sherlock. The distinctive flavor of New Zealand Sauvignon blanc: Sensory characterization by wine professionals. Science Direct, Food Quality and Preference 18: 849-861, 2007.


Sauvignon blanc thrives in Marlborough on New Zealand's south island

The unique climate in Marlborough has been likened to that in Bordeaux, France - both have a maritime influence and a long growing season. The cool but sunny autumn allows for late ripening. Marlborough is also the same latitude as California but differs in that New Zealand is an island in the middle of an ocean. The mountain range along the backbone of the south island protects Marlborough from the strong northwesterly winds in the spring. Temperatures are moderated by the oceanic influence and rarely exceed 80 degrees F. (day) or drop below 26 degrees F. (night). The sunlight in Marlborough is intense with a high ultra-violet light component on the exposed berries, possibly influencing the flavor profile. The Marlborough vineyards are mostly located on alluvial but gravelly flood plains that provide enough drainage so that over-vigorous growth is minimized. 35 Trought, supra; Perry et al., supra.

Sauvignon blanc in South Africa

Sauvignon blanc is one of the most important white wine cultivars grown in South Africa. Phil Freese is a consultant (WineGrow) and winegrape grower in Sonoma County, California, and South Africa (Vilafonte). He spoke about Sauvignon blanc in South Africa at the Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc.

The premier grape growing region in South Africa is near Stellenbosch, which also is the home of an agricultural university with a viticulture program like that at UC Davis. Stellenbosch is located a bit inland from Cape Town on the southwest tip of the continent. The western side of South Africa on the Atlantic Coast is exposed to a cool upwelling (wind) from Antarctica, that has a dramatic effect on winegrowing. Freese likened the climate of this area to that of Santa Barbara, California. Wine is also grown in the Paarl region, which is a warmer region further inland. 36 Freese, Phil. Global Perspectives on Sauvignon blanc, South Africa, presentation at Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc, May 6, 2010, in Davis, California. The climatic regions in South Africa vary from Winkler regions II to IV. 37 Marais, J., J.J. Hunter and P.D. Haasbroek. Effect of Canopy Microclimate, Season and Region on Sauvignon blanc Grape Composition and Wine Quality. S.Afr.J.Enol.Vitic. 20(1): 19, 1999.


Sauvignon blanc important to wine industry in South Africa

White wines, driven by Chenin blanc, dominated the early days of the South African wine industry. Sauvignon blanc began to compete for popularity with Chenin blanc during 1950's and 1960's. The area planted to Sauvignon blanc in South Africa increased from 5570 acres in 1985 to 22,425 acres in 2009. 38 Freese, supra; Marais, 1999, supra.

Sauvignon blanc was so important to the wine industry in South Africa that substantial government resources were devoted to a study of this single cultivar, focusing on varietal characteristics and expression and methods for optimal wine production in South Africa. Cultivation in cool areas or against cooler slopes in warm areas, combined with manipulation of methoxypyrazines by viticulture practices related to temperature and solar radiation within the canopy, were recommended by the government study. 39 Marais, 1999, supra; Marais, J. Effect of Grape Temperature, Oxidation and Skin Contact on Sauvignon blanc Juice and Wine Composition and Wine Quality. S.Afr.J.Enol.Vitic. 19(1): 10, 1998; Marais, J. Sauvignon blanc Cultivar Aroma – A Review. S.Afr.J.Enol.Vitic. 15(2): 41, 1994.

Sauvignon blanc in Chile and Australia

Nick Goldschmidt of Goldschmidt Vineyards has experience growing grapes and making wine in Chile, Australia, New Zealand and California. He related some of those experiences at Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc.

Chile

Sauvignon blanc is dominant in Casablanca, a subregion of the Aconcagua Coast and one of the newer wine regions in Chile on the coast near Valparaiso. Casablanca is in Winkler climate region I, characterized by cool wind and fog. Goldschmidt indicated that the climate frequently mirrors that of northern California. The success of the green Sauvignon blanc wines (called vinho verde) in Chile is measured by sales in the United Kingdom, where it has achieved much acclaim. 40 Goldschmidt, Nick. Global Perspectives on Sauvignon blanc – Chile, Australia, New Zealand and California, presentation at Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc, May 6, 2010, in Davis, California.

Australia

Records on file at FPS show a shipment of Sauvignon blanc FPS 01 cuttings to the Plant Research Institute, Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Burnley Gardens, Swan Street, Burnley, Victoria, Australia, on November 23, 1987.

Goldschmidt indicated that Sauvignon blanc has been grown in the cooler sites in Australia since the 1990's after initial efforts to grow the variety in warmer areas resulted in some wines with an oily taste. 41 Robinson, 2006, supra. In 2008, Australia had 17,322 acres of Sauvignon blanc, which was still fewer acres than Chardonnay. 42 Boursiquot, 2010, supra.

Sauvignon clones at Foundation Plant Services

Sauvignon blanc and Sauvignon gris clones are available at Foundation Plant Services. Sauvignon blanc first appeared on the list of registered varieties in the California Grapevine Registration & Certification Program in 1966. The FPS collection contains plant material from California, France, Italy, Portugal and Chile.

Sauvignon blanc FPS 01 (Château d'Yquem via Livermore Vineyard)

Charles Wetmore commented in his 1884 Ampelography that it was necessary to bring plant material directly from France for California growers to have an adequate stock of the Sauternes varieties. The State Board of Viticultural Commissioners charged Wetmore with travelling to Europe to obtain those better varieties. Wetmore consulted with a Livermore Valley grower, Louis Mel, before going to France to retrieve plant material. 43 Stoll, H.F. ''How the Choice Sauterne Grapes Were Introduced into California'', Wines and Vines, October 1935.

Louis Mel was a wealthy man when he purchased the W.G. Crow Ranch south of Livermore, California, in 1884. He later renamed the ranch El Mocho and planted grapevines. Mel's French-born wife was a friend of the Marquise de Lur-Saluces, the owner of Château d'Yquem in Bordeaux. When Wetmore decided to travel to France in the early 1880's to retrieve plant material for the State Board of Viticultural Commissioners, he asked Mel for a letter of reference to the Lur-Saluces family. The letter was provided, and Wetmore visited Château d'Yquem, from whose vineyards he collected the Sauternes varieties Sauvignon blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle. 44 Mel (de Frontenac), Louis. How Livermore’s Fame for its Sauternes Wines was Established. Livermore Herald, February 24, 1933.


01 selected by Olmo at Wente's former El Mocho vineyard

At the time Wetmore took the cuttings that eventually became FPS 01, the vines at Yquem consisted of the old vines on their own roots. 45 Olney, 1986, supra. Upon his return to California, Wetmore provided some cuttings of the material to Mel, who planted them at El Mocho. In addition to collecting Sauvignon blanc 01, Wetmore brought from Yquem the material that later became Sémillon 02. 46 Mel, 1933, supra. The Sauvignon blanc and Sémillon vines did well in the Livermore Valley because of the soil and climate, which is similar to that of the Sauternes region in Bordeaux. 47 Ernest A. Wente, 'Wine Making in the Livermore Valley', an oral history conducted in 1969 by Ruth Teiser, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1971, at page 7.

Wente Vineyards in Livermore, California, acquired Louis Mel's El Mocho vineyard sometime prior to 1925. Philip Wente reports that the original Sauvignon blanc vines were still on the property when it was acquired by his family. 48 Nelson-Kluk, Susan. ''Sauvignon blanc selections at FPMS'', FPMS Grape Program Newsletter, October 2002; Stoll, 1935, supra.

Dr. Harold Olmo thoroughly explored the old California vineyards in the 1930's and 1940's to identify quality heritage clones valuable to the U.C. grapevine collection and, in turn, to California winemakers. Olmo selected Sauvignon blanc and Sémillon vines from the old El Mocho vineyard in Livermore and took them to the campus to observe them. He established a catalogue for the vines that came to Davis in those early days and assigned a unique "station" number based on the year received and the number of vine being made. That catalogue shows Sauvignon blanc cuttings from the Mel Vineyard sent by Wente Brothers in 1936-37. 49 Olmo, Harold P., ''Plant Genetics and New Grape Varieties'', Interview by Ruth Teiser, April, May and August 1973, California Wine Industry Oral History Project, Regional Oral History Office, University of California, Berkeley, page 88; Olmo Importation Records beginning in 1936, ''Grape variety introductions by the Division of Viticulture (H.P. Olmo)'' Station number 3636, Sauvignon blanc, Mel Vineyard (source), Wente Bros. (Sender), December 1936, on file at Foundation Plant Services' office. When FPS was officially created in 1958, the plant material from the Mel Vineyard was submitted for testing and inclusion in the new foundation vineyard.


Olmo's hand drawn map of El Mocho source vineyard for Sauvignon blanc 01

Sauvignon blanc 01 received heat treatment for 82 days after arrival at FPS. The selection first attained registered status in the California Grapevine Registration & Certification Program in 1967. Sauvignon blanc 01 was also known at FPS as superclone #117, a number assigned to it by Curtis Alley, then-manager of FPMS, in 1970 to feature the new heat-treated material.

The Sauvignon blanc 01 vines at FPS were re-indexed in 1979-80. One of the mother vines (FV F4 v6) tested positive for leafroll virus. Registration for the Sauvignon blanc 01 selection was suspended in 1980. All of the Sauvignon blanc 01 vines were removed from the foundation vineyard, despite the fact that two of the original foundation vines (FV F4 v 7-8) were found not to have been infected with leafroll virus. The problem traced back to 1963 when the Sauvignon blanc cultivar was undergoing heat treatment at FPS; at that time, two separate lines (from separate source vines) had been grouped together into one unit because the heat treatment period for both lines was identical. In fact, one of the lines was still affected by leafroll while the other was clean. [FPS later abandoned this practice of combining lines as heat treatment methods were perfected].

Dr. Austin Goheen recommended to CDFA that increase blocks having clean Sauvignon blanc 01 vines (from FV F4 v7-8) be reinstated in the program and that clean vines from increase block materials traceable to FV F4 v7-8 be reestablished in the foundation vineyard. Plant material propagated from vine FV F4 v8 was later located at John Gist's increase block 170 in Davis. Gist had received the vines many years before the detection of leaf roll in the separate source vines. The Gist material was reindexed again, and the results confirmed that vine FV F4 v8 was not infected with leafroll virus. 50 Goheen, A.C. Letter to D.Y. Rosenberg, California Department of Food & Agriculture, dated March 10, 1982. Sauvignon blanc 01 was reinstated in 1982 and reappeared on the list of registered foundation vines in 1987.

For most of the time from 1967 to the late 1990's, Sauvignon blanc 01 was the only registered Sauvignon blanc selection at FPS. This clone performed well in California, but it is perhaps best known as the basis of the very successful New Zealand Sauvignon blanc industry (where it is known as UCD 1).

Sauvignon blanc FPS 03/29 (Foothill Experiment Station)

One of the other Sauvignon blanc selections with longevity at FPS is the former Sauvignon blanc FPS 03, now Sauvignon blanc FPS 29. Sauvignon blanc 03/29 was initially collected from the old University of California Foothill Experiment Station in Jackson, Amador County, California.

Professor Hilgard established a small demonstration vineyard with 73 grapevines at the Central Experiment Station on the Berkeley campus in 1874-75. Hilgard's reports on the vineyard do not list the source material for the 73 grapevines. In 1890, Hilgard caused Sauvignon blanc ("Savagnin blanch") cuttings to be taken from the Central Station and planted in Block S, row 15, vines 1-10 of the Sierra Foothill Station. 51 Goheen, A.C. Letter to Susan French, Robert Mondavi Winery, dated December 9, 1982.


Hilgard planted vines in foothills for feasibility studies

The "Sierra Foothill Experiment Station" was located 4 ½ miles northeast of Jackson in Amador County, California. The Foothill Station was established to test the feasibility of grape production in the foothills area when Placer mines had begun to fail and miners turned to farming. The old Foothill Experiment Station vineyard was abandoned by the university in 1903 and then rediscovered by Austin Goheen in 1963. It is clear from documents in the FPS files that the source for what later became Sauvignon blanc 03/29 was a vine at the Foothill Station that originated from the early Berkeley station.

Although Goheen collected several Sauvignon blanc selections from the Jackson vineyard, only one exists in the FPS foundation collection today. That one (Sauvignon blanc 03/29) was initially collected under another variety name. Goheen wrote: "in what I thought was row 18 of block S, I collected a vine which the records indicated should be Herbemont. Herbemont is an American bunch grape of Professor [T.V.] Munson, an early grape breeder from Texas. The grape I obtained turned out to be Sauvignon blanc. My collection [in row 15] was apparently three rows off from the original plan, an easy mistake when one considers the abandoned state of the planting at the time of my visit." 52 Goheen, December 9, 1982, supra.

The selection first identified as Herbemont was tested for virus disease and later renamed Sauvignon blanc 03 after proper identification. FPS 03 was added to the list of registered selections in the California Grapevine R&C Program by 1973.

Leafroll virus was detected in the selection when it was being retested using the field indicator Cabernet franc, causing FPS 03 to be removed from the program in 1983. The selection then underwent microshoot tip tissue culture disease elimination therapy and was renamed Sauvignon blanc 29 upon release in 2005-2006. DNA testing at FPS in 2005 confirmed the identity of the selection as Sauvignon blanc.

Sauvignon blanc FPS 22 (Oakville)


Source was very old gnarled vine at Oakville Station. Photo by Phil Freese

Sauvignon blanc FPS 22 came to Foundation Plant Services around 1990 from a very old head-trained, gnarled and neglected vine in the southeast corner of the UC Davis Oakville field station. The vine was officially listed at the station as "Old Sauvignon blanc" in the south/west corner of South Vineyard. The vine produced small clusters and relatively small berries.

Phil Freese, former vice president of Wine Growing at Robert Mondavi Winery, encouraged FPS to preserve this selection. He suspected that the vine might have been part of a very old vineyard that originated before the UC importation programs and modern Sauvignon blanc introductions. The photo shows the advanced age of the vine, which could have been planted as early as the late 1800's.

Freese and French ampelographer Pierre Galet looked at the old gnarled vine during one of Galet's trips to California in the 1980's. At the time, Galet told Freese that the old vine was "true Sauvignon blanc". There was some confusion about Sauvignon blanc in California vineyards in the early days. It was not unusual for vines known in the state as Sauvignon vert (aka Muscadelle) to be cultivated alongside true Sauvignon blanc, which was sometimes referred to as Savagnin musqué. 53 Nelson-Kluk, supra; Galet, supra, at p. 122.

At the "Sauvignon blanc Experience" symposium in Kelseyville, Lake County, on May 4, 2018, Daniel Bosch, Senior Viticulturalist, Constellation Brands (Mondavi), revealed that a 1950 map of Mondavi's To-Kalon Vineyard, across the avenue from the Oakville Station, showed an 1890 planting of Sauvignon blanc and Sémillon in the Vineyard.

Cuttings from the old gnarled vine were collected and brought to FPS in 1990. Initial testing at FPS showed that the original material was infected with leafroll virus as well as Rupestris stem pitting virus. Microshoot tip tissue culture disease elimination therapy was performed on the selection in 1996. DNA testing at FPS verified the identity of the selection as Sauvignon blanc. Sauvignon blanc 22 was first included on the list of registered vines in the R&C Program in 2001-2002.

Sauvignon blanc FPS 23 (Howell Mountain, Napa)

Sauvignon blanc 23 was donated to the FPS public collection in 1999 by Daniel Roberts at Kendall-Jackson Vineyards. The plant material originated from the Keyes vineyard section of the Howell Mountain property. The Kendall-Jackson Sauvignon blanc vines were planted in that vineyard around 1987 or 1988. Roberts said, 'According to our winemakers, this Sauvignon was the best fruit in our program. But a large part of the quality was the soil (well drained fractured volcanic rock) and the climate (cool mountain vineyard). The earlier source is very vague ... some people said Dry Creek and others said Russian River.' 54 Nelson-Kluk, supra.


The Kendall Jackson clone orignated from the Howell Mountain vineyard

The cuttings that came from Kendall-Jackson tested negative for all viruses at FPS, so no disease-elimination treatment was necessary. Sauvignon blanc FPS 23 was placed on the R&C Program registered list in 2001-2002.

Sauvignon blanc FPS 26 (Napa County)

Sauvignon blanc FPS 26 was selected in 1997 out of a well-respected Napa County vineyard that was probably planted around 1945. The wines made from it are reported to be distinctive, with intense varietal character. Due to the vineyard's age, it is thought that the source of this selection may be other than Sauvignon blanc FPS 01. 55 Nelson-Kluk, supra. In fact, Daniel Bosch also revealed at the Sauvignon blanc Symposium in Lake County that FPS 26 was planted in the "To-Kalon High Block" at Mondavi and was an "excellent and unique" clone. The original material initially tested positive for leafroll and corky bark virus. The selection underwent microshoot tip tissue culture disease elimination therapy at FPS in 2001 and was released as Sauvignon blanc 26 in 2011.

Sauvignon blanc FPS 27 (the musqué clone)

The FPS Sauvignon "musqué clone" has been known by several names at UC Davis. The identity of the selection has been confirmed as Sauvignon blanc through DNA testing at FPS.

In the 1960's, Dr. William Hewitt, UC Davis Department of Plant Pathology, held the importation permit for bringing foreign grapes to Davis. In 1962, he imported cuttings from the Viticoles d'Arboriculture Fruitière, a viticulture station at Pont-de-la-Maye in the Gironde region of France. One group of cuttings (USDA Plant Identification number 279503) was labeled with the name Savagnin musqué. The selection was initially given the name Savagnin musqué 01 at FPS and was planted in the foundation vineyard in 1967. The plant material did not undergo treatment at FPS and was first registered in 1974 under that original name.

Savagnin musqué 01 disappeared from the registered list and was removed from the foundation vineyard in 1978. Index testing in the late 1970's revealed a stem pitting problem, which at the time disqualified plant material from the California Grapevine Registration & Certification Program. The plant material thereafter underwent heat treatment for 80 days. The selection was re-indexed between 1983 and 1986, after which it was assigned the name Savagnin musqué FPS S1.

At around this time, the correct identity of the selection came into question. Clarification of the identity of Savagnin musqué 01/S1F goes back to a T-bud and varietal trial planted in Monterey County in the 1970's by Curtis Alley, former FPMS Manager and UC Davis Viticulture Extension Specialist, and Terrel West, formerly with Arroyo Seco Vineyards. Savagnin musqué 01 from FPS was among the selections Alley took from the UCD collection to plant in the trial.

Doug Meador, President of Ventana Vineyards, was interested in using a Sauvignon blanc clone other than the "Wente clone (Sauvignon blanc 01)", which he had observed growing in Monterey but was not satisfied with its performance at his site. He took an interest in the FPS/UCD Savagnin musqué clone in the Monterey varietal trial and made experimental wine from it in 1978, which he found more desirable and non-vegetal even in the cool climate of Monterey. 56 Meador, Doug. ''Sauvignon blanc: 'a marvelous creation''', Wines & Vines, April, 1988.

Pierre Galet visited California in 1982. Suspecting that the Savagnin musqué vines in the Monterey trial were really Sauvignon blanc, Meador showed Galet shoots and clusters from that selection without telling him anything about the material. Galet identified it as Sauvignon blanc. He indicated at that time that there was no variety name Savagnin musqué in Europe. 57 Nelson-Kluk, supra. In his later book about grape varieties, Galet noted that there was true Sauvignon blanc in California, but "for some strange reason" it was called Savagnin musqué.


The musqué clone was identified by Galet in the early 1980's on a visit to California

Galet visited California again in 1985. This time, Meador again took shoots of Sauvignon 01 (Wente) and the FPS Savagnin musqué clone (sometimes referred to by growers as Sauvignon musqué) to show Galet, without providing any information on source or variety. Galet identified both as Sauvignon blanc. Coincidentally, the same day, Monterey County Farm Advisor Larry Bettiga brought samples of the same two selections to show Galet, who again identified both as Sauvignon blanc. 58 Nelson-Kluk, supra; Bettiga, Larry. Letter to Susan Nelson-Kluk, FPS Grape Program Manager, dated August 30, 2002. Shortly thereafter, Bettiga wrote a letter to FPS urging a change of name from Savagnin musqué to Sauvignon blanc for the "FPS selection currently undergoing heat treatment". 59 Bettiga, Larry. Letter from Bettiga (Viticulture Farm Advisor) to Susan Nelson-Kluk, FPMS Grape Program Manager, dated January 29, 1986.

Savagnin musqué, the selection that underwent heat treatment and reindexing between 1983 and 1986, again tested positive for RSP virus in 1987 and underwent microshoot tip tissue culture disease elimination therapy at FPS. The selection was initially renamed Savagnin musqué FPS S1F and then Sauvignon musqué S1F in 1992.

In response to an inquiry about the selection in 1989, Harold Olmo indicated that he believed the selection was Sauvignon with a more intensified aroma. He added that a number of ancient varieties were known to produce mutations to a more aromatic type and are generally called musqué. 60 Letter to Lester F. Hardy from H.P. Olmo, Professor of Viticulture, Emeritus, dated September 21, 1989; located in Olmo collection D-280, box 58: 5, Special Collections Department, Shields Library, University of California, Davis.

In 1998-1999, Carole Meredith performed a DNA analysis at UC Davis, comparing the variety known at FPS as Savagnin/Sauvignon musqué with Sauvignon blanc. She found that the vines shared the same DNA profile and concluded that Sauvignon musqué should be considered a form of the variety Sauvignon. 61 FPMS Grape Program Newsletter, October 1999, page 7.

Based on this scientific data, the name of this selection was changed in 2001 to Sauvignon blanc FPS 27. It was returned to the list of registered selections in 2002-2003.

Sauvignon blanc FPS 30 (Larry Hyde)

Sauvignon blanc FPS 30 is a California field selection of a musqué-type Sauvignon blanc. The selection was donated to the FPS public collection by Larry Hyde, a Carneros region grape grower and winemaker well known for his collection of wine grape varieties and clones. He sourced the material from Sauvignon musqué vines in Arroyo Seco in Monterey County. Hyde named the material "Sauvignon musqué" in his vineyard. FPS changed the name to Sauvignon blanc when it was released in 2007 because DNA analysis showed that the Hyde Sauvignon musqué matched the profile for Sauvignon blanc.

Sauvignon blanc 37 (Bedrock Wines)

Morgan Twain-Peterson, proprietor of Bedrock Wines and the historic Bedrock Vineyard near Glen Ellen, California, donated several heritage wine grape clones to the FPS public grapevine collection in 2017. One of the heritage clones is a Sauvignon blanc clone from a block planted in 1896 at Nervo Ranch in the Alexander appellation in Geyserville, Sonoma County, California. The Historic Vineyard Society is dedicated to preserving California's historic vineyards; their website characterizes the Nervo Ranch site as a very mixed vineyard planted on steep slopes of decomposed shale. Once testing is completed at FPS, the selection will be known as Sauvignon blanc 37.

FRENCH CLONES AT FPS

Official French clones

Jean-Michel Boursiquot described the clonal development programs in France in his talk at the Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc (2010) and at the Sauvignon blanc Experience (2018). In the French system, clonal material is subjected to extensive testing and certification; there were 20 certified Sauvignon (blanc) clones in 2018. The most important of those clones are 108, 242, 376 and 905, which represent over 55% of the acreage planted in increase blocks. Clone 108 from the Bordeaux area produces aromatic and typical wines.

The clonal development program has recently released clones 905 and 906 which originated in Bordeaux. Boursiquot describes clones 905 and 906 as having earlier maturity, good tolerance to bunch rot, very aromatic producing full and balanced wines. The goal of the future development program is to maintain clones with the highest diversity and aromatic potential. 62 Boursiquot 2010, supra.

There are five official French Sauvignon clones in the FPS foundation collection - clones 241, 376, 530, 905 and 906. The five French clones are known in the United States as Sauvignon ENTAV-INRA® 241, 376, 530, 905 and 906. Those clones are proprietary to IFV.

Generic French clones

In addition to the official French certified clones, the FPS foundation collection includes apparent French clones that were received prior to the initiation of the ENTAV-INRA® trademark program. These "apparent" clones are available in the FPS public collection, where they are considered to be "generic" French clones, whose source is "reported to be" a particular French clone number. In contrast to the ENTAV-INRA clones, generic clones are assigned an FPS selection number that is different from the reported French clone number. There is no guarantee of authenticity for generic French clones.

Many of the generic French clones came to FPS in the 1980's through the "Winegrowers' Project". The European clones were imported by Oregon State University in 1987-1989. A full description of that program can be found in the chapter detailing the history of Foundation Plant Services.

Later, FPS was able to arrange for direct shipment of clones to FPS from France as a result of this project, which was sponsored by Winegrowers of California. The managers of the OSU program made a special effort to insure that FPS received all OSU imports that were not yet available at FPS.

In the winter of 1988-89, FPS received five Sauvignon blanc clones and one Sauvignon gris clone directly from M.Jean Cordeau, INRA, Chambre d'Agriculture de la Gironde, in Aquitaine, France. The Chambre d'Agriculture is a type of semi-governmental agency that exists in France in each geographical area. The Sauvignon blanc clones were labeled 108, 316, 317, 242, and 378. The Sauvignon gris clone was 253 (later renumbered 917 in France). The generic clones all tested positive for virus at FPS and underwent microshoot tip tissue culture disease elimination therapy at FPS. They became registered in the program in 2001-2002.


Many generic French clones came to FPS from the Gironde

Generic clone 316 (Sauvignon blanc FPS 14) is a Bordeaux clone that tested positive for leafroll 2 in France, where it is one of the most popular clones due its quality - it is productive and makes high quality wines. Generic clone 317 (Sauvignon blanc FPS 18) possesses qualities similar to 316 except that its cluster weight may not be as good as 316. Generic clone 242 (Sauvignon blanc FPS 20) was evaluated in the Loire Valley and is a productive clone that makes balanced and typical wines in France when the yield is controlled. Generic clone 378 (Sauvignon blanc FPS 21 and 25) is highly productive with superior fertility but yields must be controlled to produce non-common wines. 63 Boursiquot 2010, supra; ITV (ENTAV)-INRA-Supagro-Viniflhor. 2006, supra.

Sauvignon blanc FPS 31 was donated to the FPS public collection in 1999 by a Canadian nursery. It is reported to be French clone 297, which has loose bunches and produces typical wines in France. The selection underwent microshoot tip tissue culture therapy and first appeared on the list of registered varieties in 2003.

Italian Sauvignon blanc clones

Sauvignon blanc is most successful in Italy in the far north east (Friuli) with fine fruit also being grown in Alto Adige (Trentino) and Collio (Lombardy). The FPS public collection has seven Italian clones.

Four Italian clones were imported directly to FPS in the spring of 1988 as part of the Winegrowers' Project. The four clones were sent by the Istituto Sperimentale per la Viticoltura (ISV) in Conegliano, Italy. The ISV clones are all reportedly susceptible to botrytis. 64 Calò, Antonio. Vitigni d’Italia, page 696, Edagricole-Edizioni Agricole della Calderini s.r.l., Via Emilia Levante, Bologna, Italia, 2001. (in Italian)

Three of the four clones contained the letters "CPF"' = (Centro Potenziamento Friuli) within the clonal name, indicating that they were developed in the Friuli region. Sauvignon blanc FPS 06 (formerly Sauvignon FPS 03) is clone ISV-CPF-5. Sauvignon blanc FPS 07 (formerly Sauvignon FPS 04) is clone ISV-CPF-2. Both clones underwent microshoot tip tissue culture disease elimination therapy and first appeared on the list of registered vines in 1997 and 1998, respectively. Sauvignon blanc FPS 24 is clone ISV-CPF-3, which underwent disease elimination therapy and appeared on the registered list in 2001-2002.

Another Italian clone imported in spring 1988 was ISV Conegliano 1, which became Sauvignon blanc FPS 17. The selection underwent microshoot tip tissue culture disease elimination therapy and became a registered selection in the 2001-2002 season.

Many of the finer Sauvignon blanc wines from the northeast region of Italy are made from the "extremely pungent and recognizable R3 clone" of the Rauscedo vine nursery. 65 Robinson 2006, supra, at page 613. Sauvignon blanc clone R3 was imported for the FPS public collection in 1994 from the Rauscedo Nursery in Italy. The original material tested positive for virus and underwent microshoot tip tissue culture therapy. It became available as Sauvignon blanc FPS 28 on the registered list in the 2003-2004 season.

FPS received cuttings from Rauscedo in 1994 for a second R3 selection, that ultimately became Sauvignon blanc FPS 09. FPS 09 was available for only a short time in the late 1990's through 2002. The vines were planted at Davis in a vineyard near where virus was discovered in 2002. FPS 09 plant material tested negative for all viruses except that it was positive for RSP virus. The Sauvignon blanc 09 vines, as well as the other vines, in that vineyard were all removed out of an abundance of caution. Sauvignon blanc FPS 09 is no longer available through FPS, since it is not likely that it differs significantly from Sauvignon blanc FPS 28.

In 2014, a proprietary Italian Sauvignon clone was added to the FPS foundation vineyard. VCR clone Sauvignon 389 is from Vivai Cooperativi Rauscedo in Italy and successfully completed testing to qualify for the California Registration & Certification Program in 2014 as Sauvignon blanc VCR® 389.

UC Sauvignon blanc Clonal and Trellis Trial

Glenn McGourty, Winegrowing and Plant Science Advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension in Mendocino and Lake Counties, California, manages ongoing clonal and trellis evaluations of 12 FPS Sauvignon blanc clones at Fetzer Valley Oaks Ranch in Hopland, Mendocino County, California. He provided an update on the trials at the Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc ('Improving Yield and Quality of Sauvignon blanc') and brought with him experimental wines made from the clones by Nick Dokoozlian (Gallo Winery).

Clonal Trial

McGourty first described the clonal trial that includes FPS Sauvignon blanc selections 01 (Wente/Château d'Yquem), 06 and 07 (Friuli region, Italy), 14 (generic French clone 316), 17 (Italy), 18 and 20 (generic French clones 317 and 242), 22 (Oakville heritage clone), 23 (Kendall-Jackson Howell Mountain), 25 (generic French clone 378), 26 (Napa County heritage clone), and 27 (Sauvignon musqué clone). Clusters from all twelve entries were displayed side by side and included large clusters (e.g., FPS 01, 06, 20, 23) and smaller more open clusters that are more suitable for growing in cooler areas where crop ripening may be an issue (e.g., FPS 14).


Clusters from clones in Hopland trial. Photo in final report by Tom Liden Photography, Ukiah, California

The vines were planted at Fetzer Valley Oaks Ranch in Hopland in Spring, 2004, as green growers on 101-14 rootstock using a VSP trellis system. The randomized complete block design included 5 vines per replicate and 8 replicates per entry. The vines are cane-pruned and drip irrigated. The soil is a Russian River loam, which is deep, fertile and abundant in available water during the growing season.

McGourty displayed data for three years of the trial (2007, 2008, 2009). 2008 was a very challenging year because there were 29 freezing nights plus forest fires that caused smoked taint in many vineyards in the region. The yield results for the trial, both for the total crop and yields per selection, meter of cordon and vines per acre, reflected the difficult growing season with much lower yields in 2008 than 2007 and 2009. The conclusion from the data is that the various clones show diversity in yields across the 12 entries, with the consistently highest yielders being FPS 01 and 25 and medium yielders being FPS 06, 17, 18, 20, and 26. FPS 07 and 14 tended toward the lower-yielding end of the data.

The average number of clusters per vine was 'fairly similar' but with some statistical differences. The clones with higher cluster count (e.g., FPS 01, 17, 18, 22, 25, 26) experienced good fruit set. FPS 07 and 14 were consistently smaller in cluster weight than the others. The clones with the highest Brix at harvest (target 21.5 to 23°) usually had the smallest clusters. The trial is in Winkler heat summation zone 3 (3,100 degree hours). The yield to pruning weight data (all under 4) indicate that the vines in the trial are being undercropped.

The berry weight data was surprising similar across the clones, as was the fruit pH data. In region 3, the growers expect to pick Sauvignon blanc at a fairly low acid level e.g., pH 3.2.-3.3. The pH levels at harvest in the trial were in excess of 3.6 across the clones for years 2007 and 2008 and were generally 3.4 or less for 2009. 2009 was a more representative year for the growers in the area.

McGourty summarized the results of the clonal trial. He stated that the bottom line is that there is a diversity of clones at FPS from which to choose to suit an individual grower's climate and growing conditions. There is a wide range of character to the 12 clones. FPS 01 (Wente), FPS 17 (Friuli) and FPS 20 (generic French clone 242) are good clones based on yield. 66 McGourty, Glenn. ‘Improving Yield and Quality of Sauvignon blanc’, presentation at Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc, May 6, 2010, in Davis, California. The entire presentation is accessible on videotape at UC Integrated Viticulture Online, http://iv.ucdavis.edu, in the section entitled Videotaped Seminars and Events.

Trellis Trial

The second part of the Fetzer trial involves trellising. The objectives of the trellising were to maximize yield, achieve uniform ripening, yield high quality fruit and facilitate mechanized harvesting. McGourty concluded that these goals pointed toward VSP architecture.

Five trellising methods are included in the trial: (1) VSP, spur pruned; (2) VSP, 4 canes stacked (the method used in New Zealand); (3) VSP, spur pruned, floppy - a parasol effect to shade the fruit in summer to avoid burning; (4) VSP, hybrid cane system; and (5) VSP, 4 canes parallel.

He observed that with the spur pruned vines (#1 and #3), the vine is loaded with fruit toward the center of the plant, and the clusters congregate 'fruit on fruit'. Trellis system #2 (4 canes stacked) is a little more open but the clusters are still concentrated in the same area somewhat. Trellis #4 (hybrid cane system) results in a continuous line of fruit in a single line under the canopy, which facilitates hand and mechanical harvesting. The fruit is well spaced, and doesn't end up stacked on top of itself as much as is the case with spur pruning systems.

The 4 Parallel Canes trellis (Trellis #5) displays the fruit at the same level but separates them into two parallel rows, allowing space between the rows of fruit, which facilitates ripening and improves yields. Trellis system #5 scored highest on cluster count per vine, overall yield and yield to pruning weight ratio, indicating that the vines put on more fruit than with the other systems. The fruit in system #5 had bigger clusters with larger berries. However, the Trellis #5 Brix was in the lower range because of the high crop load. 67 McGourty, supra.

McGourty explains, "It is clear that yield potential is an important factor when choosing a trellising system for Sauvignon blanc. Trellis systems that allow more buds to be retained following pruning will yield more, but it will also take longer for fruit to ripen. In areas where the growing season is shorter, it may be better to choose a trellis system that will have fewer buds following pruning and promote quicker ripening".

A final report for the trial conducted from 2009-2012 was issued in 2015. Most vines ripened fruit to 21% to 22.5% brix sugar (the goal for many Sauvignon blanc wine making programs) for most seasons. However, the researchers found significant differences in almost all aspects of the clones tested, demonstrating that Sauvignon blanc has a wide genetic base with considerable variability in phenotype. Sauvignon blanc 01 was the highest yielding clone (8.5 tons per acre) and was very productive with a large number of clusters with the greatest mass. Sauvignon blanc 20 and 25 (reported to be French clones 242 and 378) were similar to FPS 01, which was selected for yield and vine health by the university. In contrast, Sauvignon blanc 14 (reported to be French clone 316) yielded the least amount of fruit (average 4.3 tons per acre) but on average the second greatest amount of sugar. Heritage clones FPS 22 (Oakville) and 23 (Kendall Jackson) were not selected for productivity.

The researchers did not see significant differences in the bud break (last of March-first week April), but clones with smaller clusters and lower yields did ripen sooner (achieving higher sugar levels) than those with large clusters and higher yields. They also concluded that Sauvignon blanc 01 remains a useful clone that performs well. The clones with smaller clusters and lower yields ripened sooner and could be useful in cooler regions.

Significant differences in preferences between the clones in regard to favorable tastes were detected by a group of industry tasting experts in small batch experimental wines. Sauvignon blanc 01, 17, 18, 25 and 27 were "much appreciated by the tasters". No one detected a "muscat flavor" in wine made from Sauvignon blanc 27 (originally misidentified as Savagnin musqué).

The report for the Sauvignon blanc trial is entitled "Improving Yield and Quality of Sauvignon blanc", Unified Grant Management for Viticulture and Enology, FINAL REPORT, Principal Investigator Glenn McGourty, Winegrowing and Plant Science Advisor, UCCE Mendocino and Lake Counties; Cooperator David Koball, Vineyard Manager, Fetzer Vineyards, Hopland, California, March 2015.

SAUVIGNON GRIS


Sauvignon gris 03 was later renumbered to Sauvignon gris 917

Sauvignon gris is a berry-color mutation of the Sauvignon blanc variety. Although additional clones are currently undergoing testing and development, there is currently only one recommended official French clone of Sauvignon gris (917). 68 ITV (ENTAV)-INRA-Supagro-Viniflhor. 2006, supra; Galet, supra, at page 122. FPS has four Sauvignon gris selections, three of which originated in France.

Sauvignon gris FPS 01 was imported from Viña Macul in Santiago, Chile, in 1980. Lloyd Lider, then-Professor in the UC Davis Department of Viticulture & Enology, requested the variety for the Department's permanent collection. FPS records suggest that he believed that the "pink selection from a Sauvignon blanc planting" seemed to have a more intense Sauvignon aroma. The selection underwent heat treatment and was added to the collection in 1987.

Sauvignon gris FPS 03 and 04 are cuttings from separate vines of generic French clone 253, which FPS received in winter of 1988-89 from the Chambre d'Agriculture de la Gironde in Aquitaine, France, as part of the Winegrowers' Project. Sauvignon gris clone Bx 253 was evaluated in the Gironde region of France and was certified in 1987. At a later date, ENTAV changed the number to Sauvignon gris clone 917. 69 ENTAV-INRA-ENSAM-ONIVINS. Catalogue of Selected Wine Grape Varieties and Certified Clones Cultivated in France, Comité Technique Permanent de la Sélection (CTPS), Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, 1995. Both selections underwent microshoot tip tissue culture disease elimination therapy at FPS and were released to the collection in 1998-99 and 2001-2002, respectively.

Authorized French clone Sauvignon gris ENTAV-INRA® 917 was imported to Davis in 2003 and is now part of the foundation vineyard. Clone 917 is reported to have superior sugar content when compared with Sauvignon blanc and produces very aromatic dry wines and pleasant sweet wines in France. 70 ENTAV-INRA-ENSAM-ONIVINS, 1995, supra. This proprietary selection is available through ENTAV (IFV) licensees.

SÉMILLON

Sémillon is most likely native to the Sauternes region in Bordeaux and spread from there to vineyards in nearby Gironde by the 17th century. Sémillon is the principal grape in Graves and in the Sauternes region, which is located on the western slopes of the Gironde River 20 to 25 miles from the city of Bordeaux. 71 Galet 1998, supra, at page 125; Amerine and Winkler 1944, supra, at page 547-548. The great sweet wines of Sauternes are blended using Sauvignon blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle.

In his 1884 Ampelography, Charles Wetmore indicated that Sémillon was imported to California in the early 1880's by J.H. Drummond (Sonoma), the Natoma Company (Sacramento) and himself (Livermore Valley). Wetmore praised Drummond and H.W. Crabb for their rich, full-bodied Sauternes-type wines (using Sauvignon blanc and Sémillon) but acknowledged that the climate favored dry Sauternes over the unfortified sweet wines produced in Bordeaux. 72 Wetmore 1884, supra, at pages 116, 140.

The early U.C. Viticulture Professors Hilgard and Bioletti believed that Sémillon gave satisfaction in more localities through California than other white wine varieties that were tried in the 19th century. As there was no "noble rot" (Botrytis cinerea) in the state, Hilgard instead recommended that growers substitute by using only fruit of uniform maturity. 73 Winkler and Olmo 1937, supra, at page 4. In the 1907 Bulletin, Bioletti recommended coastal plantings of Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc for blended dry white wines but considered Sémillon the characteristic or primary Sauternes grape with true Sauternes aroma. 74 Bioletti 1929 rev 1934, supra; Bioletti 1907, supra. Sémillon was planted widely in the coastal areas of California from Santa Cruz to Mendocino.

U.C Davis Professors Winkler and Olmo authored a profile of "The Sémillon" in the March 1937 edition of Wines and Vines. They wrote that Semillon berries "are juicy, very sweet and have a pleasing, mild, aromatic flavor when fully ripe". They felt that Sauternes' wine quality (fullness) derived largely from the Sémillon enhanced by the action of the botrytis just prior to harvesting. 75 Winkler and Olmo 1937, supra. In their comprehensive recommendation on California wine grapes in 1963, Winkler and Amerine ultimately recommended Sémillon as one of the "better varieties" for dry white wine and as a base for sweet table wine in the warmer years. Sémillon is often blended with Sauvignon blanc in California for sweet and dry wines.

Despite the positive opinions about the cultivar, Sémillon remains a minor variety in California. In 2016, Sauvignon blanc acreage (14,752) dwarfed the Sémillon acreage (679). 76 White wine grape types, California Grape Acreage Report, 2016 Crop, California Department of Food and Agriculture in cooperation with the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, April 20, 2017.

There are ten Sémillon selections in the FPS foundation grapevine collection in 2017 and two heritage selections in progress.

Semillon 02 from Wente Vineyards

Charles Wetmore brought Sémillon cuttings to California in the early 1880's from Château d' Yquem in Bordeaux and shared them with El Mocho's owner Louis Mel, as Wetmore had shared the Sauvignon blanc cuttings. One report suggested that Sémillon vines had been grown at Château d'Yquem since the year 51 A.D. 77 Winkler and Olmo 1937, supra.


Original Sémillon 02 source vine at old El Mocho vineyard in Livermore 1937. Photo by Harold Olmo.

In the 1930's and 1940's, Harold Olmo selected multiple Sémillon clones from vines at the old El Mocho property for his clonal development program at UC Davis. 78 Documentation of Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc selections harvested from Wente vineyards in 1937-38, Olmo collection D-280, Box 77: 10, Special Collections, Shields Library, University of California, Davis. Those vines were planted at the old vineyard near the Sauvignon blanc vines that eventually produced Sauvignon blanc 01; a hand drawn map of the location of the source vines in Olmo's handwriting is contained in his files (see above in Sauvignon blanc 01). 79 Index cards created by Dr. Olmo for the grape varieties with which he was working, copies of which are in the files at FPS, indicate that he obtained the Sémillon from the “Mel vineyards in Livermore, California”. See also, letter from Harold Olmo to Harry Rosingana, President of the Alameda Winegrowers, on file in Olmo collection D-280, Box 55: 38, Special Collections, Shields Library; for hand-drawn map, see D-280, box 77: folder 10.

Olmo conducted clonal evaluation trials on multiple Sémillon clones from the El Mocho vineyard at the Department of Viticulture's University Farm Vineyard beginning in 1937. Sémillon 02 was selected by Olmo in 1958 from those old vines (Wente 1 v37) from the Wente property. The Olmo files at Shields Library at UC Davis contain 1937 photos of Sémillon vines selected by Olmo in that old vineyard.

The Sémillon selection began disease testing at FPS in 1959 and underwent heat treatment for 151 days in 1961-1962. The selection qualified for the foundation vineyard in 1964 and became Sémillon 02. FPS Manager Curtis Alley also designated the selection as "superclone #124" in his promotional effort for FPS heat-treated material.

Sémillon selections from other California vineyards

Five other Sémillon clones were selected from California vineyards in the late 1950's and early 1960's. The FPS database contains little information about the source of those selections other than the name of the vineyards.

Sémillon 03 came from Weil Ranch (selection #1) around 1963. The material did not require treatment and was planted in the foundation vineyard in 1964.

Sémillon 04 originated from a vineyard by the name of Fairbanks (row 6 vine 17) in 1959. After heat treatment for 81 days, the selection qualified for the foundation vineyard in 1965.

Sémillon 05 was selected from a California vineyard with the name Cella (r4 v9) in 1959. After 64 days of heat treatment, the selection was planted in the foundation vineyard in 1965. John Cella and his family were well-known and respected winegrowers in California in the 1950's and early 1960's. Their vineyards near Hollister contained Chardonnay, Barbera, Zinfandel and Sémillon. 80 John B. Cella II, 'The Cella Family in the California Wine Industry', an oral history conducted in 1985 by Ruth Teiser, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1986, at page 34.

Sémillon 06 and 07 were taken from two separate vine sources (r8v1 and r2v17) in the d'Agostini vineyards in 1962. The two selections were initially indexed as Sauvignon blanc. Neither selection was treated. Both were planted in the foundation vineyard in 1964 as Sémillon 06 and 07. The FPS database indicates only that the plant material was from the d'Agostini vineyards in 1962. Adam Uhlinger, a Swiss immigrant, brought grapevines with him to California in 1856 and started a vineyard near Plymouth in Amador County, California. In 1911, Enrico d'Agostini purchased that vineyard, which was ultimately sold in 1989. The d'Agostinis were prominent winemakers with facilities in Healdsburg and Amador County.

It is not possible to state with certainty that Sémillon 05, 06 and 07 were from the vineyards established by John Cella or Ernesto d'Agostini. However, U.C. Davis Viticulture & Enology faculty members regularly networked with and collected grapevine material from such prominent California winegrowers at the time the Sémillon selections were donated to FPS.

Early clonal selection by Curtis Alley in the 1970's was designed to evaluate the best Sémillon clones to preserve for distribution in the FPS collection. However, all the selections in the clonal testing program (FPS 02, 03, 04, 05, 06 and 09) were eventually added to the foundation collection.

Sémillon 12 from France

Sémillon 12 came to Foundation Plant Services in 1989 from the Chambre d'Agriculture de la Gironde in Bordeaux, France. This clone is reported to be French clone 315. The importation preceded the official French trademark program managed by IFV (formerly ENTAV). For that reason, FPS cannot guarantee the material as French clone 315. The original material for Sémillon 12 underwent microshoot tip tissue culture therapy at FPS and qualified for the foundation vineyard in 2000.

Semillon ENTAV-INRA® 173

Sémillon 173 is an official French clone authorized by IFV. The proprietary clone, initially known as ENTAV 1, originated from the Gironde region in Bordeaux and was certified in France in 1972. The 1995 ENTAV catalogue indicates that the sugar content of clone 173 is medium or superior and that the clone makes dry or sweet balanced wines. 81 ENTAV-INRA-ENSAM-ONIVINS, 1995, supra. Clone 173 was imported to FPS in 1997 and qualified for the foundation vineyard in 1999.

Sémillon 13 from Chile

This selection was imported to California in 1973 by U.C. Davis Viticulture Professor Lloyd Lider from Vina Jose Solar, Curicó, Chile (USDA P.I. #391445). The plant material was maintained for a time at the University of California Oakville Experiment Station (r6 v5) and was transferred to FPS in Davis in 2001. The selection was sponsored by California grape and wine industry members (IAB). Sémillon 13 completed testing to qualify for the foundation vineyard in 2003.

Sémillon 14 and 10/15 from Australia

The plant material that became Sémillon 10, 14 and 15 was imported from New South Wales, Australia, in 1982. The importation card at FPS indicates that the vine source was clone DA 16162 from the Cruickshank Callatoota Estate via the Viticultural Research Station at Griffith, New South Wales.

The original plant material for these selections underwent disease testing and was released from quarantine in 1993 as Sémillon 10. That original material tested positive for Rupestris stem pitting (RSP) virus. At the time (in the 1980's), vines that tested positive for the RSP virus were not eligible for registered status in the foundation vineyard. The original material was thereafter maintained in the Tyree Vineyard on the UC Davis campus, which at the time was used as a holding area for the FPS selections that tested positive for the RSP virus. The Australian Sémillon selection was distributed as "non-registered Sémillon 10".

Sémillon 10 underwent microshoot tip tissue culture therapy at FPS in 2001 to eliminate the RSP virus. Sémillon 14 and 15 were the result of two separate efforts at tissue culture therapy. Both qualified for the California Grapevine Registration & Certification Program, in 2006 and 2007 respectively and both qualified for the Russell Ranch Foundation Vineyard in 2011. A third selection that underwent tissue culture therapy in 2001 qualified for the Russell Ranch Foundation Vineyard in 2017 as Sémillon 10.1.

Sémillon 16 from Larry Hyde (in progress)

Viticulturist Larry Hyde from Carneros donated a heritage Sémillon selection to the FPS public collection in 2014. Hyde named the selection the "Congress Springs Sémillon" , referencing the origin of the plant material. Wine grapes have been grown at the old Pourroy estate in the Congress Springs District in the hills behind Saratoga, California, since the 1890's. 82 Sullivan, Charles, supra, Companion to California Wine at page 43. Hyde states that the clone is a unique Sémillon due to its small clusters because Sémillon traditionally has larger clusters.

Sémillon 17 from Bedrock Wines (in progress)

Morgan Twain-Peterson of Bedrock Wines also donated a heritage Sémillon clone to the FPS public grapevine collection in 2017. The clone is from a vine in a block planted in the 1880's in the Monte Rosso Vineyard in the Sonoma Valley appellation in Sonoma County. The website of the Historic Vineyard Society indicates that the Monte Rosso vineyard was originally planted by Emanuel Goldstein in the 1880's. Some of the original plantings, including the Sémillon, still remain on the property. Louis Martini purchased the property in 1938 and replanted some of it with Cabernet Sauvignon. The heritage Sémillon selection from Monte Rosso will be known as Sémillon 17 upon release after completion of testing.

MUSCADELLE (and Sauvignon vert)

Muscadelle (Sauvignon vert in California)

The third variety used in the blends for the sweet Sauternes of Bordeaux is Muscadelle, which adds aromatics to the blend. It is thought that the variety originated in Bordeaux.84 Although the grapes are sweet, Muscadelle does not belong to the Muscat family. DNA analysis shows that the Muscadelle from Bordeaux is an offspring of Gouais blanc, which was the parent of many well-known grape varieties including Chardonnay. 83 Robinson et al. 2012, supra, at pages 677-78. The variety is sometimes referred to as the "true Muscadelle" from France.

Charles Wetmore brought Muscadelle cuttings with him from Bordeaux in the early 1880's when he retrieved the Sauvignon blanc and Sémillon from Château d'Yquem.

The plant material that became Muscadelle FPS 02 came to FPS in 1989 from the quarantine program at Oregon State University. OSU obtained the selection from the Chambre d'Agriculture de la Gironde, France, as part of the Winegrowers' Project to bring French clones to the United States. This selection is reported to be French clone 610, which originated from Gironde in the Bordeaux region. The original material (which was designated Muscadelle 01) underwent microshoot tip tissue culture therapy at FPS in 1997 and qualified for the foundation vineyard as Muscadelle 02.

Muscadelle has been known in the past in California by the synonym name Sauvignon vert. FPS obtained a Sauvignon vert selection from the collection of the UC Davis Department of Viticulture & Enology around 1960 (block I (eye) 74 v 19). The material completed testing and was added to the foundation vineyard as Sauvignon vert 01 in 1965.

Sauvignon vert 01 and Muscadelle 01 and 02 underwent DNA testing at FPS in 2002. The DNA profiles for Sauvignon vert 01 and both Muscadelle 01 and 02 all matched the profile of the "true" Muscadelle in the French national variety collection and did not match Sauvignon blanc. 84 FPMS Grape Program Newsletter, October 2002, page 13. In 1996, the BATF (now TTB) ruled that California's Sauvignon vert was Muscadelle and must use the name Muscadelle on wine labels after 1999. 85 Grape Variety names for American Wines, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Department of the Treasury, Federal Register, vol. 61, no. 5, January 8, 1996, page 522 [RIN 1512-AA67]. FPS has not changed the name of the Sauvignon vert 01 selection in their public grapevine collection for historical reasons.

Sauvignonasse (Sauvignon vert in France)

Adding further confusion to the naming is a variety known in France as Sauvignon vert and alternatively as Sauvignonasse. 86 Robinson, J. et al. supra, WINE GRAPES at pp. 958-959. That variety was present in California in the 1880's. FPS has one selection of this variety under the Italian synonym name, Tocai Friulano.

Muscadelle du Bordelais (California)

There is one selection in the FPS foundation collection with the name Muscadelle du Bordelais 01. The FPS database indicates that Muscadelle du Bordelais 01 was obtained from the vineyard of the Department of Viticulture & Enology at U.C. Davis around 1966. The source vine was block I (eye) 68 vine 3. Old vineyard maps at FPS and index cards created by Dr. Olmo show that the material had been in the Department vineyards since at least the 1930's. The variety was used by Olmo in his grape breeding program at UC Davis as one of the female varieties, where he identified it as "Muscadelle CA".

The FPS selection Muscadelle du Bordelais 01 was identified by matching the DNA to profiles of vines used in Olmo's breeding program. The DNA of Muscadelle du Bordelais does not match Sauvignon vert 01 or Muscadelle 01 and 02. "Muscadelle du Bordelais" is a unique variety to California and is not known in France.

Conclusion

Sauvignon blanc has been a popular cultivar throughout the world. FPS is pleased to be able to offer a diverse selection of Sauvignon blanc clones and other Sauternes varieties from which growers and winemakers can choose to suit their individual climates and geographical regions.

The complete videotaped presentations with accompanying Power Point displays from the Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc can be accessed at http://fps.ucdavis.edu/VarietyFocus.cfm .

Footnotes

1 Boursiquot, Jean-Michel, "Tasty and Racy - The French Connection", Keynote Speaker presentation at the Sauvignon blanc Experience, International Symposium, Kelseyville, Lake County, California, May 4, 2018, citing OIV report from 2015.
2 Galet, Pierre. 1998. Grape Varieties and Rootstock Varieties, pp. 120-121, OENOPLURIMÉDIA sarl, Château de Chaintré, 71570 CHAINTRÉ, France.
3 Robinson, Jancis, Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz. 2012. WINE GRAPES, pp. 952-953, HarperCollins, New York.
4 Robinson, Jancis, Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz. 2012. WINE GRAPES, pp. 952-953, HarperCollins, New York.
5 Boursiquot, supra; Robinson et al., 2012, supra.
6 Bowers, J.E. and C.P. Meredith. 1997. ''The parentage of a classic wine grape, Cabernet Sauvignon'', Nature Genetics 16: 84.
7 Boursiquot, supra.
8 Boursiquot, supra; DuBourdieu, Denis, Takatoshi Tominaga, Isabelle Masneuf, Catherine Peyrot des Gachons, and Marie Laure Murat. 2006. ''The Role of Yeasts in Grape Flavor Development during Fermentation: The Example of Sauvignon blanc'', Am.J.Enol.Vitic. 57: 1.
9 Boursiquot, supra; Robinson, Jancis. 2006. The Oxford Companion to Wine, 3rd ed., Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford, England.
10 Christensen, supra, at pp. 139-141.
11 ITV (ENTAV)-INRA-Supagro-Viniflhor. 2006. Catalogue official des varieties de vigne cultivées en France, 2ème edition, Ministère de l’Agriculture et de la Pêche, CTPS (in French); Galet, supra.
12 Christensen, supra, at pp. 139-141.
13 Galet, supra.
14 Seely, James. 1989. The Loire Valley and its Wines, Leonard Publishing, Oxford, England.
15 Bowers, John E. and Carole P. Meredith. 1996. 'Genetic Similarities among Wine Grape Cultivars Revealed by Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) Analysis', J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 1219(4): 620-624.
16 Bolter, William. 1988. The White Wines of Bordeaux, Octopus Books Limited, Michelin House, 81 Fulham Road, London SW3, England.
17 Olney, Richard. 1986. YQUEM, Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd., London WC2E, England; Benson, Jeffrey, and Alastair Mackenzie. 1979. Sauternes, a study of the great sweet wines of Bordeaux, Sotheby Parke Bernet Publications, Covent Garden, London WC2, England.
18 Robinson, 2006, supra, at pp. 611-612; Galet, supra.
19 Bolter, supra; Olney, supra.
20 Sullivan, Charles L. 1994, 2008.Napa Wine, A History from Mission Days to the Present, 2nd ed., The Wine Appreciation Guild, South San Francisco, California.
21 Sullivan, Charles L. 1998. A Companion to California Wine, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California.
22 Wetmore, Charles A. 1884. ''Ampelography'', Part V, Second Annual Report of the Board of Viticultural Commissioners, pp. 108, 112, 116.
23 Winkler, A.J. and H.P. Olmo, ''The Sémillon'', Wines and Vines, March 1937, p. 4.
24 Bioletti, F.T. The best wine grapes for California. California Agr. Exp. Sta. Bul. 193: 141-60, 1907.
25 Bioletti, Frederic T. Elements of Grape Growing in California. California Agr. Extension Service, Circular 30, March 1929, Revised April 1934, at page 35; Winkler and Olmo, 1937, supra.
26 Amerine, M.A. and A.J. Winkler. 1944. ''Composition and Quality of Musts and Wines of California Grapes'', Hilgardia, vol. 15 (6): 493, 547.
27 Robinson, 2006, supra.
28 Sullivan, 1998, supra.
29 Preliminary Estimates of California Grape Plantings in 1945. California Crop and Livestock Reporting Service, Bureau of Agricultural Economics and Statistics, United States Department of Agriculture and California Department of Agriculture, December 17, 1945 (referred to herein as California Crop and Livestock Report for 1945).
30 Steinhauer, Bob. 'Looking Backwards at Trends in Vineyard Management of Sauvignon blanc', presentation at Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc, May 6, 2010, in Davis, California.
31 French, Susan. Unpublished paper authored by Susan French of Robert Mondavi Winery, dated January 4, 1983.
32 Steinhauer, supra; Bledsoe, A.M., W.M. Kliewer, and J.J. Marois. Effects of Timing and Severity of Leaf Removal on Yield and Fruit Composition of Sauvignon blanc Grapevines. Am.J.Enol.Vitic. 39(1): 49, 1988.
33 Trought, Mike. 'Soils, sunshine and serendipity: the success of New Zealand Sauvignon blanc', presentation at Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc, May 6, 2010, in Davis, California.

Perry, Peter John and Brendon Paul Norrie. The Origins & Development of a New World Vignoble: Marlborough, New Zealand, 1970-90. Journal of Wine Research 2(2); 97-114, 1991;

Hubscher, P.V. Experiences with Sauvignon blanc in Marlborough. Proceedings of the 2nd International Cool Climate Viticultural & Oenological Symposium, Aukland, New Zealand, January 1988.
34 Trought, supra; Parr, Wendy V., J.A. Green, K. Geoffrey White, Robert Sherlock. The distinctive flavor of New Zealand Sauvignon blanc: Sensory characterization by wine professionals. Science Direct, Food Quality and Preference 18: 849-861, 2007.
35 Trought, supra; Perry et al., supra.
36 Freese, Phil. Global Perspectives on Sauvignon blanc, South Africa, presentation at Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc, May 6, 2010, in Davis, California.
37 Marais, J., J.J. Hunter and P.D. Haasbroek. Effect of Canopy Microclimate, Season and Region on Sauvignon blanc Grape Composition and Wine Quality. S.Afr.J.Enol.Vitic. 20(1): 19, 1999.
38 Freese, supra; Marais, 1999, supra.
39 Marais, 1999, supra; Marais, J. Effect of Grape Temperature, Oxidation and Skin Contact on Sauvignon blanc Juice and Wine Composition and Wine Quality. S.Afr.J.Enol.Vitic. 19(1): 10, 1998; Marais, J. Sauvignon blanc Cultivar Aroma – A Review. S.Afr.J.Enol.Vitic. 15(2): 41, 1994.
40 Goldschmidt, Nick. Global Perspectives on Sauvignon blanc – Chile, Australia, New Zealand and California, presentation at Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc, May 6, 2010, in Davis, California.
41 Robinson, 2006, supra.
42 Boursiquot, 2010, supra.
43 Stoll, H.F. ''How the Choice Sauterne Grapes Were Introduced into California'', Wines and Vines, October 1935.
44 Mel (de Frontenac), Louis. How Livermore’s Fame for its Sauternes Wines was Established. Livermore Herald, February 24, 1933.
45 Olney, 1986, supra.
46 Mel, 1933, supra.
47 Ernest A. Wente, 'Wine Making in the Livermore Valley', an oral history conducted in 1969 by Ruth Teiser, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1971, at page 7.
48 Nelson-Kluk, Susan. ''Sauvignon blanc selections at FPMS'', FPMS Grape Program Newsletter, October 2002; Stoll, 1935, supra.
49 Olmo, Harold P., ''Plant Genetics and New Grape Varieties'', Interview by Ruth Teiser, April, May and August 1973, California Wine Industry Oral History Project, Regional Oral History Office, University of California, Berkeley, page 88; Olmo Importation Records beginning in 1936, ''Grape variety introductions by the Division of Viticulture (H.P. Olmo)'' Station number 3636, Sauvignon blanc, Mel Vineyard (source), Wente Bros. (Sender), December 1936, on file at Foundation Plant Services' office.
50 Goheen, A.C. Letter to D.Y. Rosenberg, California Department of Food & Agriculture, dated March 10, 1982.
51 Goheen, A.C. Letter to Susan French, Robert Mondavi Winery, dated December 9, 1982.
52 Goheen, December 9, 1982, supra.
53 Nelson-Kluk, supra; Galet, supra, at p. 122.
54 Nelson-Kluk, supra.
55 Nelson-Kluk, supra.
56 Meador, Doug. ''Sauvignon blanc: 'a marvelous creation''', Wines & Vines, April, 1988.
57 Nelson-Kluk, supra.
58 Nelson-Kluk, supra; Bettiga, Larry. Letter to Susan Nelson-Kluk, FPS Grape Program Manager, dated August 30, 2002.
59 Bettiga, Larry. Letter from Bettiga (Viticulture Farm Advisor) to Susan Nelson-Kluk, FPMS Grape Program Manager, dated January 29, 1986.
60 Letter to Lester F. Hardy from H.P. Olmo, Professor of Viticulture, Emeritus, dated September 21, 1989; located in Olmo collection D-280, box 58: 5, Special Collections Department, Shields Library, University of California, Davis.
61 FPMS Grape Program Newsletter, October 1999, page 7.
62 Boursiquot 2010, supra.
63 Boursiquot 2010, supra; ITV (ENTAV)-INRA-Supagro-Viniflhor. 2006, supra.
64 Calò, Antonio. Vitigni d’Italia, page 696, Edagricole-Edizioni Agricole della Calderini s.r.l., Via Emilia Levante, Bologna, Italia, 2001. (in Italian)
65 Robinson 2006, supra, at page 613.
66 McGourty, Glenn. ‘Improving Yield and Quality of Sauvignon blanc’, presentation at Variety Focus: Sauvignon blanc, May 6, 2010, in Davis, California. The entire presentation is accessible on videotape at UC Integrated Viticulture Online, http://iv.ucdavis.edu, in the section entitled Videotaped Seminars and Events.
67 McGourty, supra.
68 ITV (ENTAV)-INRA-Supagro-Viniflhor. 2006, supra; Galet, supra, at page 122.
69 ENTAV-INRA-ENSAM-ONIVINS. Catalogue of Selected Wine Grape Varieties and Certified Clones Cultivated in France, Comité Technique Permanent de la Sélection (CTPS), Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, 1995.
70 ENTAV-INRA-ENSAM-ONIVINS, 1995, supra.
71 Galet 1998, supra, at page 125; Amerine and Winkler 1944, supra, at page 547-548.
72 Wetmore 1884, supra, at pages 116, 140.
73 Winkler and Olmo 1937, supra, at page 4.
74 Bioletti 1929 rev 1934, supra; Bioletti 1907, supra.
75 Winkler and Olmo 1937, supra.
76 White wine grape types, California Grape Acreage Report, 2016 Crop, California Department of Food and Agriculture in cooperation with the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service, April 20, 2017.
77 Winkler and Olmo 1937, supra.
78 Documentation of Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc selections harvested from Wente vineyards in 1937-38, Olmo collection D-280, Box 77: 10, Special Collections, Shields Library, University of California, Davis.
79 Index cards created by Dr. Olmo for the grape varieties with which he was working, copies of which are in the files at FPS, indicate that he obtained the Sémillon from the “Mel vineyards in Livermore, California”. See also, letter from Harold Olmo to Harry Rosingana, President of the Alameda Winegrowers, on file in Olmo collection D-280, Box 55: 38, Special Collections, Shields Library; for hand-drawn map, see D-280, box 77: folder 10.
80 John B. Cella II, 'The Cella Family in the California Wine Industry', an oral history conducted in 1985 by Ruth Teiser, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 1986, at page 34.
81 ENTAV-INRA-ENSAM-ONIVINS, 1995, supra.
82 Sullivan, Charles, supra, Companion to California Wine at page 43.
83 Robinson et al. 2012, supra, at pages 677-78.
84 FPMS Grape Program Newsletter, October 2002, page 13.
85 Grape Variety names for American Wines, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Department of the Treasury, Federal Register, vol. 61, no. 5, January 8, 1996, page 522 [RIN 1512-AA67].
86 Robinson, J. et al. supra, WINE GRAPES at pp. 958-959.

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