Johanniter is a white grape, grown in small quantities in Italy, Germany and Switzerland. Wine derived from this unique grape features floral notes of wisteria on the nose. On the palate, it delivers citrus hints and distinctive tropical notes, such as melon and pineapple. The grape is known as a “PIWI” grape. PIWI is a German abbreviation for Pilzwiderstandfähig and stands for fungus-resistant grape varieties. These were created by crossing European grape varieties and American fungus resistant varietals. Most of them still are known as hybrids or interspecific varietals and were first used in France from 1880 to 1935. The aim was to combine the good resistance to diseases and phylloxera of the American grape varieties with the high quality of European varietals.
From PIWI International: “The fungus-resistant vines are originally made Crossroads between Vitis vinifera and other species of the genus Vitis (resistant to fungal disease). The excellent properties for high wine quality of the noble vines can be combined with the resistance from the American vines. Specific cultivation and selection aim at developing new innovative grape varieties that make winegrowing more sustainable and meet the future challenges in the vineyard.
PIWIS are not the product of trans- or cis-gener manipulation. They are obtained by means of classic cross-breeding by artificially pollinating the castrated flowers of a “mother variety” with the pollen of a “father variety”. The seeds of the resulting berries contain the “newly combined” genetic information. These seeds are sown, seedlings are created – new plants. The advantage is the minimum number of treatments carried out and the consequent environmental impact for their cultivation.”
The Johanniter variety is featured in Pizzolato Hoopa Pet Nat. For Pizzolato, the PIWI grapes lend themselves perfectly to certified organic vineyard management, using far fewer organic treatments for fungus, such as copper, which is often necessary in the Veneto region. The region has a warm climate with moderate rainfall, but the vineyards are mostly on a lower, flatter plain, and often experience rolling fog, increasing the vineyard’s risk of mildew, rot, and fungal diseases. The fungus-resistant PIWI grapes are well-suited for these climatic challenges of the region.
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