Grapevine breeding

By December 4th, 2015

CSIRO maintains a major grapevine germplasm collection of many varieties and species at its Koorlong site near Mildura in the border region of New South Wales and Victoria.

This collection underpins a grapevine breeding program that began in the 1960s.

Although breeding for improved varieties of dried and table grapes is being phased out, breeding for novel, disease-resistant wine grapes continues.

We are also conducting a rootstock breeding program with the aim of developing improved genotypes suited to Australian conditions for viticulture.

Photo of green grapes on vine

Wine grapes

Dried grapes

Most of the Australian dried-grape industry relies on CSIRO-selected clones and varieties. These include:

  • standard Sultana H5 clone
  • rain-tolerant currant variety Carina
  • rain-tolerant sultana types, Sunmuscat and Sunglo (both joint developments with the United States Department of Agriculture)
  • disease-resistant currant variety Black Gem*, ideal for organic production.

Table grapes

CSIRO’s table grape breeding program has released:

  • Marroo seedless, a large seedless black grape
  • M 51-18*, an early ripening seeded, muscat flavoured grape
  • M 13-01*, a seedless black grape with tapered berries and vivid green bunch stems.
  • M 44-14*, a seedless white grape with large yields of high quality cream-yellow, crisp-textured berries.

*’Black Gem’, ‘M 51-18’, ‘M 13-01′ and M 44-14’ are grape varieties protected under Australian Plant Breeders Rights legislation (UPOV compliant legislation).