Named the Innogrape Laboratory, this unique virtual laboratory will enable 33 French and Chinese research professors to share their knowledge and technologies on viticultural research, according to the French vine and wine media Vitisphere.
The laboratory is a partnership among the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the National Institute for Agronomic Research (INRA) of University of Bordeaux and the National School of Agricultural Engineering in Bordeaux.
Unveiled by INRA's CEO Philippe Mauguin during a visit to China last month, the laboratory will focus on researching varietal creation and berry maturation mechanisms against a backdrop of climate change over a period of five years.
It is understood that 23 research professors in Bordeaux and 10 research professors in Beijing will participate in the project.
Dr. Zhanwu Dai, research manager for the eco-physiology and functional genomics of vines at INRA, said that in terms of new grape varieties and rootstocks, it was about identifying the best parents, obtaining hybrids through crossing, and making seeds germinate
“The issue is about sharing our expertise to select vines that are resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses like downy mildew, powdery mildew, phylloxera, drought, extreme temperatures and so on,” he added.
The annual budget of this project is currently €40,000 and is equally funded by the French and Chinese institutes. The research consortium also aims to secure access to further international funds and grants.
(the writer can be contacted at: DavidMa@thewinechronicle.com)