Biggest Vine Collection to Be Frozen So They Can Be Revived in the Future

View to the village of Saint-Émilion amidst the vines. 

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vines-france-frozen

View to the village of Saint-Émilion amidst the vines. 

© Shutterstock

The world's largest collection of vines is to be frozen in France in the hope that long-lost grape varieties could be revived in the future if they fall prey to climate change. The Times newspaper reported vines are among the plants due to be placed in a newly opened €10.4 million/US$12.1 million low temperature conservation centre.

There, tissues from the vines will be preserved at -196°C in liquid nitrogen in a wine sector cryobank, it said. The samples will be taken from a biological centre called Domaine de Vassa that houses vines that have been collected since the 1870s.

Safeguarding vine heritage

Experts hope in the event of certain grapes falling victim to climate change, the frozen vines could be tested to see if they are more resistant or better able to grow in rising temperatures. "Some of the ancient varieties may give a lower yield but they might be more flexible and more resistant to insects and pathogens," Philippe Chatelet, a researcher at the French National Institute for Research into Agriculture, Food and the Environment (Inrae) told The Times.

Global warming is a big concern in many wine regions such as Bordeaux, where in recent years moves have been underway to change wine regulations and plantings.

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