Chapter 9.1.2. General View on White Grapes Varieties

Bacchus (grape)

The Bacchus is a white wine grape that was created by viticulturalist Peter Morio at the Geilweilerhof Institute for Grape Breeding in the Palatinate in 1933. He crossed a Silvaner & Riesling cross with Müller-Thurgau. Bacchus received varietal protection and was released for general cultivation in 1972. Its name is taken from Roman name of the Greek wine god Dionysus.

Bacchus can reach high must weights, and has no high requirement for sites it can be planted. It can therefore be used where e.g. Riesling does not ripen reliably. It ripens early, about the same time as Müller-Thurgau, and has a similar high productivity as that variety.

Bacchus wines can have powerful flavours and character, which have even been described as “exuberant”, but only if it is allowed to ripen fully. It is however low in acidity, which does not always make it very well suited for varietal wines under typical German growing conditions. Among the new breeds, it is considered to give less elegant wines than Kerner. Therefore, Bacchus is often used for blending into Müller-Thurgau, to give the latter more flavour. Within Germany, Franconia is considered as the source of some of the more successful varietal Bacchus wines.

Bacchus is also grown in England. Under British growing conditions, where the colder climate means that a higher acidity is retained and where only lower yields are possible, Bacchus can give varietal wines of reasonable quality, somewhat in a Sauvignon Blanc-like style.

German plantations peaked in the 1990 at around 3,500 hectares (8,600 acres) of which more than half were in Rheinhessen, where it was popular to use in QbA blends. Plantations have since decreased and in 2006 there were 2,113 hectares (5,220 acres) of Bacchus left in Germany or 2.1% of the total vineyard surface.

Baco Blanc

Baco Blanc or Baco 22A is a French-American hybrid grape variety. It is a cross of Folle Blanche and the Noah grape, created in the 1898 by the grape breeder François Baco. Folle Blanche is its Vitis vinifera parent. Noah, its other parent, is itself a cross of Vitis labrusca and Vitis riparia.

Baco Blanc was developed to produce some of the same flavors as Folle Blanche but without the susceptibility to American grape disease and phylloxera. In the 20th century it was widely planted in the Gascony region for uses in brandy production. Both Armagnac and Cognac (from the Charentes and Charente-Maritime districts north of Gascony) are brandies made from white grapes – Ugni Blanc, Folle Blanche and Colombard – but only Armagnac was permitted under French regulations to use Baco Blanc and until the late 1970s, Baco Blanc was the primary grape of Armagnac.

Following the grape’s decline in the late 20th century, there was some speculation about the future of the variety, especially after a 1992 Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO) decree that all vines of Baco Blanc were to be uprooted by 2010. However, advocates for the grape variety and its historical role in Armagnac were able to persuade French authorities to continue permitting its use in the distilled wines from the Armagnac region.

Baco Blanc was bred in 1898 by French grape breeder François Baco from a crossing of the Vitis vinifera Folle Blanche, which was having difficulties taking to the rootstock grafting after the phylloxera epidemic of the mid to late 19th century, and the American hybrid grape Noah (itself a previously crossing of an unknown Vitis labrusca species and the Vitis riparia grape Taylor. Four years earlier François Baco also use Folle Blanche and an unknown species of Vitis riparia to produce a dark skin version of Baco Blanc known as Baco Noir.

Prior to Baco Noir’s development, Folle Blanche was the primarily grape variety for the eau de vie grape brandies produced in the Cognac and Armagnac regions of France. But, in addition to its difficulties with the new American rootstock, the grape was highly susceptible to several grape diseases including grey rot in the Cognac region and black rot in Armagnac. The aim of François Baco was to produce a grape that had many of the neutral flavors and characteristics which made Folle Blanche favorable for distillation but without the susceptibility that had plagued Folle Blanche growers. While growers in the Cognac region began adopting Ugni Blanc (the same grape known in Italy as Trebbiano), growers in the Armagnac region began to enthusiastically plant Baco’s new white hybrid.

For most of the 20th century, Baco Blanc was the primary grape of the Armagnac region. Its reached it peak in the 1970s when more than 85% of all plantings in the area were Baco Blanc, accounting for more than 10,700 hectares (26,750 acres). However, as Ugni Blanc began gaining more of a foothold in other Gascon wine regions, the plantings of Baco Blanc began to gradually decline. By the end of the 20th century, Ugni Blanc had eclipsed Baco Blanc as the most widely planted grape in Armagnac.

This decline lead to some speculation about the future of the variety, especially after a 1992 (INAO) degree that all vines of Baco Blanc were to be uprooted by 2010. However, advocates for the grape variety and its historical role in Armagnac were able to persuade French authorities to continue permitting its use in the distilled wines from the Armagnac region. While far from its early to mid-20th century prominence, the variety continues to play an important role in the Armagnac region and, as of 2005, the Bureau National Interprofessionnel de L’Armagnac (BNIA) reported that the grape variety was still used in the production of nearly half of all Armagnac.


Rkatsiteli (Pronounced “rkah-tsee-tely”; Georgian რქაწითელი; literally “red stem”) is a kind of grape used to produce white wine.

This ancient vinifera originates in Georgia and is one of the oldest grape varieties. In Georgia, clay vessels were found with seeds of Rkatsiteli grapes which date back to 3000 BC.[citation needed]

Rkatsiteli was popular in the Soviet Union prior to its fall and at one point was responsible for more the 18% of all Soviet wine production.[citation needed] There it was used to make everything from table wine to liqueurs to Sherry-like fortified wine. Prior to President Gorbachev‘s vine pull scheme, it was possibly the world’s most widely planted white wine grape.

In Kakheti it was particularly known for its sweet dessert wines fashioned in the same manner as port wine. There were many attempts to try and create a sparkling wine from the grape but its naturally high alcohol levels prevented it from being much of a success. It is still preferred in Russia.

Baroque (grape)

Baroque (often spelled Barroque) is a white French wine grape planted primarily in South West France around the Tursan region. It can make full bodied wines with nutty flavors. Ampelographers suspect that the grape maybe a crossing of Folle Blanche (which it shares the synonym Bordeleza zuria with) and Sauvignon blanc.

While the exact origins of the grape are not clear, ampelographers believe it may be descended from a crossing of the French white grapes Folle Blanche and Sauvignon blanc. While it was once grown throughout southwest France, today its plantings are primarily isolated to the Landes department which contains Vin délimité de qualité supérieure (VDQS) wine region of Tursan. In the 20th century, Baroque gained favor among vine growers because of its resistance to powdery mildew which decimated many other grape varieties. However, by the 1980s the grape was virtually on the edge of extinction because of the ripping out of vineyards in the Landes and converting the land to other agricultural and development enterprises.[3]

Wine historian and expert Jancis Robinson notes that Baroque was saved from extinction by the efforts of chef Michel Guérard, owner of the 3 star Michelin rated restaurant Les Prés d’Eugénie in Eugénie-les-Bains. At the Tursan wine estate owned by himself and his wife, Guérard revived interest in the variety by producing an aromatic full-bodied Baroque-based that critics have described as “characterful”.


Biancolella is a white Italian wine grape variety grown primarily in the Campania region of southern Italy. It is a permitted grape in a few Campanian Denominazione di origine controllatas (DOCs) but is used mostly as a blending variety.


Bical is a white Portuguese wine grape planted primarily in the Bairrada region. It can produce high acid wines and is often used in sparkling wine production.


Bogdanuša is a white grape variety, which is grown on the Croatian island of Hvar, where it originated on the Stari Grad Plain. Wines from this grape tend to be dry with a green-yellow to golden color and from 12% alcohol on up.[2]

Premium quality Bogdanuša wines are produced by Dalmacijavino, and Plančić Winery.

Bombino Bianco

Bombino Bianco is a white Italian wine grape variety planted primarily along Italy’s Adriatic coast line, most notably in Apulia. The vine is prone to high yields.

Borba Blanca

Borba Blanca is a white Spanish wine grape variety grown primarily in the Extremadura region of south central Spain. According to wine expert Jancis Robinson, the grape is of average to low quality and notable mostly for the high productivity and yields of the vine.

Bosco (grape)

Bosco is a white Italian wine grape variety that is grown predominately in the Liguria region of northwest Italy. It is a permitted variety in the Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) wine of Cinque Terre where it is often the primary component of the blend. In winemaking, care must be taken in handling due to Bosco’s propensity to oxidize easily, creating potential wine faults.


Bourboulenc is a white wine grape variety primarily grown in southern France. The variety is found in the regions Southern Rhône, Provence and Languedoc.

Bourboulenc is a late-ripening grape variety with tight bunches of large grapes, that can be prone to rot in some years. Well-made Bourboulenc wine can have good acidity level, body, penetrating character, citrus aromas and a hint of smoke, but if the grapes are picked too soon the wines have a thin, neutral taste.

There were about 800 hectares (2,000 acres) of Bourboulenc in France around the year 2000.

Varietal Bourboulenc is rare, but is allowed into a number of white wine appellations of southern France. Only in white La Clape, a geographical designation that may be used in conjunction with the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) Coteaux du Languedoc, is Bourboulec the dominant grape variety. White La Clape must contain a minimum of 40% Bourboulenc.

Bouvier (grape)

Bouvier is a white wine grape and table grape planted primarily in Central Europe-most notably Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia where it is also known as Ranina.

In Austria, where it is grown on 365 hectares (900 acres), Bouvier is primarily used for Sturm (seasonally produced semi-fermented grape must) and young-bottled wines.

Bouvier ripens very early, is resistant to frost, and gives a rather low yield. Its wines are golden yellow, mild in taste and have a Muscat aroma.

Winery owner Clotar Bouvier (1853-1930) discovered a vine of this variety in his vineyard in Herzogburg, Ober-Radkersburg (in today’s Slovenia) in the year 1900. He used this vine as a basis for breeding, and after several years of selection started to sell it, after which it became widely spread over Austria-Hungary. DNA profiling has revealed Bouvier to be a crossing (probably a natural one) of a Pinot variety (which could be Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris or Pinot Blanc) and another, unidentified variety.


Breidecker is white variety of grape. It is a hybrid grape, an interspecific crossing (Riesling × Silvaner) × Seibel 7053. It can be used to make a German style light white wine with apple and pear flavors. “This cultivar was released by the Geisenheim Research Station, Germany, in 1962. Has the technical name GM 4894. It was derived from a Müller-Thurgau cross with the Chancellor (a.k.a Seibel 7053) hybrid cultivar and can currently be found in limited areas on the south island of New Zealand where it is mainly used for producing somewhat neutral varietal and blend white wines. Resistant to bunch rot and downy mildew fungus diseases. Breidecker was named after Heinrich Breidecker, one of New Zealand pioneer grape growers.”

Boal (grape)

Boal is a name given to several varieties of grape cultivated in Portugal, notably in the production of medium-rich fortified wines from Madeira Island. On many wine labels of Madeira wine, the variety’s name is anglicized as Bual. Madeira from Bual is typically less sweet than that from Malmsey, but more sweet than Sercial or Verdelho. The vines are also common in Portugal and Spain, where the fruit is used in the same way for fortified wines.


Bukettraube (/bu-ket-trau-be/) is a variety of white grape of German origin. Sebastian Englerth is supposed to have created it in Randersacker in the 19th century, although an Alsatian origin has also been claimed. It may also be known as Bouquettraube, although this has also been argued to be a different variety. Bukettraube is a cross of Silvaner and Schiava Grossa.

Burger (grape)

Burger is a white wine grape of French origin, today planted primarily in the Central Valley. Its French name is Monbadon.

In the early history of Californian wine, Burger was a majority variety but its influence has steadily decreased and now it is used primarily in bulk jug wine production.

Published on November 8, 2011 at 10:26  Leave a Comment  

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