Study of the intra-varietal diversity in 'Tempranillo Tinto' clones in the D.O.Ca. Rioja.

Recently, a research conducted by ICVV researchers has been published in the Journal Scientia Horticulturae under the title "Evaluation of the intra-varietal diversity of ‘Tempranillo Tinto’ in clones prospected in the demarcated winemaking region of Rioja (Spain)".

This work offers a detailed analysis of the intra-varietal diversity present in the 'Tempranillo Tinto' grape variety in the D.O.Ca. Rioja. In a context where traditional viticulture faces significant challenges due to climate change, there is a need to find alternative solutions to guarantee the sustainability of the wine sector. Regarding the study of plant genetic resources, and due to restrictions that limit the introduction of new varieties in regions such as the D.O.Ca. Rioja, the exploration and exploitation of clonal diversity become highly relevant strategies to adapt to new environmental conditions.

The study focused on the study and characterization of 30 clones of 'Tempranillo Tinto' selected from an initial collection of 729 clones preserved in the germplasm bank located at the Finca Institucional La Grajera. The 30 clones were studied for 3 consecutive years and evaluated for 27 traits related to their phenological cycle, agronomic, productive and oenological properties. Additionally, three commercial clones were included in the study as a reference. The results showed the existence of wide intra-varietal diversity among the clones analyzed for the parameters studied, identifying four different groups of clones with significant phenotypic differences. For example, one of the groups was characterized by late ripening and long periods between veraison and harvest, making them potentially suitable to face the new environmental conditions derived from climate change.

The work highlights that the study and exploitation of clonal diversity can be a tool of great interest to adapt current viticulture to new climatic conditions, especially in those wine regions where the replacement of vine varieties is difficult due to cultural or administrative restrictions. Furthermore, it emphasizes the importance of preserving and studying the intra-varietal diversity existing in old vineyards in regions such as the D.O.Ca. Rioja, as they constitute an important reservoir of intra-varietal diversity for traditional vine varieties such as 'Tempranillo Tinto'. This diversity can lead to the selection of new clones with useful characteristics to address current and future viticultural challenges.

This work has been co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Autonomous Community of La Rioja within the framework of the ERDF Operational Programs 2014-2020 and 2021-2027 (projects: PR 04-20; PR-05-21 and PR-03–22).

The work has been published in Open Access mode in the journal Scientia Horticulturae: Javier Portu, Elisa Baroja, Luis Rivacoba, Juana Martínez, Sergio Ibáñez, Javier Tello. (2024). Evaluation of the intra-varietal diversity of ‘Tempranillo Tinto’ clones prospected in the demarcated winemaking region of Rioja (Spain). Scientia Hortícolae, 329:113015.