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BTA exclusive: Bulgarian Scientists Develop Grape Vine Varieties with Enhanced Resilience

VARNA, ON THE BLACK SEA – Bulgarian scientists are working to develop a rich selection of grape vine varieties with increased resistance to stress factors, Prof Miroslav Ivanov of the Plant Breeding Department at the Technical University in Varna, who also works at the Institute of Viticulture and Enology in Pleven, told BTA. On Friday, Ivanov attended a vine pruning at the University. In his words, their selection provides potential for the sector’s future development. The focus of the scientists’ work is to improve the resistance of grape vine varieties against both low winter temperatures and major diseases.

Dessert and wine grape varieties have already been created, as well as varieties suitable for organic farming, Ivanov added. Organic farming cannot be done with unsuitable varieties and without prior knowledge. A problem in the industry is that not enough control is exercised, and requirements are not always met, he explained.

According to the expert, Bulgarian specialists are working on crossing interspecific hybrids with European grape vines. “We have created a gene pool of varieties that should be given priority in the future,” he said, stressing that Bulgarian scientists do not use GMOs, but use classical crossbreeding methods – a slower and more difficult process, but without any risks to humans.