Institute for Grapevine Breeding Geilweilerhof

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Institute for Grapevine Breeding Geilweilerhof
Geilweilerhof during the almond blossom

Geilweilerhof during the almond blossom

place Siebeldingen
Client Eusserthal Monastery
Construction year before 1184
Coordinates 49 ° 13 '4.8 "  N , 8 ° 2' 45.4"  E Coordinates: 49 ° 13 '4.8 "  N , 8 ° 2' 45.4"  E
Institute for Vine Breeding Geilweilerhof (Rhineland-Palatinate)
Institute for Grapevine Breeding Geilweilerhof
Institute housed in an estate

The Geilweilerhof Institute for Vine Breeding is one of 15 institutes of the Julius Kühn Institute (JKI) - Federal Research Institute for Cultivated Plants . It is located in the Geilweilerhof estate , which belongs to Siebeldingen near Landau in the Palatinate .

The main task of the institute is the breeding of new grape varieties adapted to the German climate with resistance to pests and other stress factors while maintaining high wine quality. The fungus-resistant new breeds Calandro , Calardis blanc Felicia , Orion , Phoenix , Reberger , Regent , Sirius , Staufer and Villaris originate from this breeding work . The Regent variety is the most successful fungus-resistant new breed to date with a cultivation area of ​​2065 hectares in Germany (as of 2011). Traditional varieties without powdery mildew resistance are the white grape varieties Morio-Muscat , Bacchus and Optima as well as the red variety Domina .

The development of new grape varieties is carried out through classic cross-breeding using molecular markers ( precision breeding ). This allows a targeted selection of the crossbreed parents, an early selection in the breeding material and the combination of several resistances. This speeds up the lengthy breeding process significantly. This is made possible through genetic mapping work and the development of new, trait-correlating markers with a focus on resistance and wine quality. Markers for various resistances against the main pests of the vine ( powdery mildew , downy mildew and phylloxera ) have been published from the work of the institute and are already used in the breeding process.

The institute maintains the most extensive German grape range and manages several databases on grape varieties in order to preserve and evaluate the genetic diversity of the grapevine . This information is made available to the public via the specialist information center . A freely accessible vine educational path with informative display boards provides interested parties with interesting information about the vine and the tasks and ongoing work of the institute.

A test wine cellar and a farm wine cellar are available to the institute for viticulture. The test wine cellar builds wines in small volumes, sometimes from single vines, while the economic wine cellar processes the grapes from the main tests. This enables a qualitative check of the wines of new varieties in the various stages of development. The products of the economic wine cellar can be purchased in the institute's own wine shop, which offers those interested in the field and end consumers the opportunity to try new varieties and breeding lines.

When the JKI was founded, the viticulture research department of the Institute for Plant Protection in Fruit Growing and Viticulture was relocated from Bernkastel-Kues to the Geilweilerhof.

History of the Geilweilerhof

The Geilweilerhof estate was formerly owned by the Eusserthal monastery and is now a listed building . The Geilweilerhof was first mentioned in a document in 1184. During the Palatinate Peasants' War the monastery property was burned down and came into the hands of the Electorate of the Palatinate . When the Palatinate was under French administration after the French Revolution , the Geilweilerhof became a national property until it came into private ownership through auction . After several changes of ownership, August Ludowici , brick manufacturer , acquired the Geilweilerhof in 1895 and expanded it into a model business, with the striking tower also being built. Since his three sons had died in the war, August Ludowici bequeathed the Geilweilerhof to the district government of the Palatinate in 1925 with the condition that a vine growing and research station be set up there.

History of the Institute for Vine Breeding

Genebank for vines in Geilweilerhof

The institute emerged from two research institutions that were founded independently in 1926. On the one hand from the branch grapevine breeding of the Bavarian State Institute for Viticulture, Fruit Growing and Horticulture on the Geilweilerhof by Agriculture Councilor Peter Morio , on the other hand from the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Breeding Research in Müncheberg under the direction of Erwin Bauer. In 1926 Peter Morio began to plant his cross-obtained seedlings at Geilweilerhof. The intraspecific new breeds Bacchus, Domina, Morio-Muskat and Optima emerged from his work. The majority of his seedlings, however, formed interspecific crosses for resistance breeding. However, he had to stop this work in 1937 with the establishment of "Reichsrebenzüchtung", in which resistance breeding was concentrated on the Müncheberg, Freiburg im Breisgau and Geisenheim locations . After the Second World War, Bernhard Husfeld founded the "Research Institute for Vine Breeding" and transferred the most important breeding lines from Müncheberg to Siebeldingen. The first breeding successes in Müncheberg were the Siegfriedrebe and Aris varieties . Even if these varieties still showed certain viticultural inadequacies, including low yield and virus susceptibility, they were a breeding and scientific success, as they proved that resistance and quality can be combined.

In 1970 Gerhardt Alleweldt took over the management of the institute. He intensified research activities, in particular on resistance to fungal diseases. The first grape varieties from his work were Castor and Pollux, which were granted plant variety protection in 1977, but in some years had an undesirable strawberry taste ( furaneol ). It was only in the next generation of breeding that it was possible to approve grape varieties suitable for viticulture with high resistance to mildew and good quality properties. These were the white varieties Phoenix, Orion, Sirius and Staufer, as well as the red wine variety Regent. Regent is the most successful fungus-resistant new breed in Germany to date, which has also benefited from the red wine boom of the 80s.

The institute has been under the direction of Reinhard Töpfer since 1995. The Felicia, Villaris, Reberger and Calandro varieties were developed together with the breeder Rudolf Eibach. Since 1972, the institute has received support for its scientific work from the community of supporters and friends of the Institute for Vine Breeding Geilweilerhof e. V.

Specialized information center

The institute maintains several databases in which it provides specialist information for the viticultural sector. The Vitis International Variety Catalog ( VIVC ) is an extensive database of grape varieties. Information on around 21,000 Vitis species, grape varieties and breeding lines can be found there. The Deutsche Genbank Reben serves the long-term and efficient protection of vine genetic resources in Germany in order to be able to guarantee their availability. Its European counterpart is the European Vitis database (The European Vitis Database), which is also maintained by the institute. The international literature database Vitis-VEA is a bibliographical directory for the field of viticulture. It lists a large part of the extensive holdings of the institute's special viticultural library. The older full texts of the in-house, English-language trade journal Journal of Grapevine Research are also available there.


  • Walter Hillebrand, Heinz Lott and Franz Pfaff: Paperback of the grape varieties. Fachverlag Fraund, Mainz 13th edition 2003 ISBN 3-921156-53-X
  • H. Hess, G. Alleweldt: The Geilweilerhof and the institute for vine cultivation. Community of friends and sponsors of the Institute for Vine Breeding Geilweilerhof e. V. 1993 online (PDF; 1.9 MB)
  • R. Töpfer, E. Maul and R. Eibach: History and development of grapevine breeding on the Geilweilerhof Writings on wine history No. 172, Society for the history of wine e. V. 2011 online (PDF; 1.8 MB)


  • The Institute for Vine Breeding Geilweilerhof - Vine Breeding and Wine Research at the JKI , image film by the Institute for Vine Breeding from the JKI , Germany, January 19, 2017, 6:14 min., Online video
  • Viticulture in Germany a video film by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), Germany, April 1, 2015, 6:02 min., Online video

The work of the winemaker is presented with a portrait of a Moselle winemaker, research on viticulture, etc. a. Institute for Grapevine Breeding Geilweilerhof, Geisenheim University , with Monika Christmann , Nadine Poss and the importance of the sparkling wine country Germany .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. New grape varieties from the JKI
  2. German Wine Statistics 2012/2013 of the German Wine Institute ( Memento from October 20, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 1.0 MB)
  3. Data on breeding and genetics
  4. Information sheet on the vine trail (PDF; 96 kB)
  5. ^ Association of the sponsors and friends of the Institute for Vine Breeding Geilweilerhof e. V.
  6. ^ German gene bank vines
  7. European Vitis database
  8. ^ Vitis-VEA
  9. VITIS - Journal of Grapevine Research