Commitment to autochthonous grapevine varieties
When importing Portuguese wines in the 1970s, it was obvious that there were some table wines, normally produced in small quantities, which were of excellent quality. The quality of wines subsequently purchased in bulk, however, was lower. Research into the matter undertaken at the Geisenheim Research Center’s grapevine breeding department found the cause. Upon closer examination, it was discovered that virus-infected rootstock introduced from France was causing degeneration in the Portuguese grapevine varieties. Because there had been no conservation breeding (clonal or mass selection) of the old varieties, they had simply no longer been planted. Planting of the traditional quality grapevine varieties was no longer profitable for viticulturalist, so they replaced them with high-yielding varieties. This situation was the catalyst of a commercially viable business idea. In cooperation with the University of Geisenheim, the University of´Évora and the national Agricultural Research Station in Oeiras, Jorge Böhm devoted himself to the certification of the traditional autochthonous Portuguese grapevine varieties. Today, one could well say that the fundamental research done in the 1980s on grapevine varieties contributed to the later success both in Portugal and abroad of the wines produced at Quinta da PLANSEL.