ineyards and vines have profoundly marked the French national culture and economy. The world reputation for excellence of French wines has led numerous countries of North and South America, Australia, South Africa, to name a few, to choose, in creating or renewing their vineyards, to seek French wine grape plants such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. These plants, through their diversity, have contributed to the renown of French wines.
For more than one hundred years, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Montpellier (ENSA-M), and subsequently, the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), have collected, cultivated, de scribed and cons erved the numerous wine grape plants of the different national vineyards . The ampelographic collection, thus assembled, is the richest and best documented in the world. Since 1960, the vineyard section of the Comité Technique Permanent de la Sélection (CTPS) of the Ministry of Agriculture maintains the national Catalogue of French Grape Plants. Only the grape plants described in this catalogue can be proposed for sale and cultivated for production. The national catalogue presented, until now, a list of 227 grape varieties and 30 rootstocks, but it was necessary to consult the official proceedings (of the vineyard) of the CTPS and ampelographic works in order to have an exact description of these different grape varieties and of the zones where they could be cultivated.
The work which is presented to us today gives a precise description of each variety and indicates the characteristics that permit one to identify them. This new catalogue is innovative in giving precise information for each of the clones. The wine and enological potential of each clone is indicated as well as its geographical origin, the importance of the sites of multiplication and the local delegation of ONIVINS.
Winegrowers and their advisors now have a document that is complete and easily consulted. They can find in this document useful information for the choice of a clone in relation to their soil and their goals of production.
The official catalogue , thus established by the experts gathered at the vine -plant secti on of the CTPS, presents in a single document which constitutes the Of ficial Catalogue of Varieties (list of varieties permitted to be marketed) and the report of French varieties (edited by the Groupe d'Etudes et de contrôle des Variétés et des Semences) and gives, for each variety, a morphological, phenological, and at times, biochemical description as well as information on their agronomic aptitudes and utility.
This type of work fullfills, in an exemplary manner, one of the great missions of the CTPS: to inform the users of varieties, in an impartial manner, in order to guide their choice. The catalogue's introduction clearly points out to the user the originality of the new findings and their principal characteristics. It recognizes also the effort of the technicians involved in selection and favors both the dispersal of its varieties and genetic progress.
This work is a collective work, its conception and its realization have brought together the specialists of the ENSA-M, INRA, and the Etablissement National Technique pour l'Amélioration de la Viticulture (ENTAV).
It has been enriched by the advice of experts of different families collected in the vineyard section of the CTPS. The latter has validated the entire set of information presented in this catalogue. ENTAV agreed to coordinate the undertaking ; however, it has been accomplished with the support of ONIVINS.
Let's honor al] those who made available for winegrowers the wealth of information that this new catalogue represents which will be useful to French winegrowing and which will reinforce its international popularity.
President of the CTPS