Chardonnay is the second most abundant white wine grape variety in the world and is the second most planted white variety in British Columbia. Chardonnay clones exhibit remarkable variation in a number of viticultural and enological traits including fruit composition, flavor and aroma profile, ripening time, flower morphology, bunch morphology, yield and grape color. However, very little is known about the Chardonnay genome.
This small-scale applied project is unique as it produced the first assembled sequence of the Chardonnay genome and compared 15 known clones of the Chardonnay grape vine.
Selecting the best clones for planting based on geography will contribute to more consistent and better production. For example, an earlier ripening clone would assist BC producers who face a shorter growing season compared to other jurisdictions such as California or Australia.
The project lead to two main outcomes relevant to this industry — an ability to accurately detect clonal identity and demonstrate authenticity in germplasm repositories, nurseries and established vineyards; and a database of genetic markers for utility in clonal selection.