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Jaeger Hermann

Jaeger Hermann Hermann Jaeger (1844-1895), a native of Switzerland, was a grandson of the famous pedagogue and school reformer Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827) and learned the profession of a gardener. He emigrated to America as a young man and settled east of Neosho (Missouri) in 1865. Together with his brother John he cultivated grapes there. Subsequently, he was active as a breeder of grape varieties, regularly writing articles for magazines and exchanging information with European grape experts. For this purpose, he preferred to make selections of wild vines of the Vitis lincecumii species from the Ozarks area in Missouri. Jaeger experimented with crosses of other American species such as Vitis aestivalis and the phylloxera-resistant Vitis rupestris.

In the 1870s, the phylloxera plague in Europe escalated. When the cause of the vine deaths was finally recognised, a worldwide search was launched for resistant vines. The entomologist Charles Valentine Riley (1843-1895), who was responsible for Missouri, noted the great resistance of Jaeger varieties to the pest. Hunter vines and many others from Missouri vineyards were exported in huge quantities to Europe and used in the fight against the pest.

The most important hunter vine was Jaeger 70, which was later named Munson after the US botanist Thomas Volney Munson (1843-1913), a friend of his. It was mainly used by the French breeder Albert Seibel (1844-1936) for many of his new breeds and became, so to speak, the progenitor of numerous French hybrids. Jaeger-Vines were also involved in the new breeding of the American hybrids America, Estella, Kiowa, Quintina, Rosette and Waubeck, among others. For his services to vine and wine, Hermann Jaeger was appointed Knight of the Legion of Honour by the French government in 1893. Two years later he disappeared without a trace and left a farewell letter; suicide is suspected.

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