The famous rootstock vine is an interspecific new variety between American wild vines of the species Vitis berlandieri x Vitis riparia; it is an all-female variety. Synonyms are 5 BB, 5 BB Selection Kober, Berlandieri x Riparia Kober 5 BB, C-25, Craciunel 25, Kober, Kobera 5 BB, Kobravka, Selektsii Kobera, Teleki 5 BB and Teleki Kober 5 BB. It is one of the first phylloxera-resistant rootstocks that gained worldwide importance and is still used today in countless countries in the form of various clones. The development of this vine is a vivid example of how long and laborious the new vine breeding is and how carefully and precisely one must proceed. All breeding processes must be meticulously documented.
The Hungarian vineyard owner Zsigmond Teleki (1854-1910) was not satisfied with his underlay vines such as Solonis and had learned from relevant literature that the wild vine Vitis berlandieri and its hybrids were excellent for calcareous soils. He purchased 22 pounds of seed from the vine nursery operator Euryale Rességuier. The reason for the purchase of seeds was that, due to the phylloxera catastrophe, which was at its height, the trade in vine parts was severely restricted, at least between individual states. Teleki planted around 40,000 seedlings on the vineyards of his farm in Villány. He believed that he had received only pure Vitis berlandieri, but it turned out that only 10 Berlandieri seedlings and the majority were hybrids of crosses between Vitis berlandieri x Vitis riparia, Vitis berlandieri x Vitis rupestris and others.
The Berlandieri-Riparia hybrids selected by Sigmund Teleki later formed the basis for the records Kober 125 AA, Kober 5 BB, Teleki 5 A (according to the descendant Andor Teleki identical to Kober 5 BB), Teleki 5 C, Teleki 8 B and SO 4 (selection Oppenheim 4). In 1904 Franz Kober (1864-1943), a friend of Teleki's, commissioned him in 1904 to send him shoots of each distinct type Berlandieri x Riparia to Austria (at that time still the Habsburg Empire). Kober planted these cuttings in a plot of land leased by the Ministry of Agriculture on the Nußberg near Vienna (Austria). Kober made a selection before. He had selected 50 types in four groups, which he named with A, B, C and D. The group assignment was done according to morphological aspects (shape and appearance).
From about 100 plants, Kober selected particularly robust and vigorous plants, which he marked with a double letter. This is how the Kober 5 BB got its name, because the 5th floor of the group BB turned out to be the best for the Austrian site conditions in the end. Kober now had this (only) vine vegetatively propagated in the vine nursery in Wiener Neustadt. In 1920, 16 years after the start of the project, he made his first public appearance. This was relatively quick, as it often takes several decades before a new grape variety or rootstock is approved.
Kober had concealed the origin of Teleki and called it "Kober vine". But the basic (and also very important) basic selection had already been made by Sigmund Teleki. Both breeders made the mistake of marketing very similar types with the same number designation mixed together. In the individual wine-growing countries a number of selections were made from this mixture. Ferdinand Reckendorfer, director of the viticulture school in Krems (Lower Austria), selected R(eckendorfer) 7, R 27, R 43 and 8-35 from the Kober 5 BB, and the German biologist Dr. Carl Börner (1880-1953) selected 59 B(örner), 65 B and 68 B. All these selections, however, were of no significance. The Austrian viticulture expert Josef Mader (1876-1938) in particular advocated a broad use of the rootstock.
The resistance against the root aphids of phylloxera is good. It is susceptible to phylloxera, but this does not play a role as a rootstock vine (although it does play a role in propagation). It has good tolerance to calcareous soils and drought. The vine, which has half deep roots, has strong growth, which also affects the upper part. It is resistant to chlorosis, but less good for varieties that tend to trickle. Today, various clones of Kober 5 BB are marketed after a phytosanitary control (phytosanitary certificate). The rootstock is used in Germany and Austria, as well as in many other countries.