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Kober Franz

The Austrian viticulture expert Ing. Franz Kober (1864-1943) was born in Simonsfeld near Ernstbrunn (Lower Austria). At Klosterneuburg he attended the Oenological and Pomolgical Institute at the viticultural school in Klosterneuburg. He completed his studies at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in Vienna with the teacher's examination for viticulture, cellar management and fruit growing. Afterwards he worked for several years as a vine grower in Romania and in Rust, Burgenland. In 1893 he became head of the fight against phylloxera for Lower Austria at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, based in Klosterneuburg.

Kober 5 BB - Unterlagengarten von Franz Kober 1930 und Trauben

He also worked together with the then director August-Wilhelm Freiherr von Babo (1827-1894). In a vineyard of the Klosterneuburg Viticulture Institute selected some rootstock vines and created the famous Kober 5 BB (also "5 BB" or "Teleki 5 BB"), named after him, in cooperation with the Hungarian vine grower Zsigmond Teleki (1854-1910). This became one of the most successful rootstocks on which numerous other rootstock vines bred all over the world were based.

Kober was also extensively involved in teaching, grafting, planting and looking after the vines in the vineyards. He invented a patented injector for the so-called cultivation method (combating phylloxera by injecting liquid carbon disulphide into the soil) and recommended the installation of cardboard screens to protect against May frost. Furthermore, he also published numerous papers, for example "Schlüssel zur Lösung der Rebenhybriden-Frage für Kalkböden in Österreich" (Key to solving the vine hybrid issue for lime soils in Austria) and "Über das Vortreiben veredelter Reben" (On the promotion of grafted vines). Franz Kober received numerous honours for his great services, including the Golden Badge of Honour of the Republic of Austria, the Babo Medal and the Rasch Medal. In 1984, a bronze plaque was placed in his memory at the Institute for Wine Cellar Management in Klosterneuburg.

Picture left: From unknown, postcard Geisenheim, GFDL 1.2, link
Picture right: From Joachim Schmid, Geisenheim, CC BY 3.0 de, Link

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