The white grape variety probably comes from Italy, but the exact origin is unknown. The more than 100 synonyms testify to its great age and the formerly wide distribution in Europe. The most important ones grouped alphabetically by country are Early White Malvasia(Germany, Austria); Agostenga, Agostina, Agostinga, Aostenga, Bianca Capella, Bianca Capello, Bona in Ca, Lignenga, Luclienca Bianca, Luigese, Lugliatica Verde, Malvasia Belaia, Uva di Sant'Anna(Italy); Gustana, Malvaziya Belaya(Slovenia); Jouanenc, Lignan Blanc, Madeleine Blanche, Petit Blanc(France); Golden Hamburg(England); Augustauer, Augustina, Augusttraube, Bernarda, Frühe Leipziger, Yellow silk grape, Green silk grape, Silk grape(Germany, Austria); Bernarda, Prié Blanc(Switzerland). The name derives from "Luglio" (July) and refers to early ripening.
An early written record in Piedmont under the name Luglienchis dates back to 1329 and was first described by the French ampelographer Victor Pulliat (1827-1896) in 1888. In his opinion, it reached France from northern Italy as early as the 14th century. The university gardener Johann Metzger (1789-1852) mentioned it as a white wine variety in 1827 under the name Silk Grape and in 1870 the German ampelographer Hermann Goethe (1837-1911) mentioned it as a white wine variety under the name Yellow Silk Grape. For centuries it was cultivated on pergolas, especially as a table grape and ornamental grape, often on pergolas.
According to DNA analyses carried out in 2005, there is a parent-offspring relationship between Luglienca Bianca and the Prié variety from Valais, which is often confused with it. Confusingly, however, DNA analyses carried out in 2013 revealed that Luglienca Bianca originates from a presumably natural cross between Bermestia Bianca x Agostenga. However, this is based on only 20 DNA markers (see molecular genetics). For Agostenga the synonyms Luglienca Bianca (with "c") and Prié are given in the VIVC catalogue. However, it is not clear which variety this Agostenga is. Because according to Wine Grapes Agostenga is only a synonym for Luglienga Bianca (with "g"). Therefore a final clarification is still pending.
Luglienga Bianca is considered a leading variety with many offspring in the European gene pool. The variety was a cross-breeding partner of the new varieties Augusta (1), Lival and Seneca (1). The early-ripening, vigorous-growing vine is resistant to winter frost, but susceptible to botrytis. To a lesser extent it has been/is also used as a wine grape. No stock was reported in 2010 (Kym Anderson).
Images: Ursula Brühl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)