The Hungarian table grape breeder János Mathiász (1838-1921) was the most prolific table grape breeder in the world. He began his career by collecting 1,600 grape varieties, including many French and Italian grapes. In 1881 he took over the management of the 100-acre Andrássy vineyards, where he tried (unsuccessfully) to fight phylloxera. Towards the end of the 19th century there was a great demand for table grapes. A trip to France motivated Mathiász not only to take over grapes, but to cross-breed new ones. After buying 50 acres of vineyards near Kecskemet, he started his breeding activities and was supported by his younger brother Jozsef.
The breeding goal was new varieties with early to late ripening, beautiful appearance, good transportability, rich yield, and resistance to diseases and rot. He bred the incredible amount of 3,500 varieties. The most successful are Csaba Gyöngye (Pearl of Csaba), Queen of the Vineyards (Szölöskertek Királynöje), Queen Elisabeth (Erzsébet Királyné Emléke), Kossuth Ferenc, mathiász J ánosne (Mathiász Jánosne Muskotály), named after his second wife, Millennium Grape (Ezeréves Magyarország Emléke) and Thalloczy Lajos (Muscat Thalloczy Lajos). Of these, about 70 are still known by name today and a dozen of them are distributed worldwide. Many of them have been used in new varieties. Máthiasz table grapes are grown on about 2,200 hectares in Hungary and on about 12,000 hectares worldwide. His brother Jozsef Mathiász was also active in breeding; among others, the table grape Darányi Ignác comes from him.
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Technischer Lehrer, staatl. geprüfter Sommelier, Hotelfachschule Heidelberg