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Munson Thomas Volney

From the beginning of the 1880s, the American botanist Thomas Volney Munson (1843-1913) was intensively engaged in researching vine diseases and determining the ideal soil for the various grape varieties. He established a vine nursery with numerous experimental plots in Denison, Texas, in order to carry out experiments on the different soils and numerous wild vines there, with the additional advantage of different climatic conditions for analyses. In the wake of the European phylloxera disaster, the French Ministry of Agriculture sent a delegation to America to find suitable rootstocks for grafting.

Munso Thomas Volnay - Porträt, Brilliant- und Headlight-Traube

In addition to resistance to phylloxera, importance was also attached to compatibility with the calcareous soil frequently found in Europe. The head of the delegation Pierre Viala (1859-1936) consulted Munson. The ideal vines were finally found in the limestone mountains near San Antonio. They were vines of the species Vitis cinerea var. helleri - formerly Vitis berlandieri (lime vine), but also Vitis riparia. Munson was instrumental in identifying the ideal rootstocks. He was also extensively active as a breeder of new grape varieties, creating, among others, the new varieties Albania, America, Armlong, Bailey, Black Herbemont, Brilliant, Bush, Delago, Ellen Scott, Gold Coin, Governor Ross, Headlight, Hexamer, Hopkins, Lomanto, Palermo (1), President, Profusion, Ruby (1) Universal and Xenia (2).

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