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Munson Thomas Volney

The American botanist Thomas Volney Munson (1843-1913) worked intensively from the beginning of the 1880s on researching vine diseases and determining the ideal soil for the various grape varieties. He set up a vine nursery in Denison, Texas, with numerous trial plots in order to carry out experiments on the various soils and numerous wild vines present there, with the added advantage for analyses of different climatic conditions. In the wake of the European phylloxera disaster, the French Ministry of Agriculture sent a delegation to America to identify suitable rootstock vines for grafting.

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

In addition to resistance to phylloxera, great importance was attached to compatibility with the calcareous soil that is 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 (chalk vine), but also of Vitis riparia. Munson made a decisive contribution to the determination of the ideal rootstocks. He also created the new varieties Albania, America, Armlong, Bailey, Black Herbemont, Brilliant, Bush, Delago, Ellen Scott, Gold Coin, Governor Ross, Headlight, Hexamer, Hopkins, Palermo (1), President, Profusion, Ruby (1) Universal and Xenia (2).

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