The red grape variety possibly comes from England. The most important of the approximately 100 synonyms, grouped alphabetically by country, are Black Muscat(Australia), Muscat Albertdient's(Belgium), Moscatel de Hamburgo(Brazil), Frankenthaler, Muscat Trollinger, Trollinger-Muscat(Germany), Black Muscat, Black Muscat of Alexandria, Muscat Hamburgh, Snow's Muscat Hamburgh, Fenn's Seedling, Fenn's Seedling Black Muscat(England), Hamburg Musqué, Muscat de Hamburg, Oeillade Musquée(France), Moschato Amvourgou, Moschato Tyrnavou(Greece), Gulabi(India), Malvasia Nera, Moscato d'Amburgo, Moscato Nero, Moscato Nero d'Acqui, Zibibbo Nero(Italy), Muscat Hamburg Crni(Croatia), Moscatel Prato(Portugal) Tamâioasa Hamburg, Tamîioasa Hamburg, Tamâioasa Neagra(Romania), Moscatel de Hamburgo(Spain, Uruguay), Hamburgii Muskotály(Hungary), Black Hamburg, Black Muscat, Muscat Hamburg(USA, Cyprus).
It must not be confused with the varieties Aleatico (Moscato Nero) or Moschomavro, despite the fact that synonyms or morphological similarities seem to indicate this. According to the latest DNA analyses carried out in 2015, it is a cross between Schiava Grossa x Muscat d'Alexandria (which also explains the extremely confusing synonym Black Muscat of Alexandria). This was correctly suspected by the two ampelographers Alberto Piròvano (1884-1973) and Louis Levadoux.
Because of its good characteristics Muscat d'Hamburg was a crossbreeding partner in many new varieties of wine grapes and table grapes. Especially in young viticulture in China, many crosses with the Asian species Vitis amurensis were made. The parent variety was Academica, Adelaide, Alphonse Lavallée, Aminia, Amur, Angelo Pirovano, Anmeigui, Bashkanskii Krasnyi, Beichun, Campbell Early, Canada Muscat, Candin, Complexa, Dostoinyi, Early Muscat, Exalta, Fioletovy Ranny, Franca, Giovanna, Golden Muscat, Italia, Kossuth Ferenc, Liana, Manzoni Moscato, Mills, Misket Dunavski, Misket Kailachki, Misket Plevenski, Muscat Bailey A, New York Muscat, Oberon, Oeillade de Conzieu, Perlona, Pierrelle, Pobeda, Quanlongzhu, Quanyu B, Quassaic, Santarena, Șarbă, Schönburger, Super Hamburg, Tentaçao, Teresita, Vera Cruz, Viola, Xenia, Yulski Biser, Yüluzhu and Zeyu.
In 1858 the variety was presented in the trade journal "London Florist" and the grower Seward Snow was quoted as describing it as the result of a cross between Black Hamburg (Schiava Grossa) x White Muscat (Muscat d'Alexandrie). However, it is not clear by whom and where exactly the crossing was made. According to one hypothesis, it was cultivated in greenhouses in Hamburg from the mid-1830s onwards and from there it reached England around 1850. The Black Muscat of Alexandria, which was already mentioned in 1802 by the British botanist William Forsythe (1737-1804), is probably a colour mutation of Muscat d'Alexandrie (confusingly, Black Muscat of Alexandria is also a synonym for Muscat d'Hamburg). The fact is that the strain was grown in large quantities in greenhouses in England by Snow and a colleague named Venn (see synonyms) and has spread from here all over the world.
The medium ripening, high-yielding vine produces rather alcohol-light, ruby-coloured red wines with a discreetly pronounced muscat. However, the variety is mainly used as a table grape worldwide and is therefore often cultivated in greenhouses. In the Département Vaucluse (southern Rhône) there is even a table grape AOC with the designation Muscat du Ventoux. Under the name Muscat Trollinger it is cultivated in Germany as a wine grape, the cultivation can be traced back to 1850. In 2009, the area under cultivation was 65 hectares, 64 of which were in Württemberg. In 2010, there were areas under cultivation in Australia, France (3,504 ha), Greece, Italy, California, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Russia (180 ha), South Africa, Uruguay (1,500 ha) and Cyprus. The variety occupied a total of 8,137 hectares of vineyards in 2010. Compared with 2000, when the area was 7,066 hectares, there was a 15% increase. It occupies 82nd place in the worldwide grape variety ranking.
Pictures: Ursula Brühl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)