This term often causes confusion, as it is used differently and often incorrectly in the relevant literature. According to the "Duden" a variety (lat. Varietas, engl. variety or variation, sometimes also race) is a slightly different form of a species (lat. species) within a biological system. In the "Roche Lexicon of Medicine", a variety is a subspecies of the subspecies, which was also called type in the past. A variant (variation, variation, variety) means a deviation from the comparative or standard type or norm (slightly modified form of something). However, this term is not used in connection with the botanical order. In general language use, however, there is hardly any difference between the two terms variety and variant.
In viticulture, variety in common parlance usually refers to a specific grape variety. This term has been in use for a long time and existed even before systematic botany existed. From a botanical point of view, however, this is not correct, because strictly speaking, variety may only be used for natural populations (wild forms), but not for cultivated forms. In order to avoid confusion, the terms vine variety or cultivar can be used. Among botanists, the term cultivar (an artificial word from "cultivated variety") is mainly used, which means all grape varieties cultivated by man. See also under vine systematics.
The grape varieties contained in the wine dictionary are often varieties, variants or clone mutants that have been created by mutation. These differ externally in a few characteristics (e.g. in berry colour, taste or leaf shape), but are ampelographically considered to be identical grape varieties due to the (largely) identical genotypes. Significant examples of this are the three varieties of Traminers, as well as Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc. These are two groups of grape varieties which are not distinguishable in genotype. In practice, however, they are managed like independent grape varieties. See also Synonym for the numerous names of a grape variety.
Pictures: Ursula Brühl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)