This summer, more than a million tons of chardonnay grapes are plumping on manicured vineyards around the world. The grapes make one of the most popular white wines, but their juicy fruit and luscious leaves are also targets for diseases such as downy mildew, a stubborn fungus-like parasite… Drop a chardonnay vine into a new region where it didn’t co-evolve with the local pests, and it’s especially vulnerable. But breed a chardonnay with a hardier local variety, and you risk losing the very essence that makes it chardonnay. "There’s always some interest in new varieties with resistance," says Dan Ward, director of the New Jersey Center for Wine Research and Education and a professor at Rutgers University. "But the fact is, winemakers want chardonnay or cabernet sauvignon, and consumers do, too."
/ / / Editing Out Pesticides