ENTAV was created in 1962. It is a technical center which goal is the leadership and coordination of the national clonal selection program in France. Studying and testing French clones, presenting them for certification and conserving the material in mother block repositories have been their focus for more than fifty years. Their clonal selections come from all the French wine regions and include the most prestigious appellations. Each clone before being released has the culmination of more than fifteen years of rigorous and methodical research and testing.
ENTAV’s headquarters near the Mediterranean coast in Le Grau du Roi in Southern France has more than 80 hectares of clean, sandy soil where the clones are grown and conserved in the best cultural practices.
ENTAV original focus 1) selection, 2) maintenance of clean material, 3) providing material for the nursery industry.
IFV (French Institute for Vines and Wines) resulted from the merging of ENTAV and ITV (Technical Institute for Viticulture) France in 2007. The new focus is on the studies for the whole French wine industry on subjects such as plant material, vine growing, vineyard management, wine making and marketing. Their main tasks are sanitary and genetic selection of clones for grape varieties and rootstock varieties, conservation of this selected grape plant material, and research on diseases and molecular analysis for variety identification. They are currently focusing on the effects of global warming; at the clonal level looking for clones with lower brix and higher acidity or clones with late maturity. In terms of varieties, they are investigating the old French patrimony like varieties such as white Carignan that growers gave up growing in the 1960s because they ripened too late and now they find new interest in these varieties. IFG is investigating this old neglected cultivar. They are doing some selection in the Meditteranean vineyards such as Greece and Southern Italy like Touriga Nacional from Portugal or Agiorgitiko from Greece to give to growers the opportunity to grow in drought conditions and summer heat. With global warming there are two problems – earlier varieties and during the summer when it is very hot, it is hard to get good aromatic maturity and good sufficient technological maturity with sugar and acidity.
IFG is also focusing on Downey and Powdery Mildew resistance. With INRA, IFV is doing some breeding for PM and DM resistance. The first new material will be officially registered next year.
New clones every year are being registered and will become available in California in a few years. Look for new Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir clones.
ENTAV International is a subsidiary of INRA and IFV – responsible for the ENTAV-INRA trademarks, which were created 21 years ago in 1999. It manages the international trademark licensing relationships and also provided seminars, workshops, and licensee services.
The trademarks are now registered in 50 countries including Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Greece.
The partnership brought an important advance tothe wine industry and helped put California wineson a par with the international wine community.