The World’s oldest living grapevine specimen and its genetic relationships


  • S. Vršič
  • A. Ivančič
  • A. Šušek
  • B. Zagradišnik
  • J. Valdhuber
  • M. Šiško



Vitis vinifera, ‘Žametovka’, ‘Blauer Kölner’, microsatellites, Old Vine


The Old Vine from Lent (Maribor, Slovenia) which belongs to the ‘Modra Kavčina’ group (i.e. ‘Blauer Kölner’ in the Vitis International Variety Catalogue and ‘Žametovka’ in the official varietal list of Slovenia) is considered to be the oldest living specimen of cultivated grapevine (at least 400 years old). The aim of our study was to determine the genetic relationships among different accessions of the ‘Žametovka’ group, the position the Old Vine within this group, and the relationship between the Old Vine and other red varieties grown in Slovenia and neighbouring countries. The molecular genetic analysis was based on microsatellite data. The study shows that the ‘Žametovka’ group is genetically completely different from other red varieties studied. Among these genetically distant varieties, in our study, ‘Chasselas red’ appears to be the closest. The ‘Žametovka’ group is genetically highly homogenous, and half of the studied accessions probably belong to the same clone. The ‘Old vine’ cannot be considered as a significantly different genotype. The minor differences detected by microsatellite markers are probably due to mutations accumulated over a long period of time and possibly to epigenetic changes.