Unraveling the genetic origin of ‘Glera’, ‘Ribolla Gialla’ and other autochthonous grapevine varieties from Friuli Venezia Giulia (northeastern Italy)
‘Glera’ and ‘Ribolla Gialla’ are the most economically relevant local grapevine cultivars of Friuli Venezia Giulia region (north-eastern Italy). ‘Glera’ is used to produce the world-renowned Prosecco wine. ‘Ribolla Gialla’ cultivation is constantly increasing due to the strong demand for sparkling wine and is the most important variety in Brda (Slovenia). Knowledge of local varieties history in terms of migration and pedigree relationships has scientific and marketing appeal. Following prospections, genotyping and ampelographic characterization of minor germplasm in Friuli Venezia Giulia, a further research was developed to understand the parentage relationships among the grapevine varieties grown in this region. An integrated strategy was followed combining the analysis of nuclear and chloroplast microsatellites with the Vitis 18k SNP chip. Two main recurrent parents were found, which can be regarded as “founders”: ‘Vulpea’, an Austrian variety parent-offspring related with at least ten Friuli Venezia Giulia cultivars, among them ‘Glera’, and ‘Refosco Nostrano’, first degree related with other six Friuli Venezia Giulia varieties. ‘Ribolla Gialla’ was shown to be another member of the impressively long list of offspring derived from the prolific ‘Heunisch Weiss’. Combining molecular markers and historical references was a high-performance strategy for retracing and adjusting the history of cultivars.