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Valorisation of the indigenous vine varieties of Malta – conservation, assessment and innovation

EU Seventh Framework Programme, R&I-SP, 2008-2010

Wines produced from local grapes, including those from the Ġellewża and Girgentina varieties, often fail to reach the minimum alcohol level stipulated by Council Regulation (EC) 1493 of 1999. In the past, it was customary to overcome this problem by adding sugar to the extracted grape juice prior to the fermentation process. The derogation allowing this practice, however, came to an end in 2008.

It is believed that the problem of low alcohol levels may result from a lack of standards and good practice in the cultivation and harvesting of these grapes. This project therefore aimed to identify existing local strains best suited to cultivation and to demonstrate that correct cultivation and harvesting procedures can yield the desired results.

The project was being carried out with the collaboration and participation of a large number of local stakeholders, and was sponsored by the Malta Council for Science and Technology. The results of this project were expected to benefit the local viticulture and wine industry by making cultivation of local grape varieties economically feasible and ensuring the continued production of quality wines using local varieties. 

Further information about this project is available on request from the Division of Rural Sciences and Food Systems

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