More than 150 years ago, Frenchman Jean Desire Feraud planted more than 1200 vines in the Alexandra Basin at his Clyde winery, Monte Christo. Recently, viticulturalist Sam Wood discovered an unidentified grapevine at the original site of Feraud's winery - the present-day Monte Christo Winery - he turned to the Bragato Research Institute, a specialist research centre for the New Zealand wine industry, for DNA testing.
"We weren't sure what it was, and I was talking to someone in the industry and they suggested we get it DNA tested," Wood said.
The results identified the grapes as trollinger, a rare variety grown in northern Italy and Germany and believed to have been brought here by Feraud from Australia. Trollinger was grown for wine in Europe, but it was more of a table grape, with bunches three to four times larger than wine grapes, Wood said.