Villard Blanc

Synonyms: Seyve-Villard 12-375
Keywords: black rot susceptible, hot climate, humid climate, neutral flavor, Pierce’s disease tolerant, powdery mildew susceptible, seeded, and white wine

Villard Blanc is a white French-American hybrid bunch grape that was released in 1937 by Seyve and Villard. Currently, it is frequently grown in eastern and southern states as a fresh-eating table grape or for blending in white wine for a light, neutral flavor. Vines have a semi upright growth habit and are vigorous and productive with large loose clusters that fully mature in late July to late September. While it is susceptible to black rot and Powdery mildew, it has some tolerance to Pierce’s disease, at least in the first 10 years of being grown.

Adaptability: Humid, Continental to Subtropical
Berry Color: White
Berry Maturity: Mid-Season to Late Season
Berry Size: Large
Cluster Compactness: Loose to Moderate
Cluster Size: Large
Fruit Use: Table and Wine
Product Flavor: Light, neutral
Seeds: Seeded
Soluble Solids: 15-22.8° Brix
Species / Varieties in Pedigree: Vitis vinifera, Vitis rupestris, Vitis lincecumii, Vitis labrusca, Vitis berlandieri
Vine Vigor: High
Yield Potential: Moderate to High

Figures

A cluster of Villard-Blanc grapes.

A cluster of Villard-Blanc grapes.
A cluster of Villard Blanc grapes.

Origins and History

Villard Blanc is a white interspecific hybrid bunch grape that was released by French breeders, Bertille Seyve and Victor Villard, in 1937. It originated from the cross, Seibel 6468 x Subereux, and its lineage is made up of Vitis vinifera, V. rupestris, V. lincecumii, V. labrusca, and V. berlandieri.

Vine Traits

Villard Blanc is a vigorous and productive vine with a semi upright growth habit. It has self-fertile flowers that bloom in late April in Mississippi, and the large, loose, clusters of white berries ripen between late July and late September, depending on management practices and vineyard site. Certain management practices, such as crop forcing, or the removal of flowers and/or developing clusters to force new flower production for later fruit ripening, have been performed in Mississippi in hopes of achieving a more favorable harvest period, but this may result in poor flower and fruit development.

 

As one of many bunch grapes that was selected for production and processing in strategic areas of Mississippi in the 70’s, Villard Blanc performed better than other cultivars and breeding lines, which died from Pierce’s disease (Xylella fastidiosa subsp. fastidiosa Wells et al.). However, Villard Blanc did begin showing signs of decline from this disease after about 10 years. Vines planted in Poplarville, MS failed to survive longer than 3 years. A simultaneous planting of vines in Beaumont, MS, roughly 60 miles northeast of Poplarville, did not survive past 5 years. Reasons for the limited survival time when compared to earlier literature are unknown but may be related to experimental treatments, differences in climate, or increased insect populations. Villard Blanc exhibits negligible symptoms of infection from downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola (B & C) Berl. & DeT), but it is susceptible to black rot (Phyllosticta ampelicida (Engelm.) Aa) and powdery mildew (Erysiphe necator (Schw.) Burr.), and a thorough fungicide spray program is recommended.

Vineyard Considerations

In Mississippi, Villard Blanc vines are not irrigated due to sufficient rainfall, and they are trained to a bilateral cordon system spaced 10 feet between rows and 7 feet between vines and are spur pruned. Though, they are also grown in other southern and eastern states and areas of Europe in USDA cold hardiness zones 6b to 9a, where recommendations may differ.

Quality

Villard Blanc berries are not susceptible to splitting and their firmness is comparable to cultivars Cynthiana, MidSouth, Miss Blanc, and Thompson Seedless, and although they contain seeds, they make for a good table grape. They have sugar and acid levels that are comparable to the white wine cultivar Seyval Blanc, and they are typically used for blending to produce light, neutral white wines that are low in tannins. Additionally, it can be used as a good source of productivity and large, high-quality fruit in terms of breeding.

Tables

References

Hu, Y., E. Coneva, E. Vinson, J.R. Kessler Jr, J. Spiers, and J. Ducar. 2012. Assessment of the feasibility of growing Pierce's disease tolerant American and French-American hybrid bunch grape cultivars in Alabama. J. Amer. Pomol. Soc. 66:220-222.

Mortensen, J.A. and L.H. Stover. 1990. Best combiners during 40 years of breeding Vitis cuitivars resistant to Pierce's disease. Vitis 271-277.

Tang, F.C. 1978. Chemical analysis of grape varieties grown in Lubbock, Texas. Doctoral dissertation, Texas Tech University.

Stafne, E.T. and B.L. Carroll. 2019. Simulated abiotic injury alters yields of southern interspecific hybrid grape cultivars. Horticulturae 5:44.

Mortensen, J.A. and L.H. Stover. 1990. Best combiners during 40 years of breeding Vitis cuitivars resistant to Pierce's disease. Vitis 271-277.

Double A Vineyards. 2020. Villard Blanc – Certified. Jan. 2023. https://doubleavineyards.com/villard-blanc.

Maul, E., K.N. Sudharma, A. Ganesh, M. Hundemer, M. Walk, S. vom Weg, A. Mahler-Ries, U. Brühl, R. Töpfer, S. Kecke, G. Marx, and T. Schreiber. 2022. Villard Blanc. Vitis International Variety Catalogue. Jan. 2023. www.vivc.de.

Hegwood, C.P. 1987. Viticulture research update. Proc. Viniculture Short Course Miss. State Univ. 2:7-9.

Kiyomoto, R.K. 1994. Wine Grape Trials 1990-1993. Connecticut Agri. Expt. Sta. New Haven. 920:3-7.

Contributor

Eric Stafne

Eric Stafne

Extension/Research Professor
Mississippi State University Extension
Coastal Research & Extension Center

eric.stafne@msstate.edu
Website  
Haley Williams

Haley Williams


Article Submitted: January 19, 2023
Article Updated: