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Bacchus grape

The Bacchus grape variety is a white grape that has recently been added to the German wine industry.

Its founder was a German viticulturist, who founded the grape during the early 1930s in a viticulture institute at Pfalz in the Palatinate region.

Although gaining popularity during its subsequent years after its foundation, the grape reached its peak in the 1990s, when suddenly losing its popularity to other several grapes most probably due to its generic character profile.

Wine grape varieties

Historically, it’s a simple cross of the Riesling and the Muller-Thurgau grape, obtained in the 1930s.

Not much can be described regarding its evolution as wine grape, although it has got a few synonyms that have developed in the last 70 years.

Parentage of Bacchus grape

The Bacchus grape derives its name from the Roman god of wines and agriculture – Bacchus, who himself comes out to be a Roman version of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and agriculture.

Obtained through crossing Riesling and Muller-Thurgau, the grape was founded in the Geilweilerhof Institute for Grape Breeding in the Palatinate.

Obtained precisely in 1933, the grape never got attention to be commercially sanctioned till the 1970s.

Strangely, the vine is more famous in England than Germany, although in the latter country, it’s used as a blending agent with several grapes.

Synonyms of Bacchus

Bacchus has several Germanic names like Bacchus Weiss, Weisser Bacchus, Fruhe Scheurebe and Geilweilerhof, according to the region it is consumed. The last name corresponds to the institute it was founded in.

Viticulture and characteristics

The Bacchus variety is for some reason, not has been popularly grown in its home country at least since the 1990s.

Instead, the vine found its best homeland in England, where some people do grow it, despite England’s non-association with wines.

At the vineyard, the Bacchus is not the easiest to grow since it is very susceptible to mildew and Botrytis (more commonly known as the ‘noble rot’).

A photo posted by @miss_gpie on Jul 10, 2016 at 4:23am PDT

In Botrytis, that is a fungal infection, the fungus BorytisCinerea destroys the liquid content of the grape.

This results in the solids – sugars, acids and tannins to survive making the grape bitter and extremely sugary to the palate.

Although used for some fermentation processes in some vineyards, for example the Riesling grape, the noble rot is not necessarily a desirable disease for every vine variety, although only in some conditions the grape has been observed to rot nobly.

Characteristically, the grape is early ripening around mid-September although it has been observed to develop poor flowerings.

With medium yields, the grape is consistent as far as total yield is concerned and retains most of its high acidic content even in a hot year.

The vine was developed with flexibility in mind with characteristics of both Riesling and Muller-Thurgau so it can be grown at almost any terrain and climate, a major limitation of the Riesling that is covered up by this grape.

However, the quality of yield remains simply mediocre as compared to its parents, explaining the reason why it could not become popular despite being a cross of two of the most famous German vines.

Bacchus is also used as a popular eating grape.

A photo posted by @vinhill_fine_wine_trading on Jul 11, 2016 at 11:52pm PDT

Characterized as possessing a tall shoot, it grows as long as 30-45 cm long including the roots.

In Germany, it is more commonly used a blending grape, since its characteristics are not as par with some other major German varieties.

Being low of acids and high in sugars, the rape has been found to suit well to develop Beernaueslese and Trockenbeernauslese, that are dessert wines.

Bacchus is very good at adding floral scents to the blended wine.

Food pairing

Since the grape is more widely grown in England rather than Germany, its use has been found to be the best with British food.

The British cuisine is characterized by its extremely simple dishes that are both healthy and wholesome and satisfying to the palate too.

Grilled vegetables with a glass of blended Bacchus serves really well.

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Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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