Misidentified vines may have led a small group of grapegrowers and winemakers to accidentally mislabel wines as Petit Manseng.
Late last year, during a professional ampelographic inspection, doubts were raised about the identity of the grape variety known as Petit Manseng in the Monash germplasm collection in South Australia. Consequently, samples were sent from each of the three mother vines in that collection for DNA analysis against the reference sample held in Montpellier, France. The results have shown that this this variety is, in fact, Gros Manseng.
The original material was imported in 1979 and transferred to the Monash collection in 2013. As there are no other known sources of true Petit Manseng in Australia, Australian growers who believe they have the variety in their vineyards are very likely to be under a misapprehension as it seems there are no other commercial sources of this variety in Australia.
CSIRO has also recently confirmed to Wine Australia through DNA profiling of Petit and Gros Manseng accessions in its collection that both are Gros Manseng.
Wine Australia is aware of a number of plantings in northern New South Wales and Queensland that while made well after 1979, were drawn from CSIRO material and are therefore Gros Manseng.
It is possible that there have been other private importations of Petit Manseng and it is open to growers to have their vine material verified through DNA testing once the growing season commences. Growers interested in arranging for their vines to be DNA tested should contact Wine Australia in the first instance.
Wine Australia is responsible for assisting the wine sector maintain its reputation for producing wines of quality and integrity and a key element of this role is to ensure wines are presented with an accurate identification of their varietal composition.
As growers or winemakers who have presented their products as 'Petit Manseng' to date have most likely done so in good faith Wine Australia will not insist on product recalls and will not take enforcement action.
However, now that this misidentification has been revealed wine should only be presented with an accurate indication of the varietal composition. Wines from 2020 and beyond should therefore be labelled as ‘Gros Manseng’, rather than the mistaken alternative.
Growers and winemakers who have questions about vine material or wine labelling should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.