A number of widely grown varieties of Vitis vinifera ssp. sativa, the grape used for wine production, are known to have resulted from crosses between Pinot noir and Gouais blanc, although it is not known which was the maternal parent in these crosses. We have analysed microsatellites and a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in chloroplast DNA from these two varieties and twelve progeny strains, including Chardonnay, Gamay noir and Aligoté. The results demonstrate that Gouais blanc was the maternal parent for nine of these strains, including Chardonnay, Gamay noir and Aligoté. This is a striking conclusion, as Gouais is generally considered a highly inferior variety, and its cultivation was banned for many years in parts of Europe.
Keywords: Vitis vinifera, Chardonnay, maternal inheritance, chloroplast DNA, microsatellite, SNP