The aim of this project is to support the activity of recovery and characterisation of grapevine varieties at regional and national level.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (DAFE) - University of Pisa started the recovery and the characterization of autochthonous varieties in the Tuscan coastal areas (Massa Carrara, Lucca, Pisa, Livorno and Grosseto provinces) in the 1980's. The numerous grapevine identified accessions, wich were often represented by a biotype of a particular variety, were planted in some collection vineyards, and about 30 variety of those were introduced in the Registro Regionale delle Risorse Genetiche Autoctone della regione Toscana (http://www.arsia.toscana.it).

With the aim of creating a Tuscan Vitis Database, in 2004 Dr. D'Onofrio Claudio of the Dipartimento di Coltivazione e Difesa delle Specie Legnose “G. Scaramuzzi”, University of Pisa, made the conceptual and logic project of a database as his thesis of the master in Bioinformatics at the University of Turin. This project was performed as a relational database following the entity-relation model, and it describes the main static and dynamic characteristics that were established on the basis of analysis of existing grapevine databases and of all possible requests of various types of users.

This project was presented by Dr. D'Onofrio at the symposium "I vitigni autoctoni minori: aspetti tecnici, normativi e commerciali" (Turin, 30 november-1december 2006). Subsequently, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment (DAFE) obtained the financial support of Colle Massari S.p.A. for the implementation of the application of the proposed database and in February 2007 there was a meeting in Bologna with the aim of extending the project to national level. Then, there was another meeting in Pisa in 2009 (29 may) of the members of the major part of the Italian viticulture research institutions and it was established the “Vitisdb working group” with the intent of establishing the “Italian Vitis Database” (www.vitisdb.it) using the software developed at the University of Pisa.

In this database 3 levels are proposed:

  1. private level: in this level the data are visible only at their submitters, it can be properly utilized to describe and to characterize the accessions collected of the Vitis germoplasm not yet completely described;
  2. middle level: the data are visible to all other submitters with the aim of carring out studies and comparing them to avoid errors of identification and duplication before publishing a new accession to general public;
  3. public level: the data are visible to the public and represent an instrument of surveying and reference for scientists and customers.

Moreover the system is equipped with a series of minimum descriptors, accepted at international level for varieties description, which are necessary to insert the accession in the public version. Additional descriptors could be introduced to complete the grapevine thanks to software compatible with future modernizations.

The main characteristic that distinguish this grapevine database from others is that each submitter has the possibility of inserting and managing their data in this database; they can decide which of their inserted data could be observed by other submitters, and research on the microsatellite profile can also calculate some identity indexes.