People are at work during the grape harvest in the St Veran vineyard, on September 23, 2016 in Chasselas near Macon eastern France. AFP / PHILIPPE DESMAZES
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Grape varieties brought to France by the Romans are identical to those grown for wine in some of the most famous appellations today, a new analysis of ancient vine DNA showed Monday. Researchers have unearthed evidence that one grape, from which well-known varieties such as chenin and riesling are derived, had been grown continuously for some 900 years -- long enough for a good many vintages. A Europe-wide team of archeologists and geneticists analyzed the genomes of 28 grape pips unearthed at nine dig sites across France, with the oldest dating to around 2,500 years ago.They then cross-referenced them with a DNA database of modern grape varieties.Savignan is the mother variety for more than two dozen white grapes, including gruner veltliner, chenin, riesling and petit manseng.
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