Research, Practice, Dialogue

Healthy Vines in Organic Viticulture

Together against Downy Mildew


Applied Research Project

Since its inception in 2019, VITFIT (Vitis vinifera durch Forschung, Innovation und Transfer) is the largest applied research project in the field of organic viticulture in Germany.

For the first time, this joint project brings together all leading institutions of German viticulture research, organic growers’ associations, as well as industry representatives and organic wine growers.

This interdisciplinary network utilizes a digital platform, allowing founding partners and all interested in the project to conveniently exchange information. Increased participation in the research process and deepened insights into technology innovations are as important as effective communications and the sustained knowledge transfer between all stakeholders.

Project Priorities

Area A

Development and optimization of crop protection strategies against downy mildew in organic cultivation of established and new grape varieties

Area B

Breeding, wine stylistics, market acceptance and economic feasibility of new grape varieties

Area C

Adaptation of the forecast model “VitiMeteo Rebenperonospora“ to new grape varieties and organic viticulture

Area D

Knowledge transfer, networking and communication between research and practice

Project Objectives

VITIFIT’s goal is to reduce and, in the long term, replace copper-containing crop protection agents while combatting downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola) in organic viticulture.

In pursuit of this goal, innovative crop protection strategies are being developed at various locations, with new active ingredients, improved formulations, physical technologies and viticultural measures being tested in various combinations.

Furthermore, breeding activities and various strategies are promoted in order to maintain the most stable resistance possible in fungus-resistant grape varieties. In addition, oenological recommendations are developed for existing and new varieties, market acceptance is promoted, and economic indicators and sustainability effects are determined. At the same time, the forecast model “VitiMeteo Rebenperonospora” (VitiMeteo Vine Peronosopora) will be adapted to new grape varieties and organic viticulture.

Through improved network structures and an increased information flow, VITIFIT strives to optimize the transfer of knowledge and technology and aims to intensify the dialogue between research, associations and businesses.

All these VITIFIT measures are designed to make crop protection more resource-efficient, to secure the existence of organic wineries in the long term and to promote the conversion to organic production methods.

Project Funding

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) funds the project with 6.3 million Euros, which are allocated through the framework of the Federal Program of Organic Farming and Other Forms of Sustainable Agriculture (BÖLN). The project is scheduled to run for five years, from June 2019 to May 2024.


Project Coordination

Hochschule Geisenheim University
Prof. Dr. Beate Berkelmann-Löhnertz
Prof. Dr. Randolf Kauer

Editorial Office und Knowledge Transfer VITIFIT

DLR Rheinpfalz
Dr. Charlotte Hardt

Project Partners

Academic and research institutions:

Organic growers’ associations:

Practice partners:

Demonstration Wineries:

Bioland Weingut Ansgar Galler
Bio-Weingut Kronenhof Andreas Hattemer
Bio-Weingut Rummel
Weingut Wilhelm Zähringer

Weingut Zehnthof Theo Luckert