Italy recognizes Virgilio Vidor’s research work on tropical grapes

Virgilio Vidor traveled with his family to live in Costa Rica when he was 24 years old in the 1970s from Fregene (Rome). In the 50 years that he has been in this country, he has carried out important research work on tropical grapes. This year, the Italian Government recognized Vidor’s scientific work and his fight against poverty in the Central American region, and -at the beginning of the year- awarded him the title of Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.

His family in Italy, especially on his father’s side, was associated with the cultivation of grapes and the production of wines, so it was natural that they tried to explore the possibilities grapes had in their new home. “The first thing we did was plant ten varieties that we had brought from Italy. We imported them correctly, with all the certification, and they almost died due to all the bureaucracy at the airport, but that’s how it all started.”

Soon his research caught the attention of international entities, including California universities, and the family farm became a kind of experimental center to see the adaptation of grapes and to conduct experiments with at least 350 varieties to try to find or create a variety that adjusted to the region’s conditions.

“Three or four types served. However, the research was especially useful to discover the existence of a terrible grape disease in Costa Rica, which explains why people had been unable to grow this product in this region it in a sustainable way for 500 years,” he stated.

Based on this finding, the work focused on creating hybrids with wild grapes that were resistant and immune to the disease, with the aim of developing an autochthonous variety that could be used for consumption purposes or the production of wine, but also to explore its possibilities in the medicinal sector.

“Right now I have 800 different types, most of which are made by me. I have been experimenting, waiting for ten years – the time it takes to prove or discard a variety’s viability. Some varieties still have three to go, but others have many more years,” he said while showing the meticulous record of his seeds and the results he’s obtained.

Vidor, now 73 years old, recognizes that he needs to rest as his research work on hybrid grapes is very exhausting, but he would not like all his effort to be wasted. He hopes a student interested in systematizing his work and in continuing his research so that Costa Rica can take advantage of all this knowledge comes to his aid. “I hope some student comes to do a thesis systematizing everything I have done. I am a bit demanding and it has been difficult for me to find someone who has enough passion and who maintains it over the years,” he acknowledged.



Source: Fresh Plaza