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February 16, 2007

Grape breeder Bob Zehnder Dies

I just got word via the grape breeders list that Bob Zehnder has died.

Zehnder was the last of "the three Bobs", the others being Robert Farrer and Robert Dunstan, "hobby breeders" who pushed the limits of southern grape breeding and left behind a rich legacy of promising, yet surprisingly little known, germplasm. He conducted his work in Summerville, SC, under perhaps the highest conceivable disease pressure. He was perhaps among the last of the old generation of passionate amateurs in this field, though the baton has been passed to quite a capable field of both amateurs and professionals.

He was also a genuinely nice guy--generous, friendly, and kind. The field of grape breeding and the world in general are richer for having had him in it.

Cliff Ambers visited Bob a few years ago, and put together this page.

Floridagrapes.com has a list of his selections, which gives you an idea of the extent of his contribution.

(Sorry there haven't been much in the way of updates around here lately. I'm very, very busy. I promise I'll pick up the pace in a few months when I'm over this hump and back on my feet again.)

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