Originally known as Gf. Ga-58-30, Orion is a 1964 German crossing whose mother is Optima and father is Villard Blanc (Seyve Villard 12-375). It was bred by Prof. Dr. h.c. Gerhardt Alleweldt at the Bundesforschungsanstalt für Rebenzüchtung Geilweilerhof (Geilweilerhof Institute for Grape Breeding, Siebeldingen/Rheinpfalz). In 1994 it was registered in the German Federal Office’s Varieties Register. There are no registered clones.
Where grown: It was first cultivated in Pfalz, Germany, but is now principally grown in England, where it is well suited to the cooler climate (Source: Llaethliw vineyard, Wales).
Wine style: Orion has soft, balanced acidity and is often blended to produce crisp, light, aromatic wines. Grassy and herbal notes are most common to these. Orion is also sometimes used in sparkling wines (Source: Llaethliw vineyard, Wales).
Advantages: Very high yield. Spraying is hardly ever necessary, so ideal for organic wine-growing. The wine is very easy to drink, and is ideal for blending with strong muscat varieties such as Schönburger (Source: Llaethliw vineyard, Wales).
Disadvantages: Strong growth of side-shoots. Wines are best drunk young (Source: Llaethliw vineyard, Wales).
Food match: Suitable for English garden salad with potatoes, runner beans, spring onions, tomatoes, cheese and mint (Source: Llaethliw vineyard, Wales).