Growing sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L. subsp. vulgaris [sugar beet cultivar group]) as a winter crop requires the development of a winter sugar beet with controlled bolting and suffi cient winter hardiness. To evaluate the genetic variation for winter hardiness in B. vulgaris L., we determined the survival rate (SR) in a panel of 396 accessions tested in eight overwintering fi eld trials in Germany and Belarus. The panel included the cultivar groups sugar beet, fodder beet, garden beet, and leaf beet, as well as the wild beet B. vulgaris subsp. maritima (L.) Arcang. (BVM). Across all environments the effects of accession, environment, and accession × environment interaction were highly signifi cant. Despite the complexity of the trait, the heritability for SR was estimated as h2 = 0.81, refl ecting a large genetic variation in the panel. Environmental SRs ranged from 0.7 to 86.3% with a grand mean of 28.4%. In all environments at least one accession completely died while the maximum SR ranged from 39.9 to 100%. On average, sugar beet accessions performed best while accessions with the highest SR were among BVMs and leaf beets. The largest variation for SR was found in BVMs, followed by the leaf beets, whereas sugar beets showed the smallest variation. Our results suggest that winter hardiness in sugar beet is suffi cient to survive mild winters but needs to be improved for continental climates with colder winters. Whether the limited variation in sugar beet is suffi cient for this has to be further investigated.