- SPECIALIZING IN COLD HARDY GRAPEVINES FROM THE U. OF MINNESOTA, PLOCHER SELECTIONS, SWENSON SELECTIONS, AND FRENCH HYBRIDS.
- The Grape Breeding Process
- Advancing Minnesota Enology
- U of M Grape Varieties
- Grapevines & Muscadine Vines
- Zone 5 Grape Varieties: Growing Grapes In Zone 5 Gardens
- Growing Grapes in Zone 5
- Zone 5 Wine Grapes
- Zone 5 Grape Varieties
- Principal Grape Varieties
- Cropped: How to Grow Cold-Hardy Wine Grapes
SPECIALIZING IN COLD HARDY GRAPEVINES FROM THE U. OF MINNESOTA, PLOCHER SELECTIONS, SWENSON SELECTIONS, AND FRENCH HYBRIDS.
ORDER EARLY AND SAVE!
Early ordering with Northeastern Vine Supply, Inc. means discounted vine prices and
a guarantee that we will have everything you need available. It takes more than 18
months for us to produce our premium quality bare root grapevines. While we are
one of the country’s largest suppliers of cold hardy grapevine varieties, the ever
growing demand for our vines means that we can still sell out early some years on
To better serve the community of cold climate growers, we offer an EARLY ORDER
DISCOUNT for custom propagation. We are now taking orders for 2021 and can offer
8% off the price of the vines. Orders must be placed by March 1, 2020 and we have a
500 vine minimum order for custom propagation. Cuttings will be processed and
grown in our outdoor nursery specifically for your order, eliminating any chance of
supply shortages. We can grow any variety on our list in addition to many others
that are not typically listed. Contact us for more information on this service
and our sales agreement.
The University of Minnesota is recognized as one of the top wine grape research programs in the country, with the goal of developing high-quality, cold-hardy, and disease-resistant wine grape cultivars. The wine grape breeding program began in the mid-’70s, and in 2000 an enology lab and research winery opened at the Horticultural Research Center.
Today more than 12,000 experimental vines are cultivated on 12 acres. Thousands of seedlings are produced each year using a diverse genetic base that includes classic Vitis vinifera cultivars, quality French hybrids, and hardy, disease-resistant selections based on V. riparia, Minnesota’s native grape.
The Grape Breeding Process
Currently, more than 100 U of M selections are in advanced tests, as well as more than 400 named varieties and selections from other breeding programs around the world. In addition to cold hardiness and disease resistance, viticultural traits such as productivity, cluster size, growth habit, bud break, and ripening times are evaluated.
When a new grape is released, nurseries get a well-tested selection that has been evaluated for 15 years or more. The cross for ‘Marquette’ was made in 1989, and it was introduced as a new variety in 2006. It is now extensively planted throughout the Midwest and New England.
Several white-fruited mutations of ‘Frontenac’ and ‘Frontenac gris,’ sold as ‘Frontenac blanc,’ are the newest wine grapes derived from the University of Minnesota “Frontenac family.” Several versions of ‘Frontenac blanc’ have been discovered independently by grape growers and nurseries. Trials so far indicate they have the same outstanding vine traits of ‘Frontenac’ and are ready for harvest several days earlier. Various mutations are being evaluated by the enology program to determine whether they differ in winemaking character.
Advancing Minnesota Enology
The enology project works closely with the breeders by producing numerous experimental wines from test cultivars each year. The project helps wineries by determining optimum processing methods for both new and existing cultivars, and provides local support for the technical needs of the developing Minnesota wine industry. Researchers also work to characterize the components of new grapes. To learn more about enology visit the U of M Enology Blog.
U of M Grape Varieties
|Frontenac||1996||Red and rosé, port||Vigorous and very disease resistant. Wine has flavors of cherry and plum. Can be high in acidity.|
|Frontenac blanc||2012||White wine||White-fruited sports of Frontenac and Frontenac gris with earlier harvest date.|
|Frontenac gris||2003||White wine||Vigorous and very disease resistant. Wine has a characteristic peach flavor. Can be high in acidity.|
|Itasca||2017||White wine||Lower acidity and high sugar levels. High resistance to downy and powdery mildew and the insect phylloxera.|
|La Crescent||2002||White wine||Very cold hardy. Wine has flavors of apricot, citrus, and tropical fruit. Moderately disease resistant.|
|Marquette||2006||Red wine||Resists downy and powdery mildew, and black rot, with open, orderly growth habit. Wine has complex notes of cherry, berry, black pepper, and spice on both nose and palate.|
|Bluebell||1944||Table, juice, jelly||Early ripening. Blue-seeded table grape with a juice, jelly mild Concord-like flavor. Disease resistant.|
|Edelweiss*||1977||Table, wine||Large-clustered, white-seeded table grape with a wine Concord-like flavor. May need winter protection.|
|Swenson Red*||1977||Table||Red-seeded table grape with refreshing flavor and crisp texture. Needs winter protection and a thorough spray program.|
*Joint release with Elmer Swenson.
Grapevines & Muscadine Vines
The pleasant sip of a glass of homemade wine is a surefire way to unwind. More and more, the hobby of home winemaking is catching on, and it all begins with the perfect grape. Talbott Nursery & Poultry offers a selection of grapevines for sale, plus muscadine vines to encourage wine lovers across the nation to enjoy their hobby.
Choose from any one of our fine grapevines for wine grapes. No matter your preference, we’ve got you covered. From Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and more, you’re sure to find the right vine according to your taste. In addition, we offer grapevines for snacking grapes, including Concord, Fredonia, Niagara, Edelweiss and many other delicious varieties. Enjoy the juicy fruit or simply take in the bold colors that our grapevines and muscadine vines provide! Plants are shipped on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and sometimes on Saturdays. Most plants will be sent bare-root wrapped in wet sphagnum moss with a plastic bag, then secured with tape for security and sent via USPS Priority Mail. When plants arrive, be sure to soak in water overnight, then plant. Please review all shipping procedures and conditions on our Shipping & Returns page. Call 409-381-0128 for information regarding our products, including care, maintenance and upkeep! Shop today!
Zone 5 Grape Varieties: Growing Grapes In Zone 5 Gardens
Grapes need lots of warm days to ripen and they only ripen on the vine. This used to make growing grapes in zone 5 or colder difficult if not impossible but newer varieties of cold hardy grapes makes growing grapevines for zone 5 promising. Read on to find out about these cold hardy zone 5 grape varieties.
Growing Grapes in Zone 5
In cooler regions, choosing the correct varietal is crucial. They need to be able to mature before the first frost hits. Even with cold hardy grape varieties, the northern gardener will probably be leaving the grapes on the vine well into early fall, sometimes up to the first killing frost of the season.
This puts the grower into a perilous area. The grapes won’t ripen off the vine, but a hard freeze will ruin them. An ongoing taste test is the only true way to see if the grapes are ready to harvest. The longer they are left on the wine, the sweeter and juicier they become.
Hardy grape varieties are bred using indigenous grapes found throughout the eastern half of northern North America. Although the fruit of this regional grape is small and less than tasty, it is very cold hardy. So breeders cross bred these grapes with other varieties of wine, table and jelly grapes to create hybrid
grapes that survive the cooler northern temperatures and shorter growing season.
Zone 5 Wine Grapes
There was a time when northern grape varieties lacked vineyard parentage, thus rendering them too acidic for winemaking. But today’s cold hardy grapes have been bred to be higher in sugars, so zone 5 wine grapes are now available to northern growers. The list of these suitable wine grapes is now quite extensive.
For assistance with choosing the best wine grapes for your area, contact your local County Extension Service. They can provide soil analysis, free and low cost publications as well as verbal knowledge regarding what wine grapes work best for your region.
Zone 5 Grape Varieties
There are also a large number of zone 5 grape varieties for other uses. There are even grape cultivars that grow well in zones 3 and 4, which would certainly be suited to growing in zone 5.
Zone 3 grape varieties include Beta, Valiant, Morden, and Atcan.
- Beta is the original hardy grape with deep purple fruit that is ideal for jams, jellies and juice as well as for eating out of hand.
- Valiant is even hardier that Beta with fruit that ripens earlier.
- Morden is a recent hybrid that is the hardiest green table grape available.
- Atcan is a new blush grape hybrid with small grapes that are good for white grape juice, eating out of hand, and with the potential for use in winemaking.
Grapes suited for growing in zone 4 include Minnesota 78, Frontenac, LaCrescent, Elelweiss.
- Minnesota 78 is a hybrid based on Beta but with much better flavor and less hardiness, and is excellent for use in preserving and juicing.
- Frontenac is a prolific producer of heavy clusters of purple-blue fruit commonly used to make jelly and excellent red wine.
- LaCrescent is a golden-white grape that was bred for winemaking but is, unfortunately, susceptible to several diseases.
- Elelweiss is one of the hardiest and most disease resistant of the green grapes and is delicious eaten fresh or used to make sweet white wine.
Zone 5 grape varieties include Concord, Fredonia, Gewurztraminer, Niagara, and Catawba. There are many other cultivars suited to zone 5, but these are some of the most popular.
- Concord grape is ubiquitous with grape jelly and juice and is also good eaten fresh.
- Fredonia is a hardier version of Concord and ripens earlier.
- Gewürztraminer makes a lovely rich, full bodied wine and is one of the hardiest of the commercial white wine grapes.
- Niagara is a very popular cultivar noted for its delicious green table grapes.
- Catawba is a very sweet red grape that is used to make sweet or sparkling wines.
Principal Grape Varieties
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier have proven to adapt the best to variations in the climate and soil of the region. Chardonnay can be grown almost anywhere and there are numerous places where the two Pinots can be successfully cultivated but it is in Champagne where they reach their pinnacle in the production of quality sparkling wines. The marginal climate leads to a very drawn out season where the grapes often struggle to ripen. The grapes however, do achieve physiological ripeness at sugar levels lower than elsewhere whilst retaining all important acidity levels.
The three varieties share certain characteristics such as early ripening, speed of maturation, musts that are high in sugar content, with lifted bouquets of great finesse. Each variety also contributes its own unique addition to the group as a whole.
Chardonnay gives life, acid, freshness, and ageing potential to the blend.
Pinot Noir adds depth, complexity, backbone, strength, and fullness (what the French call “carpentry”).
Pinot Meunier is desired for its hardiness and its forward development making it very useful for non-vintage blends
Pinot Noir -is the dominant variety of the Montagne de Reims and the Cote des Bar and represents 37% of all the varieties. Their clusters are small, long and very compact. They have a thick skin, rich in colouring substances, contain very few pips and a large amount of juice. It is the earliest ripening of the three varieties and is perfectly suited to vineyards facing south or southwest. It prefers a dry, light, chalky soil and a coolish climate, which explains its success in both Burgundy and Champagne. It is vulnerable to cryptogamic diseases including mildew, oidium, and in particular gray rot. It is the most common of all grapes grown in the grand and premier crus and it produces abundant, relatively colourless juice. High in sugar content, it gives wine structure, and endows the wine with complex aromas of red fruits. It does not have the same elegance as Chardonnay but provides more weight and better depth. Pinot Noir is one of the oldest vines and because of this is genetically unstable and mutates easily. There are several hundred different Pinot clones in Champagne
Pinot Meunier is often thought of as the lesser variety lacking in finesse but is a vital piece of the blend. Meunier is grown for its hardiness and its ability to adapt to areas prone to risks of spring frosts. It is widespread throughout the Marne Valley, the Aisne, and the Cote des Bar. Like Pinot Pinot Noir it accounts for 37% of vine stock but unlike both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir it is not classified as a grand cru. The clusters are small, cylindrical and compact. They have thick skins covering very juicy but only slightly acid flesh. As it buds late and matures early it is suitable for sites with poor exposure or shallow sites prone to frost. Supple and fruity, Meunier has an intense bouquet that adds to the balance, making it fresh an round, but is quicker to evolve than the other two varieties. In a blend it helps to soften the strength of Pinot Noir and liven up the elegance of Chardonnay. It is particularly suited for wines that are destined for early consumption.
Chardonnay covers 26 % of the vineyard in Champagne, predominately in the Cote des Blancs, where it is the only authorized variety of grape. Historically Chardonnay was considered to be an inferior variety to the black grapes, presumed to only produce mediocre wines. The evolution and fine tuning of winemaking over the centuries has established Chardonnay to the point where it is now essential to the production of the greatest and most sought after cuvees. Chardonnay buds earlier than the two Pinots yet matures later. This may bring potential risks from spring frosts, and is susceptible to gray rot and oidium due to humidity levels which can promote disease. It also requires large amounts of sunshine to reach full maturity some eight days later than Pinot Noir. Naturally vigorous, Chardonnay, left to its devices may expend its energy on excessive foliage instead of ripening the grapes. The Champenois have overcome this problem however, by dense planting- with up to 7,500 plants per hectare, thus curbing growth.
Chardonnay as a variety brings finesse, lightness and elegance to a blend. Typically displaying floral and mineral elements in its youth, it develops into a honeyed, toasty richness as it matures. It is a wine that is slow to evolve and is highly sought after for its ageing ability.
Official authorization is confined to these three stocks cultivated in the 313 communes of the Champagne AOC. Their unique characters all add to the rich variety of flavours to be found in champagne
There are small pockets of varieties that were once grown but are no longer allowed to be replanted.
- Arbanne – An important variety in the Cote des Bar in the nineteenth century, it had a distinct floral bouquet that could dominate a blend even if only small amounts are used. Due to the grapes sensitivity to mildew saw it disappear even more quickly than Petit Meslier.
- Petit Meslier- one of the more important secondary varieties and mainly cultivated in the Cote des Bar but is in rapid decline. Highly susceptible to viruses and grey rot, it also tends to bud early which is when it is most vulnerable to spring frosts. It has the ability to ripen only in the very warmest of vintages. They tend to produce wines with higher alcohol levels. The wines are acidic yet fruity and reminiscent of Pinot Meunier.
- Pinot Blanc -was a mutation between Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. It is often confused with Chardonnay and it is only on close inspection of the foliage that the two varieties can be distinguished. Pinot Blanc has flat leaves, whilst those of Chardonnay are concave. Where Pinot Blanc has managed to enter vineyards in champagne it has generally occurred without the growers knowledge. The grape is inferior to Chardonnay producing neutral wines that have a high alcohol content and age badly. Its extensive cultivation in both Alsace and Germany is due to its potential high yields.
- Fromentau- is the term for Pinot Gris used in the Languedoc. It apparently has more body and a more pronounced fruity, tropical taste. It is found mainly in the Aubrey region of Champagne.
- Gamay- Banned by law in 1927, the application was delayed in order to allow growers to replant with noble varieties. In 1952 the use of the grape was finally forbidden. It can still be cultivated but only if the vines were planted prior to 1948, and the vine grower was more than 60 years old in 1952! This humble variety from Beaujolais is now surely taking its final bow.
Cropped: How to Grow Cold-Hardy Wine Grapes
Other plant breeders followed suit, and today there are a number of varieties hardy to Zones 5, 4, and even 3. Now’s the time to plant bare-root vines, but be forewarned: You won’t pick a single grape for three years, and four will pass before you see a robust harvest. Once established, though, vines will bear fruit for at least three decades.
As soon as all danger of frost has passed, plant the bareroot vines in 4- to 6-inch-tall mounds of soil. Space the vines 4 to 6 feet apart in rows 7 to 8 feet apart.
Cold-hardy grapes grow best in sandy or gravelly soils with a pH of 5.5 (about 0.5 to 1 point lower than conventional Vitis vinifera varieties). Have the soil tested and, if necessary, amend it with bonemeal and organic 10-10-10.
For a simple trellising system, sink heavy wood or metal posts about 20 feet apart along each row, and stretch 12.5-gauge wire horizontally between the posts, 2 feet above the ground.
Then stretch 15-gauge wire parallel to, and 12 to 18 inches above, the 12.5-gauge wire.
The first three years of attentive pruning and training will ensure success: During year one, choose two dominant shoots and remove the rest. Continue clipping lateral shoots through the growing season, but don’t touch any of the leafy growth on the leaders. The next year, select the strongest leader and tie it to the top wire. Allow two strong lateral shoots to grow, trained to the top wire, and remove all others. In year three, prune some buds from the upper vines, allowing one every 6 to 8 inches, and train two lower buds to the bottom wire.
Keep an eye out for pests. Grape phylloxera form galls (abnormal growths) on the leaves. Diligent cleanup and disposal of fallen leaves can help keep the aphidlike bugs at bay. Remove Japanese beetles, which can skeletonize grape leaves, by hand in the early morning. If more than 15 percent of the leaves are damaged by beetles, dust the insects with the organic pesticide pyrethrin.
Most cold-hardy grapes are ready for harvest in late September or early October, when the fruit softens as it becomes ripe and pulls away from the stems cleanly. Or, determine ripeness with a refractometer, a simple field instrument available at farm-supply stores that measures sugar density (it should read between 20 and 28 on the Brix scale, depending on the style of wine). Come harvest, hire at least 10 helpers to get through one acre at the proper speed. The window proves small, and a leisurely picking won’t do.
Grape growers in places like New England and the Upper Midwest used to be limited to a few varieties like Concord. Even these grapes didn’t always ripen in our relatively short growing season, and even when they did ripen, they were suitable mostly for jelly and juice. Their “foxy” flavor was nothing that wine drinkers wanted in their glass.
But all that is changing. The University of Minnesota has an active grape breeding program, and they have created new varieties that not only survive the northern winter, but can be made into wine that is excellent by any standard. Another group of winter-hardy grape varieties was created by the late Elmer Swenson, a private breeder from Osceola, Wisconsin.
Vineyards that will survive to minus 25, minus 35, some even to minus 40 degrees F. are now being planted in places like Minnesota and Quebec. Excellent wine is being produced and sold at these vineyards, and more vineyards are being planted as fast as the vines can be propagated. Hardy table grapes are also being planted. The world of grape growing has truly moved North!
From a few original and intrepid wine-makers, the business of wine making and grape growing in Vermont is taking off. There are more than a dozen registered wineries in the state, even more vineyards, and more are coming on line every year.
We are making award-winning wines from cold hardy grapes grown here in Vermont using grapes like Frontenac, Lacrescent and St. Croix as well as from more traditional varieties like Riesling. Our unique climate is also excellent for bee-keeping , apples and berries, and our meads, ciders and fruit wines reflect that. And don’t forget our Ice Wines, which are made from grapes that freeze on the vines, because we are among the handful of producers of this specialty dessert wine in the entire country.
Wine lovers the world over know the pleasure of local food and wine, hand-crafted by real people you can talk to, and reflecting the terroir of the place it is from. Our Vermont wine makers and grape growers are emerging from the heart of this tradition. The future looks bright, so pour and enjoy Vermont wine!
Some of the Grape and Wine Varieties of Vermont…
Red Wine Grapes
Frontenac is a very cold hardy vine and has borne a full crop after temperatures as low as -30 F. Frontenac wine typically has a pleasant cherry aroma with berry and plum evident in many cases. The color is usually a garnet red.
Marquette sets a new standard of excellence for winter-hardy red wine grapes. The wine is complex with berry, cherry, black pepper and spice, and is more tannic than other northern reds.
St. Croix has produced many award-wining red wines. It is widely grown in Minnesota, Connecticut and Quebec. St. Croix wines have a pleasant berry-like fruitiness in the nose and mouth.
White Wine Grapes
LaCrescent is one of the best of the new white grapes from the University of Minnesota. It thrives in VT producing wine with intense and delicious apricot flavor, good body and balanced acidity.
Riesling is a noble grape from alpine regions of Europe that adapts well to the Vermont climate. Riesling wine can be dry or sweet, with great body and complexity.
Traminette is a wonderful grape recently developed by Cornell. It is a hybrid of the classic Gewurztraminer, and produces a delightful, spicy wine that is the perfect complement to Asian cuisine.
Mead is wine made from honey. It is the oldest fermented beverage known to humankind. With the emergence of local beekeeping in Vermont, mead is experiencing a renaissance. Mead can be either sweet or dry and flavored with fruit or spices.
Cider can be fermented to make hard cider, a drink which before prohibition was more ubiquitous than beer. Ice Cider is a dessert wine made from cider that is first concentrated using Vermont’s natural cold and then fermented.
Fruit wines have been made in Vermont for decades. Made from combinations of apples, raspberries, pears, blueberries, cranberries and rhubarb. They can range from very dry dinner wines to sweet dessert wines.
The University of Minnesota initiated a breeding program for wine grapes in the mid-1980’s. In 2000, they completed a state-of-the-art enology lab and research winery. Today, they are recognized as having one of the top wine grape programs in the United States. Their goal has been to develop high quality, cold hardy, and disease resistant grape cultivars. Their website Cold Hardy Grapes presents information on wine and table grapes, their research and newly introduced cultivars, and licensed nurseries selling cold-hardy grapes.
Purdue University’s Grape Production Page contains numerous links to resources for growing grapes in cold climates.
Maintained by the University of Vermont, the Cold Climate Grape Production website specializes in information pertaining to cold climate production. Included are links to grapes videos, degree day accumulation for Vermont, UVM field tests, Vermont’s 2009 “State of the Industry”, IPM, Considerations for Starting a Commercial Winegrape Vineyard in Vermont, and the Vermont Wine and Grape Council.
South Dakota State University maintains SD Grapes for growers in the northern Great Plains, an area that contends with not only mid-winter cold, but also unpredictable temperature fluctuations in the fall and spring that further challenge variety acclimation and adaptation.
Cold Climate Cultivars, available through Iowa State University, focuses on cultivars that will withstand severe winters, mature during short growing seasons, and be productive.
In 2012, the Northern Grapes Project began conducting a series of webinars on cold climate grape production. The goal of the project is to study issues specific to northern grape production, including cultivar selection, winemaking, and marketing of these grapes.
The pancake-flat terrain of southern Minnesota is not widely known for its wines. But the Grape Breeding and Enology lab at the University of Minnesota (UMN) in St. Paul is working on changing that. Thanks to UMN’s viticultural researchers and a growing number of intrepid producers, Minnesota wine country—and cold-climate wines in general—may have more potential than previously thought.
Some 10,000 planted vines are presently under evaluation as part of UMN’s grape breeding and enology project, which is supported by a full lab and research winery. Last year, the institution made roughly 75 research wines. Recognized as one of the top wine grape research programs in the U.S., UMN not only specializes in grapevine development, it devises and teaches best practices for cold-hardy grapes (varieties that can survive winter temperatures below 20℉). Since 1996, UMN has introduced six cold-hardy hybrid wine varieties, including Frontenac, Marquette, and La Crescent, to the winemaking world.
Frontenac. Photo courtesy of Chris Granstrom of Lincoln Peak Vineyard.
In 2016, UMN released the Itasca hybrid, a lower-acid white variety that boasts heightened mildew resistance. The new grape is already drawing comparisons from the greater wine community to Sauvignon Blanc—and it’s one more hybrid that’s contributing to an estimated $400 million nationwide cold-climate wine industry (Minnesota’s wine industry alone generated more than $80 million in 2016), according to analysis by UMN Extension.
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“I think our project is doing some very good work with the industry,” says Matthew Clark, an assistant professor of grape breeding and enology at UMN. He points out that the breeding and enology project has been bolstered by regular winemaker roundtables, an energetic extension education staff, and collaboration with trade groups like the Southern Minnesota Wine Grower Alliance. “The UMN varieties have been very good at developing new wine-growing regions in areas typically considered unsuited for the task,” he says. “We’ve seen tremendous growth across the region.”
Though the program has been focused on wine-growing in Minnesota since its inception, Clark says it aims to provide producers worldwide with research-based tools to help aid in their winemaking decisions. “We know that these grapes perform very well in other parts of the country— around the world,” he says. “We’ve been working on relationships with producers in Europe and Asia.”
Nan Bailly of Alexis Bailly Vineyards in nearby Hastings testifies that the hybrid varieties can withstand the region’s merciless winters. But even with lab-backed fruit in the picture, there’s adversity. Some vintages, she says, there’s no crop. When there is, the high acid levels of Frontenac and Marquette call for careful blending. Bailly, who started her career making wine in the Loire Valley at age 18, says that though the learning curve is long, there’s single-varietal potential with these hybrids. “Frontenac,” she says, “is the beast that needs to be tamed.”
Chris Granstrom first planted Marquette in 2006, when it was still in its experimental infancy. A surprisingly good glass of the test wine made him commit fully to its future. His Vermont estate, Lincoln Peak Vineyard, is prone to bitter winters. Granstrom’s concern, however, is getting enough ripening days. His Frontenac and Marquette work hard to reach full maturity in the Champlain Valley, but the struggle can be good. “There’s argument,” he says, “that grapes grown in marginal areas end up making the best wine.”
Granstrom believes Marquette has serious potential as a dry table wine. He praises its light tannins, deep color, and cherry and bramble flavors. “I think our model for this wine would be lighter reds from areas like Austria and the Loire Valley,” he says. “We’ve seen that its bright flavors can be hidden by too much oak, so we go easy on the percentage of new oak we use.”
In an industry that demands patience—from the vineyard to the cellar—it’s no wonder we’re just hearing about Marquette. Clark says that it takes at least 15 years to conceive and release a new variety. Extensive DNA testing, resistance research, and winemaking analysis—along with the requisite patent and licensing work—stretch things out.
But cold-climate winemakers like Granstrom are excited to share the fruits of their labor with the wine world. “I’m sure there’s still room for fine-tuning site selection, growing techniques, and winemaking,” Granstrom says. “But we’re well on our way to making some very nice wine.”
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon, who is now based there. He spent a decade making, selling, and cleaning up wine in the Willamette Valley in between penning stories for a host of regional and national outlets. He adores Iceland, brown trout, aquavit, and grunge rock.