September 18, 2017

Is Australian Chambourcin The Best?

Chambourcin is a very popular grape for winemakers in less extreme temperatures zones of the Midwest. However, like many hybrids, the grape isn't high in tannins and once vinified into dry red wine, it can be plagued by an overly vegetal taste.I haven't tried a huge number of Chambourcin wines - possibly fifteen to twenty -  but even to a fan of hybrid grapes like me, many were simply too … [Read more...]

Alternative Grapes Center Stage at 2015 Midwest Wine Conference

Wines made from more than twenty little known grape varieties will be unveiled and tasted at the upcoming Midwest Grape and Wine Conference in St. Charles, Missouri. Among those due to tickle the palates of conference participants, about five originally bred by the legendary 19th century viticulturalist, Thomas Volnay Munson.“The Munson varieties are one example among many of emerging, hidden … [Read more...]

Northern Hybrids- A New Class of Grapes

There is no shortage of hybrid grapes or classes of hybrid grapes these days.  French hybrids, German hybrids,  California hybrids, Cornell hybrids, Labrusca hybrids, Riparia hybrids;  the list goes on and on.  However, a new class of hybrids has emerged in the last twenty years or so, grapes we have come to call Northern hybrids.  These grapes are making wine grape growing practical in cold … [Read more...]

The True Value of Cold Hardy Hybrids

When the early members of the Minnesota Grape Growers Association (MGGA) first experimented with wine grapes in the early 1970’s, all the vines were cold tender or marginal at best.  Foch stood out as the hardiest of the French Hybrids, but we soon learned that it was devastated at –25 F.  The other available hybrids were also clearly cold tender and burying vines in winter was virtually universal … [Read more...]