La Crescent: A Winemaker’s Grape

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9 Responses

  1. Patrick says:

    Very interesting article, Katie! There are a couple wineries here in Ohio that make very nice LaCrescent wines. I do hope someone can solve the berry-shelling problem…perhaps a nutritional disorder?? Good luck on that.

    • Katie says:

      I’ve found some literature stating that berry shelling in V. vinifera can be caused by high nitrogen content in the soil, so my guess is that there is a good probability that vine nutrition plays a role.

  2. Jeremy Haese says:

    Great article but it just keeps me guessing. I’m thinking about adding an acre of white next year and was going to plant it in Lacresent but I’m on the fence. I would like to hear from people making wine, what do you like to work with (cold hardy) to make a dry white and semi dry. I would also like to hear from the people growing Lacresent if you could would you replace and if so with what? Thanks

  3. Patrick says:

    Jeremy – I don’t think there’s really a cold-hardy substitute for LaCrescent; its flavor profile is just hard to match with anything else. Frontenac Gris or Blanc come to mind as being quite cold hardy, but flavors are quite different from LaCrescent. Katie mentioned that the berry shelling problem might be related to excessive nitrogen, but I wonder about that….the worst shelling problem I have encountered with LaCrescent was in a vineyard whose soil is almost pure sand….unlikely to be very high in nitrogen. Just a thought…

    • Katie says:

      Just to clarify, I am making no statements regarding the source of the shelling problem. I only mentioned nitrogen because there is some literature supporting it in V. vinifera. When I made the statement earlier, I was only supporting your theory that it could be a vine nutrition issue. It may have nothing to do with nitrogen.

      • Patrick says:

        Good clarification, Katie. I obviously misread your first statement. Best of luck to anyone who is researching the shelling problem; the wine quality of this variety is just too good.

  4. Irv Geary says:

    Just a few points on LaCrescent. First, I agree there is no equal in the cellar. A good LaCrescent can rival any white made in the US, in my own opinion. In the vineyard it is a beast. Jeremy, yes it is more difficult to grow but don’t be afraid of it. Further, because people are reluctant to grow it you can charge more for it. We will pay $1 per pound for it because its in short supply. Also, if you have a site with thin soils the growth is more controlled and manageable. Lastly, we have learned that there is little you can do with sharttering so we harvest as soon as it starts. If you get the clusters in the sun at fruit set your clusters will be ready when shattering begins.
    Good luck all and let me know if you have LaCrescent to sell.

    Irv Geary
    Wild Mountain Winery

  5. Bob Raatz says:

    The wine is too good from this variety for people to be discouraged from growing it. If you are able to rise to the challenges in growing it you will be rewarded. It is not a variety for all sites or growers. In a vineyard I tend I’ve addressed the vigor issue by dividing the canopy vertically to a Smart-Dyson Ballerina training system. Remember, it is new growth that is most susceptible to disease, so if you balance the vine and get it to stop growing once it has filled the trellis you will be that much better off. The divided canopy not only helps address the vigor issue but opens the canopy to facilitate air circulation and sunlight penetration. The site does have excellent air circulation as well and I’ve had great success with La Crescent there with very little disease. The fruit dropping does happen, but I would say the ideal ripeness for the variety happens just before it typically drops its fruit. My suspicions are that the fruit drop or “shelling” is more genetic than anything else.

    • Katie says:

      Interesting that you are doing a Smart-Dyson Ballerina training system with LC… I know of at least one grower finding success with Geneva Double-Curtain. Maybe a split canopy is the way to go. I’m glad you agree that the wine is too good for people to give up on the vine. Keep up the good work!