St. Vincent: Missouri’s Mystery Grape

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6 Responses

  1. Katie Maurer says:

    We grow St. Vincent in Michigan and have recently been making a rose’ from it – our Pink Satin. My father originally bought the vines from Boordy Vineyards in Maryland back in the early 1990’s. He never was able to go back & get any information on St. Vincent’s parentage either. It’s a mystery!

  2. michael koch says:

    We too grow St. Vincent grapes and have found them to be easy to manage and they do well in our climate in the New Bloomfield area.

  3. St. Vincent seems to do best made in to a Port style wine in Central Ohio. Willow Hill (now closed) made port from it for years and it has been continued by Signature Wines. An amateur of portuguese background started many making it from my St. Vincent. If I don’t sell mine (not much left as I took most out) I use it as a blending grape as it adds some nice color. Has pretty high acid levels, higher than Chambourcin always.

  4. Eric Pool says:

    I spoke with your Australian reporter, (sorry can’t remember his name, but very much enjoyed speaking with him) and bud/freeze damage is worse than I had previously believed(My glass is always 1/2 full). My St. Vincent seemed to winter much better than most varieties. The Norton was unfazed, with the Cornell hybrids taking the biggest hit. With 17 seasons under my belt, I have mixed feeling on St. Vincent. I like its late ripening, but if you try to let the acid drop out and get the brix over 20, the grapes all end up on the ground as you try to pick them. It may be ideal for machine harvesting, but is the worst “hand-harvester” I got.

  5. St. Vincent first came to the attention of Scott Toedebusch in 1973 who was managing a vineyard owned by Lucian W. Dressel that lay west of Schell Road in Augusta, Missouri. The remarkable size and health of the vine, and the fact that there was only a single vine in the vineyard, first brought it to our attention and led us to propagate the vine further and make wine from it.

    At first we thought that this unique vine might have come to us in a collection of vines that we had purchased from Philip Wagner at the Boordy Nursery from whom we had purchased all of our French Hybrid grapevines. We sent cutting of the vine to Wagner who propagated them, grew grapes and made wine from them. Wagner said that the vine did not come from his collection, he had never seen it before, and that it was a unique vine. At the time we were calling the vine ‘Stomboli” because the leaves turned a bright red in the fall, and the vines had volcanic production. Wagner suggested that a more melodious name would be ‘St. Vincent” and that that name would reflect the fact that the wine had a resemblance to Pinot Noir. We concurred and thereafter call the vine ‘St. Vincent.” (See Exhibit E — 1)

    After eight years the mother vine began to show signs of decline and eventually died. We had two plant experts from the Missouri Fruit Experimental Station (James Moore and Larry Locshin) come to Augusta to look at the vine. They suggested that we dig up the entire vine and that they take it back to the fruit station at Mountain Grove, Missouri for examination. Brian Kampmann and Scott Toedebusch tried to dig the entire plant out of the ground, but found that the plant had virtually no lateral roots. After digging down below 24 inches it was obvious that the plant was growing from a tap root and was not a rooted cutting that was planted by us but rather a plant that had come up from a seed and had a tap root as only a plant which had come up from seed could have done.

    The spot where St. Vincent was growing was 100 feet from where we had once had a row of Pinot Noir. The strong Pinot Noir character of the wine suggested that one parent of St. Vincent was Pinot Noir. However, St. Vincent also had some very definite features found only in French Hybrids. The only French Hybrid growing next to the Pinot Noir that could be involved in cross pollenization was Chambourcin. If DNA analysis of St. Vincent is done in the future we would suspect that it would reveal this parentage.

    The original pollinator was obviously a bird. Every year the robins ate the entire Pinot Noir crop from the 50 vines we once had. Fortunately, one of them had re-deposited one of the seeds while sitting on a blank section of wire 100 feet up the line. In those days we used no herbicides and tied up every thing resembling a grape vine that came out of the ground. What began as a chance seedling has now become a commercially important grape in many parts of the United States.