Selection of Grape Cultivars (varieties)

There are tens of thousands of cultivars (varieties) with 79 official species of the genus Vitis (grapes), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitis

The exact number of cultivars is hard to pin down, since new ones are created or discovered every year.

The Vitis International Variety Catalogue lists 23,000 grape cultivars. However, I searched for several in my study but they are not in this database. It is an ambitious project to list all the cultivars world-wide and I praise their efforts on this, http://www.vivc.de/

In the USA, there is also the National Grape Registry, http://www.ngr.ucdavis.edu/ which can help you track down grape varieties in the USA.

So with tens of thousands of cultivars, how did I decide which ones to select for this study.

First of all, only a thousand or so are utilized commercially around the world. To make my selection, for the past few years I searched for vines available for sale in the USA (importing vines from other countries requires long periods of quarantine and I do not have the time or interest for that).

Next, I looked for cold-hardiness and disease resistance. Many publications online were useful to this end, especially those by university extension services. This narrowed my list down to about 120 cultivars to be grown for this study.

Each cultivar has desirable characteristics and different uses - red wine, white wine, table grapes (a few of which can store for 6 months under refrigeration), jam grapes, juice grapes. Also, for making stuffed grape leaf dishes, the taste and texture of grape leaves varies widely among cultivars.

Some of these grapevines are already planted and producing; the remainder will be planted in Spring 2015-2018. Most cultivars require 3 years before they begin producing grapes and 5 years for full production.

Many wine grapes can also be used as table grapes.

Red wine grapes have higher sugar content and small berries yielding a higher ratio of skin to flesh. The skin imparts color and flavors into red whites, so more is better and smaller berries provides this.

White wine grapes are selected primarily on the taste of the wine produced.

Some red, white and blue grapes make unsatisfactory wine, but are excellent for fresh eating, freezing, jam, and/or juice.

Below are the cultivars under study, categorized by usage - many of the wine grapes can also serve as table/juice/jam grapes. All these cultivars are disease-resistant and zone 3-5 hardiness:

Red Wine

America (REJECTED, due to bad tasting grapes, however, very healthy plant and berries)
Arandell – too early for evaluation
Baltica – very early, very tasty
Cascade (Rosé) – productive, tasty

Castel 19-637 (REJECTED, diseased)
Corot Noir (REJECTED, diseased)
Crimson Pearl – too early for evaluation
DeChaunac (REJECTED, diseased)

Delicatessen - too early for evaluation
DM 8521-1 – too early for evaluation
ES 10-18-20 - too early for evaluation
Francis – delicious fresh, ‘Concord’ wine, some Anthracnose
Frontenac – delicious fresh, reported to make excellent wine

Geneva Red – fair bland taste, healthy berries, heavy mildew on leaves, reportedly makes good wine
Jukka (ES 5-4-16) – too early for evaluation
Landot Noir – too early for evaluation
Laurot (REJECTED, diseased)
Leon Millot – too early for evaluation
Lomanto -
too early for evaluation
Marechal Foch – delicious fresh, said to make good wine but fussy

Muench - too early for evaluation
Marquette - Anthracnose and Black Rot vary each year from mild to heavy, grapes are very tasty and said to make good wine

Michurinets (REJECTED, diseased)

Mystic Eyes – very early and delicious fresh, small clusters so use more canes
Noiret – too early for evaluation, may have trouble ripening
Norton (Cynthiana) – taste is fair, somewhat diseased, said to make good wine
Oberlin Noir – too early for evaluation
Petite Pearl – very healthy, on the tart side eaten fresh, said to make excellent wine
Polar Isaura (Concord-like) – too early for evaluation
Regent – too early for evaluation
Sabrevois – fair taste, reportedly makes decent wine
Skandia – too early for evaluation
St. Anna (Concord-like) – too early for evaluation
St. Croix – too early for evaluation
St. Paul – tasty, reportedly makes good wine, diseased leaves
St. Vincent – too early for evaluation
Steuben – too early for evaluation, blue grape for table, juice, wines: red, rose', blush, white
Verona – too early for evaluation
Vincent (REJECTED, diseased)

Wine King– too early for evaluation

White Wine

Adalmiina – best taste, one of the tastiest of the white grapes
Alpenglow (ES 6-16-30) – too early for evaluation
Aromella (REJECTED, diseased)
Brianna – too early for evaluation
Brilliant - too early for evaluation (Rose' wine)
Cayuga White(REJECTED, diseased)
Clondike – very tasty, said to produce excellent Riesling type wine
Dilemma – too early for evaluation
ES 8-2-43 – too early for evaluation
ES 10-18-14/15 - too early for evaluation

ES 10-18-30 – too early for evaluation
Frontenac Blanc – too early for evaluation
Frontenac Gris - semi-healthy but not very tasty fresh nor is wine
Geisenheim 318 – too early for evaluation
Itasca – too early for evaluation
Jubilee of Swenson – too early for evaluation
Kay Gray(REJECTED, healthy but not very tasty)
L'Acadie Blanc – very tasty, healthy, productive
La Crescent(REJECTED, diseased)
Louise Swensen – too early for evaluation
Minnesota Emerald – very tasty, said to produce excellent Riesling type wine, berries cracked after 2017 Fall rains
Mrs. Munson - too early for evaluation
Monastery Muscat
(REJECTED, diseased)
New York Muscat  (REJECTED, diseased)
Osceola Muscat(REJECTED, diseased)
Petite Amie – very tasty, healthy, productive
Prairie Star (ES 3-24-7) – too early for evaluation
Prairie Star – productive, however, racoons ate them all before they ripened, so you might say they are “racoon approved”.
Prestige – very tasty, some mildew on stems
Ravat 34 (REJECTED, diseased)
Reform– too early for evaluation
Sandy Moon – tasty, said to produce excellent Riesling type wine
Solaris - too early for evaluation
St. Pepin - too early for evaluation
Swenson White– too early for evaluation
Traminette (REJECTED, diseased)
Valvin Muscat (REJECTED, diseased)

Vidal Blanc -  too early for evaluation



Table/Freeze/Juice/Jam

Alden (REJECTED, diseased)
Alwood (REJECTED, diseased - Anthracnose)

Beta – tart fresh, great jam, productive
Bluebell – Delicious fresh and jam, productive

Caco (REJECTED, diseased – Anthracnose)
Campbell Early – early, delicious large berries
Candice (red seedless) (REJECTED, diseased)
Chontay (REJECTED, diseased)

Concord Seedless – tasty small berries
Delaware – too early for evaluation
Edelweiss – very tasty

Gertruda – too early for evaluation
Goff – too early for evaluation
Himrod (white seedless) (REJECTED, diseased)
Icydora – too early for evaluation
Interlaken (white seedless) (REJECTED, diseased)

John Viola – tasty, very productive
Jupiter (red seedless) (REJECTED, diseased)
Kay Gray - healthy but fair to poor taste fresh in Connecticut, not for wine making, some states report it is tasty in their climates
King of the North – tasty, very productive

Lorelei – best taste, one of the tastiest of the white grapes
Marquis (white seedless) (REJECTED, diseased)
Mars (blue seedless) – large berries, fair taste somewhat tart, 25% disease loss
Montreal Blues (ES 6-4-47, blue seedless) – tasty, productive

Moored (REJECTED, diseased)
Neptune (white seedless) (REJECTED, many years before grapes, then all grapes rotted)

NY98.0228.02 – too early for evaluation
Petite Jewel (Seedless) – too early for evaluation
Prairie Star – productive, however, racoons ate them all before they ripened, so you might say they are “racoon approved”.
Prestige – tasty
Price – too early for evaluation
Reliance (red seedless) (REJECTED, diseased)
Sandy Moon – tasty, said to produce excellent Riesling type wine.
Sheriden  – too early for evaluation
Somerset Seedless – tiny berries, tasty, uneven ripening, variable disease loss
Spartan Seedless – too early for evaluation
Suffolk Red (REJECTED, diseased)
Sunbelt (REJECTED, healthy but did not ripen in zone 5, needs longer season)
Swenson Red (REJECTED, diseased)
Thomcord – too early for evaluation

Trollhaugen – too early for evaluation

Valiant – too early for evaluation

Vanessa (red seedless) (REJECTED, diseased)

Venus (blue seedless) (REJECTED, diseased)

Wapanuka – too early for evaluation

Wild White -
v. large berries, too early for evaluation
Worden – fair fresh, great jam, productive, some disease

Yates (REJECTED, difficult to root and transplant, several efforts unsuccessful)

Zilga – too early for evaluation