Marquette is one of a group of cold-hardy hybrid grape varietals bred and developed by Minnesota farmer Elmer Swenson and later by the University of Minnesota. A descendent of Pinot Noir, Marquette is a hardy and disease resistant grape that can ripen and develop in our short growing season. It can produce smooth, full-bodied smooth red wines with notes of cherry, pepper, tobacco and spice with pronounced tannins, moderate acidity and a deep ruby color.
Another Minnesota hybrid grape that is cold hardy to -35 below zero! It ripens with high acidity and sugar and can be made into a versatile, off-dry table wine or a deliciously rich and late-harvest style wine. At it’s best, LaCrescent can produce balanced, medium bodied wines with signature notes of apricot, peach and citrus.
Louise Swenson is another Minnesota hybrid grape, developed by pioneer grape hybridizer Elmer Swenson (and named after his wife Louise). Both tough and tender, this grape can withstand freezing winter temperatures and short summers, and still produce wines that are fresh and light-bodied with a pleasing minerality.
One of the world’s noble grape varieties, Riesling is a classic European grape that has been cultivated in cooler climates for centuries. While Vermont is a little “cooler” than this grape might like, with care in placement and some dedicated tending, it can be grown in mico-climate pockets in Vermont. It is a grape that reflects it’s terroir, and the wines made from it can vary widely in style. Typically, Vermont grown Reisling will have a mouth-watering aciding, a hint of sweetness and notes of pear and minerals.
This hybrid grape was developed by a French grape breeder in the 1930’s and is grown widely in Canada for ice wine production. It is relatively cold-hardy vine with a tough skin and a high acid and sugar content. For making ice wine, Vidal Blanc is left to freeze on the vine, then picked and pressed while frozen to extract only the sugars, resulting in a rich, viscous and sweet dessert wine with flavors of honey and tropical fruit. Look at those little grapsicles.