Cold Climate Grape Production

Cornell grapes publication.

Wine and Juice Grape Varieties for Cool Climates, written by viticulture specialists at Cornell University in New York, describes the broad range of varieties available for commercial use, as well as those with potential for home vineyards and roadside markets. Generally, the varieties described in this bulletin are adapted to cool climate growing regions. Some may be suitable for use in the Northeast, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic growing regions of the United States.

The University of Minnesota initiated a breeding program for wine grapes in the mid-1980’s. In 2000, they completed a state-of-the-art enology lab and research winery. Today, they are recognized as having one of the top wine grape programs in the United States. Their goal has been to develop high quality, cold hardy, and disease resistant grape cultivars. Their website Cold Hardy Grapes presents information on wine and table grapes, their research and newly introduced cultivars, and licensed nurseries selling cold-hardy grapes.

Purdue University’s Grape Production Page contains numerous links to resources for growing grapes in cold climates.

Maintained by the University of Vermont, the Cold Climate Grape Production website specializes in information pertaining to cold climate production. Included are links to grapes videos, degree day accumulation for Vermont, UVM field tests, Vermont’s 2009 “State of the Industry”, IPM, Considerations for Starting a Commercial Winegrape Vineyard in Vermont, and the Vermont Wine and Grape Council.

South Dakota State University maintains SD Grapes for growers in the northern Great Plains, an area that contends with not only mid-winter cold, but also unpredictable temperature fluctuations in the fall and spring that further challenge variety acclimation and adaptation.

Cold Climate Cultivars, available through Iowa State University, focuses on cultivars that will withstand severe winters, mature during short growing seasons, and be productive.

In 2012, the Northern Grapes Project began conducting a series of webinars on cold climate grape production. The goal of the project is to study issues specific to northern grape production, including cultivar selection, winemaking, and marketing of these grapes.