Varietal Trials - Grapes

A list of the grape varieties trialed to date In the Vineyard


  • Bluebell = (red text) Trial has ended for this variety.
  • Baltica = (green text) Promising variety that will remain on trial
  • Bianca = (black text) Limited trials will continue for short period of time.

Grape varieties:

Agria –             

Alpenglow – Limited time on trial. Lost all over 2012-13 winter.  Probably won’t ripen.

Arthur – Valiant x Manitoba V. riparia. Bred by private breeder. Very hardy. Roots appear to survive the winter.

Aurore – Appears too cold tender, but is so early to ripen that it may be useful in breeding

Baco Noir

Baltica – Excellent performer.  After two years at the farm, there was enough hardened wood to produce flowers the third year (2013).  However, a lack of protection killed all of these.  Currently on round two of trials.  It will be two years before they flower.

Beta – poor performer, growth appeared to require more heat, never hardened off in fall.

Bei Chun – Muscat Hamburg x V. amurensis. Bred in China.

Bianca – Grafted, but still shows some promise.  Good performer, but is slow to harden off.

Black Monnuka – a total surprise!  This vinifera variety not only survives, but grows strong and hardens off wood for the winter.  Growing season is too short to ripen fruit if it ever flowers, however.  All lost over 2012-13 winter.

Bluebell – fair performer worthy of second trial.

Brianna – fair performer, but requires longer season.

Buffalo  – bud break was delayed until late June (4 wks late). Poor performer

Burmunk – Grafted, white grape related to V. Amurensis. Vigorous grower, but not particularly hardy, especially grafted.  Hardened off early in fall.

C-16 – Severnyi x Manitoba V. riparia. Bred at U of Saskatchewan by Tyler Caban. 

Canadice – Not cold hardy enough.

Captivator – May not be hardy enough.  May run a second trial.  Good performer.

Cascade – 

Castel 19-637

Chontay – brief experience with cuttings suggested this might be a good variety to trial, but have not initiated second trial with rooted vines.

Clinton – poor performer that didnմ harden off very well.

Concord – poor performer.  Requires more heat and much longer season

Crimson Pearl – 

Dalniewostoznyd – Pollen parent of Baltica

Dilemma – Okay performer, but didnմ harden off in fall.

DVIT 1156-5 seedling – Seeds gathered from open pollinated V. amurensis at UC Davis.

(Norway) Early Wonder – Reportedly early ripening and cold hardy in southern MN.

Edelweiss – currently on second round of trials with new stock.  Strong performer, but slow to harden off in first year.  May not ripen early enough.

Einset – okay performer, but likely requires too long of a season.

Eona – 

ES 56

ES 80

ES 4-23-60 (2019/2021)– V. riparia x Riesling cross. Not especially hardy, but fairly early ripening. Unsuccessful at rooting cuttings in 2019.

ES 5-8-17 – V. riparia 89 x Siegerrebe.

ES 6-4-47

ES 6-16-30 – poor performer that requires more heat and longer season

ES 8-2-24

ES 9-7-48

ES 9-7-56 

ES 10-18-14 – 

ES 10-18-30 (2021) – Grandparents are Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Known to be hardy to -40F in MN. Ripens fairly early to high brix.

ES 15-53 (2021) – Open pollinated seedling of MN 78 that is used as a very cold hardy rootstock in MN and can slightly increase cold hardiness of scion.

ES M-1-27 – 

ES M-6-10 (2019) – Moderately early. Unsuccessful at rooting cuttings in 2019.

ES N-11-1/2 – 

Esprit (2019) 

Frontenac Noir – poor performer, too short of a season.

Frontenac Gris – same as Frontenac Noir, but bronze grape.

Frontenac Blanc – same as Frontenac Noir, but green grape.

Gewürztraminer – 

GR-7 – is related to Buffalo and also appears to have delayed bud break, but hardier, so will continue trial with new stock.

Golubok – Grafted, V. Amurensis cross. Early dormancy and strong growth.  Suspect graft failed first winter.  Cutting I rooted survived one year in pot, but died for unknown reason.

Himrod – strong performer, with enough wood hardened off prior to 2012-13 winter that it might have flowered.  All died that winter.  Is a relatively early variety, but not quite as early as Interlaken (a sibling).

Interlaken – While only grown from cuttings so far, it performed adequately. Has been grown (and fruited) successfully in a greenhouse in Anchorage.  Limited cold hardiness.  Will run second trial with rooted vines. 

Itasca – New release by U of MN. Not happy here. Does not harden off any new wood. Struggles to return the year after planting.

Ivan – very early red wine variety with limited availability.  Second trial (from cuttings) started summer 2013.  Suspect it is not very cold hardy.

Joffre (2019) – 

Jukka (2020) – (ES 5-4-16)

John Viola – did well in first trial with cuttings.  Initiated second trial with rooted vines summer 2013.

Kay Gray – very poor performer.  Died first winter.

Kee Wah Din – surprisingly good performer from cuttings.  Want to run second trial with rooted vines.

King of the North – poor performer that requires much more heat. 

L’ Acadie Blanc – 

LaCrescent – low vigor here.  Probably requires a longer growing season.

LaCrosse –returned with equal vigor for three years.  Appeared to have hardened off sufficient wood prior to winter 2012-13 to flower, but died.  Requires a long growing season, so probably wonմ trial it again.

Lakemont – Late ripening relative of Himrod.  Numerous trials all failed.

Landot Noir – Late budding (July 1), low vigor.

Leon Millot – possibly a good performer at the farm.  Was vigorous as cuttings.  Last summer we allowed two rooted vines to flower and fruit from buds developed at the nursery we bought them from.  The fruit remained small, but completed verasion in early September!  A taste test showed they were far from ripe, but some did taste like grapes, without being too sour – though they lacked sugar.  They may need a longer time to harden off wood in the fall, however.

Louise Swenson – very disappointing performance from a “very hardy” grapevine.  Louise had almost no vigor during the trial and failed to bud out after the first winter. Second trial under way (2020) after finding this was one of just a few grape varieties whose roots do not die each winter.

Lucie Kuhlmann – 

Madeleine Angevine – grafted vine.

Madeleine Sylvaner – 

Mandan – 

Marechal Foch – Did well from cuttings (was one of three that hardened off enough wood to bud from prior yearճ growth).  Have yet to trial from rooted vines, but requires longer season that sibling Leon Millot.  Makes better wine, though.

Marquette – a disappointing grape, considering the praise it is receiving in the Lower 48.  Marquette has very low vigor here and does not harden off wood for the winter.  We are currently on our second trial of this variety.  Some say it is prone to trunk damage in cold conditions, as well.

Marquis – 

Mars – a real surprise!  Mars seems to harden wood off fairly well in the fall.  It also has an early bud break.  Unfortunately, it was lost in winter 2012-13.  Enough wood had hardened off that it might have flowered.

Michurinetz – Russian V. amurensis x V. vinifera cross. Ripens early. Shuts down very rapidly in the fall.

MN 78 – was unsuccessful at rooting cuttings.  Need to start second trial.

Müller Thurgau (OP) – seedling that didn’t overwinter.

Niagara – excessively vigorous, but suffered from potassium deficiency and didnմ return after the first winter.  Requires long, warm growing season to ripen fruit.

Norway Red – Was unsuccessful at rooting cuttings.  Need to start second trial.

(x) Novae Angliae – natural cross between V. labrusca and V. riparia. AKA, the Pilgrim Grape.

NY 30454  – was a substitute for Aurore as a cutting.  Has Zinfandel in its lineage.  Was moderately vigorous, but never hardened off wood for the winter.  Iնe read about it being grown in England.

Optima – Grafted.  Not a good fit for the farm.  Not cold hardy.

Ortega – Grafted.  Is popular in some parts of the Pacific Northwest, but is too cool here for it.  Not cold hardy.

Osceola Muscat (ES 8-2-43) – Strong performer that suckers profusely (useful when above ground growth is killed by cold).  Literature suggests it is not quite as early to ripen as Baltica, but close.  New stock has not been on trial long enough to judge.

Perle d’ Csaba – European grape that is very early and used in many older crosses with V. amurensis.

Petite Jewel – unsuccessful at rooting cuttings.  Will start new trial with rooted vines in 2014.

Petite Pearl – 

Pinot Noir Precocé – earliest-ripening variant of Pinot Noir.

Prairie Star – Typical of cold-hardy varieties from the Midwestern US.  Requires more heat and a longer season than we have here.  Only trialed as cutting.

Price – had high hopes for this one.  Fairly cold hardy and early to ripen. Cuttings had low vigor and only a couple made it the second year.  None returned after that.  Still considering a second trial with rooted vines.

Ravat 262

Reliance – Trialed as cuttings.  Very low vigor.  Died first winter.

Riesling – 

Rondo – Grafted. This is a popular variety in Denmark and other cool summer areas.  Not particularly cold hardy.  Our first trial seemed to have low vigor, and then the trunk it was grafted to split open, killing it.  We plan to trial it again and place it in a hoop house.

Sabrevois – Sister to St. Croix, Sabrevois requires too long of a growing season.  Didnմ return after its first winter here.

SD 62-9-39 (2021) – Pollen parent of Valiant. Used in South Dakota breeding program. Very hardy.

SD 62-8-160 (2021) – Female V. riparia found near SD 62-9-39. Very hardy.

Seneca (2013) – Eastern US grape variety that performed well this summer, but was unable to ripen a well-developed cluster before a hard freeze.  The cluster was perfectly shaped and each berry was just under ½Ӡin diameter, but the grapes were extremely hard and sour.

Siegerrebe – bud break is too late (early July). Poor performer.

Sipaska – Surprisingly strong grower, with significant wood hardened off by first frost.  Canes can grow 5 ft in one summer.  May have flowered summer 2013 if all hadn’t died during winter 2012-13. Second trial underway (2020). One of a few varieties whose roots appear to survive the winter.

Skujins 675 – A short-season white grape from the Baltic region.  It has not been very vigorous for us.  It also did not have good cold hardiness.  Second trial started (2020) from cuttings. Appears more vigorous than rooted vines purchased previously. Late bud break, but can ripen quickly and even in very cool weather.

Somerset Seedless – shows low vigor and a tendency for leaf curl.  We tried more and less water, but neither reduced the leaf curl.  This is supposed to be the earliest seedless grape and relatively cold hardy.  It has difficulty hardening off wood for the winter.  Will continue to evaluate.

St. Croix – Difficult to root from cuttings.  Those that rooted died during their first winter.  St. Croix is known to have a root system that is less tolerant of cold than other similar varieties.

St. Pepin – Showed some promise early on, but had difficulty hardening off wood.  Likely requires a long growing season.

Suelter (2021) – Bred by Luis Suelter around turn of the century. Very hardy.

Suffolk Red – vigorous, late budding, but too cold tender.

Summersweet – (ES 5-3-35)

Swenson Red – bud break is too late (July 1st). Poor performer.

Swenson White – moderate vigor, but requires too long of a season.

Thompson Seedless – very surprising!  One of two survived first winter.  Growth rate was dependent on how dense soil was.  Figured they wouldnմ survive.

Totmur – Very early white wine grape.  Hardened off well, even from cuttings.  Was only variety besides Valiant and Marechal Foch to bud from previous yearճ growth.  Have started second trial with cuttings.  Putting them in the hoop house increased their vigor significantly (which was already good for a cutting).

Trollhaugen – poor performer and not cold hardy enough.

Valiant – mixed results with this variety.  While it is claimed to be hardy to -50F, hardiness requires that the new growth harden off.  Valiant is strongly dependent on day length to harden off (Lombough, Ron, The Grape Grower).  It is reported that Valiant is frequently dormant by the end of September.  During the fall in interior Alaska, day length decreases much more rapidly than in the Lower 48.  Here at the farm, Valiant does not begin going dormant until mid-September, with the result being that all new growth succumbs to the first hard frost (usually the 3rd week in September).  Initial trials with cuttings (which were rooted in March and thus provided a longer growing season), some hardened new wood was apparent.  However, those cuttings died (possibly due to winter dehydration).  The second trial, using rooted vines, ended with the winter of 2012-13, but no new growth hardened off in the prior two years.

Vandal Cliche (2019) – 

Vanessa – good performer, but unsure if it will ripen fruit.  Hardens off some wood each winter.

Vitis Acerifolia (2021) – from the southwestern plains area. Supposedly, can go dormant very quickly and is cold hardy to -35F. 

Vitis Amurensis – began trials with potted plants from Oregon, but they never grew much and eventually died.  Sprouted from seed January 2013.  Showed strong growth and the expected early dormancy I saw in the potted plants.  Much better growth than Oregon plants, so we are hopeful.  V. Amurensis is in lineage of Baltica.  Amurensis originated in southern Siberia/northern China and is known to be moderately hardy (to -30F), early to go dormant (the earliest here at the farm), and quick to bud out in warm weather (i.e., requires very short chilling period, between 30F and 45F).  A seedling that has been inside the house since last spring, broke dormancy on December 22, 2013, while still inside a 65F house).

Vitis Riparia 39 (2020) – Very early ripening wild vine from Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba (furthest north grape colony), has suffered from disease in humid environments. Unable to successfully root cuttings.

Vitis Riparia 64 (2021) – Same as Riparia 39, but not as early. Better disease resistance.

Worden – 

Zaria Siewiera – 

Zilga – Russian blue grape.  Has not been particularly vigorous at the farm.  Slow to harden off in the fall.  Started second trial in 2013, having lost others over winter 2012-13. One vine remaining, but is slowly increasing in size. With leaf-pulling can harden off about ½ of its new growth each year.