I heard from Steve Casscles the other day. He told me his authoritative book about cool climate grapes of the Hudson Valley and other regions of North America has been published in a revised and updated Second Edition that includes two new chapters on rarely covered 19th-century Heritage grape varieties developed in New England. Steve gave me a peek at a couple of interesting facts he uncovered in his extensive research.
Catawba is 1/2 vinifera, and Concord comes from Catawba and is 1/4 vinifera !! There are many Catawba and Concord hybrids so what we thought was all labrusca is really 1/4 or so vinifera.
Also that the ES Rogers hybrids have been forgotten and are really good grape varieties that were used by TV Munson for his many grape breeds, and Winchell, a chance seedling from VT is the basis of all the Cornell white wine grapes.
Steve also provided me with an in-depth look at what you can expect to find in his latest publication.
I am very pleased to announce that the newly revised second edition of Grapes of the Hudson Valley and Other Cool Climate Regions of the United States and Canada, 2nd Edition, Revised & Updated to Include New England Grapes is NOW IN PRINT AND AVAILABLE at http://www.flintminepress.com
This second edition contains two new chapters on rarely-covered 19th-century Heritage grape varieties developed in New England. I grow many of these varieties, such as the E. S. Rogers hybrids, Agawam, Salem, Massasoit, and Lindley, and grapes bred by E. Bull, Captain Moore, Diane Crehore (one of the few women grape breeders in the US). These New England heritage varieties are hardy, fungus disease resistant, & productive in the field, and make quality wines in the cellar and co-ferments in the brewery. These New England heritage grape varieties are now finding their way into co-ferment beer/wines. Many of the Rogers’ hybrids found their way into the grape varieties bred by TV Munson.
The book includes new revelations about the true genetic ancestry of grape varieties such as Catawba, Concord, Chambourcin, and Vignoles. It updates the genetic history of Catawba and Concord now that it is clear that Catawba is one-half vinifera (Semillion) in its parentage and that Concord is an offspring of Catawba, which means it is one-quarter vinifera in its genetic ancestry. This is a significant revelation because there are many Concord and Catawba heritage hybrids such as Iona, Jefferson, Diamond, Diana, and Dutchess, which have now conclusively been determined to have significant European vinifera heritage. Further, it conclusively delineates the ancestry of the French-American winemaking grape varieties Chambourcin and Vignoles (thanks to Dr. Bruce Reisch for pointing out the new genetic information about Vignoles).
It evaluates over 200 cool climate grape varieties with an eye towards assisting fruit growers and winemakers across the United States, Canada, Northern Europe, and Northeast Asia to identify grape varieties that are hardy, fungus disease resistant, and productive so that they can be grown either in a sustainable manner with minimal pesticide applications, and in some cases organically.
This second edition will offer guidance to our struggling growers and wineries going forward as we jointly face our increasingly changing climate. The Cool Climate grape varieties that this book covers could help our local growers to identify and grow grape varieties that can be grown more sustainably, are productive and make quality wines, beer/wines, cider/wines, and distilled products.
Copies can be purchased at http://www.flintminepress.com.
Thank you Steve for your tireless efforts to provide us with this important information. The answer to the threat of a changing climate poses to our vineyards may lay in these long-forgotten grape varieties.
Photos Courtesy: Steve Casscles