By: Gary Gao, PhD, Extension Specialist and Associate Professor and Ryan Slaughter, Research Assistant
The polar vortexes in 2014 and 2015 have hit many of the tender wine grape cultivars in Ohio very hard. There are several different ways to deal with winter injuries. One approach is to plant super winter hardy grape cultivars. Whatever cultivars are selected, they still need to produce good quality wine. Several cultivars from the University of Minnesota grape breeding program seem to be a good fit. The wine grape cultivars that have shown good potential are Frontenac, Frontenac Blanc and Frontenac Gris. All of them are from the University of Minnesota grape breeding program. We planted a few of them in our demonstration vineyard at OSU South Centers in Piketon.
One interesting cultivar is Traminette. The breeding work was done at the University of Illinois by Herb C. Barrett around 1965. He sent the cross to the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station grape breeding program at Cornell for development when he departed from Illinois. We planted several short rows of Traminette in 2014. This cultivar has done very well despite the cold temperatures in 2015. A few growers had reported significant winter injuries to Traminette in 2014.
Both Ryan Slaughter and Gary Gao extend our sincere appreciation to the Ohio Grape Industries Program for their financial support of our wine grape research and Extension program at OSU South Centers. Log on to http://www.tasteohiowines.com/ for more information on Ohio wines.