Plant Family / Vitis - Grape Vines
Grape vines (Vitis) add an exciting dimension to the garden with their clusters of juicy grapes hanging like porcelain drop earrings, and their fantastic foliage that can clothe a structure beautifully. Turning ablaze with fiery crimson-tinted shades in the fall, they never fail to produce a very theatrical show. It may come as a surprise to many gardeners, but grapes can be quite cold-hardy and grow in cool climate areas.
There is a huge choice of varieties in the grape genus Vitis but all grapes share the same needs: full sun, good drainage and moderately fertile soil.
Cold-hardy, Vitis 'Brianna' produces large clusters of greenish gold grapes in early fall. The flavor is fruity with hints of grapefruit and pineapple when fully ripe. Perfect as a juice grape or as a light, semi-sweet table wine. A vigorous deciduous shrub, 'Brianna' is self-pollinating but will benefit from pollination with another variety. Good disease resistance and tolerance of temperature extremes.
Vitis 'Canadice' is a seedless labrusca grape variety boasting compact clusters of small red grapes in late summer. Firm and sweet, the grapes are juicy, with a touch of spiciness, and perfect for fresh eating, jams and jellies. A deciduous shrub with large, three-lobed green leaves, 'Canadice' is self-pollinating, productive and more winter hardy than most seedless grapes.
A leading grape for American wines and champagnes, Vitis 'Catawba' is a vigorous labrusca grape variety boasting ample sized clusters of copper-red, seedless grapes in early fall. Firm and sweet, the grapes are juicy, with a musky flavor and equally perfect for table grape, jams and jellies.
Bred for use in cold climates, Vitis 'Itasca' produces compact clusters of golden grapes in early fall. The fruit enjoys moderately low acidity levels and high sugar levels at maturity, producing a dry white wine that is light yellow to straw in color and has aromas of pear, quince, violet, melon, minerals, and subtle honey notes. A deciduous shrub with large, three-lobed green leaves, 'Itasca' exhibits excellent disease and insect resistance. This is the fifth cold-hardy wine grape released by the University of Minnesota.
Cold-hardy, Vitis 'King of the North' is a Labrusca grape variety boasting large clusters of medium to small, dark blue berries in early fall. Juicy and tart, it is perfect for juice, jelly or eating fresh. A very vigorous deciduous shrub, 'King of the North' is self-pollinating, productive and highly disease resistant.
Cold-hardy, Vitis 'Mars Seedless' is a vigorous seedless grape variety that produces medium-sized, compact clusters of dark blue grapes in late summer and early fall. Firm and sweet, the grapes are slipskin (having a tough skin that separates readily from the pulpy flesh), juicy, nicely flavored and perfect for eating, jams, jellies, wine and juice.
Highly popular, Vitis labrusca 'Niagara' is a vigorous grape variety boasting large clusters of greenish-white, seedless grapes in late summer and early fall. Firm and sweet, the grapes are juicy, sweet with a tangy flavor. 'Niagara' is considered to be a good grape for sweet white wines, fresh table grapes, jams, juices or jellies.
Widely grown in France, Vitis vinifera 'Pinot Meunier' is used to produce champagne, sparkling wines and rose wines. It resembles Pinot noir and is noted for its rich purple-black fruits and distinctive white downy leaves. It is among the most winter hardy of the red Pinot wines.