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HOME FRUIT GROWING-- Grape Cultivar lists

Cultivars (cultivated varieties) on the following linked lists were assembled during 2010 for the Fruit Gardener's Bible, however space limitations did not permit most to be included.  They represent many of the most common and popular from across North America, as gauged from listing in sources, specialist lists, and Extension publications.  Other fruits can be found in the above reference, as well as other tips for choosing cultivars successfully. For sources, please see the links (on the left sidebar).

 

Choose your cultivars according to both your climate (see section above on the site) and whether you want them for table use (eating fresh), juice and jams, or wine making.  Don’t be afraid to experiment with different uses.  Just because a grape is listed as a wine cultivar, doesn’t mean it might not be quite tasty too eaten fresh or made into juice.  Likewise, some listed as table grapes make good home wines.  Muscadine cultivars are sweeter and improved over the species, and although good fresh are often best in jams and making a sweet, dessert wine.  You may see all the grapes other than muscadines referred to as “bunch grapes” since their fruit are more in clusters or bunches than most muscadines.

When choosing a cultivar, look for disease-resistant cultivars, especially if you live in a humid area prone to diseases on plants.  You may see the term “cracking” or “splitting” which refers to soft fruit skins splitting, allowing diseases to enter and fruit to spoil.  Some cultivars are resistant to skins cracking, and you may see this more often after heavy rains.  And note during what part of the season a particular grape ripens.  Those ripening late often are less prone to eating by birds.

Most grapes are self-fruitful, so cross pollination is seldom necessary. Brighton is an exception, and one of the few common varieties that is not self-pollinating, so it needs a partner to bear fruit. Nursery catalogs will usually state when a pollinator is needed for any cultivar. Some muscadines are female, so will need a self-fertile cultivar nearby.  Female muscadines may produce half the yield of self-fertile cultivars. 

In the millennia of culture, thousands of kinds of grapes have appeared and disappeared, but at present the list of available named cultivars is more manageable but still extensive. A good policy is to start with a standard cultivar or two.  Why not start out with one or two of the old reliable Concords if your season is long enough, one of the newer Minnesota cultivars if you live where it’s cold, or one of the muscadines if you live in the South?  Add others one by one, as your skill improves, and then, who knows? You may one day become known as the Bacchus on your block (Bacchus being the Roman god of wine). 

The following are usually available and among the best for home gardeners in various parts of the country.  You’ll find many more from specialty nurseries.

Table Grapes | Wine Grapes | Muscadines

Ta ble Grapes

The following are good for eating fresh or jams; those best for juice and wine also are noted. Hardy means into zone 5 usually, very hardy into zone 4 (see Wine Grapes below).  Season is often listed relative to Concord, its ripening considered mid-season.  Cultivars have seeds unless noted as seedless.  Many seedless grapes are originally from crosses of Thompson Seedless and Black Monukka.  Those marked * are among the most popular.  Those listed with blue or black fruit are often more purple or blue-black; those listed as white are often yellow-green. 

Cultivar

Fruit color

Season

Comments

Alden

black

mid

Very large berries, high yields, prune heavily and cluster thin, juice, wine with light muscat flavor

Beta

blue

mid

Very hardy, disease resistant, small/tart fruit best for jams

Black Monukka

black

mid

Seedless, hardy, best where summers are long/hot/dry

Bluebell

blue

early

Juice and jam, hardy

Brilliant

red

early

Good for the South, best eaten fresh, large leaves silvery beneath

Buffalo

black

early

Hardy, good yields, disease resistant, juice, high quality, slipskin, originally for wines

Campbell’s Early

blue

early

Like Concord only hardier

Canadice*

red

early

Juice, seedless, hardy, very sweet

Catawba

red

late

Hardy, needs a long growing season

Concord*

blue

mid

Hardy, juice, wine, main juice cv.; also found as a seedless cultivar

Delaware

red

early

Hardy, wine, skin may crack

Einset

red

early

Strawberry-like flavor, resists gray mold, seedless, hardy

Flame

red

late

Large fruit, good for South, the common red in stores, resists cracking

Fredonia

blue

early

Large berries, similar to Concord

Glenora

black

early

Seedless, disease resistant, orange-red fall leaves

Golden Muscat

golden

mid

Best in a hot, dry climate as fruit crack after rain; citrus flavor, large fruit

Himrod*

white

early

Seedless, golden when ripe, hardy, honey-like flavor, cane-prune

Interlaken

white

very early

Seedless, some disease resistance, Thompson seedless x Ontario hybrid

Jupiter

blue

early

Hardy, seedless, disease resistant, mild and sweet Muscat, good for the South

Kay Gray

white

early

Disease resistant, juice, wine, very hardy (MN)

King of the North

blue

mid

Very hardy, juice, vigorous, fruits at a young age

Lakemont

white

mid

Seedless, disease resistant, thin the large clusters, hardy

Marquis

white

mid

Large clusters, seedless, Labrusca flavor when ripe

Mars*

blue

early

Good disease resistance, hardy, vigorous, seedless, good for the South

Moore’s Diamond

white

mid

Hardy, juice, good for dry wine or champagne

Neptune*

white

mid

Good for the South, large clusters, mild and fruity, seedless, resists cracking

Niagara*

white

mid

Hardy, wine, juice, most popular native white

Ontario

white

early

Hardy, disease resistant

Princess

white

late

Sweet, also good for wine, good for the South, seedless

Reliance*

red

mid

juice, seedless, hardy, skins may crack in wet weather, good for the South

Remaily

white

mid

Mild European-style flavor, moderately hardy

Saturn

red

mid

Good for the South, thin clusters, mild flavor

Schuyler

black

late

Hardy, juice, also light red wines, needs cluster thinning, Zinfandel x Ontario cross

Seneca

white

very early

Old cultivar, few seeds, hardy, canes not spurs produce fruit, susceptible to powdery mildew

Sheridan

blue

late

Hardy, vigorous, fruit store well

Steuben

black

mid

Hardy, few problems, juice, wine, stores well

Suffolk Red

red

mid

Loose clusters, may have winter damage, Reliance is better choice

Sweet Seduction

white

mid

Golden yellow fruit, seedless, muscat flavor, good disease resistance

Thomcord

blue

mid

Seedless, cross of Concord and Thompson seedless

Thompson (seedless)

white

late

The standard found in stores, thin for larger fruit

Valiant

blue

mid

Similar to Beta only less disease resistance and larger fruit, hardy, good for juice

Van Buren

purple

early

Early to flower too so good for short seasons, hardy to zone 4, jams, juice, good for poor soils

Vanessa*

red

early

Good on east and west coasts, hardy, resists cracking, seedless, juice, pies, some pest resistance

Venus

blue-black

early

Good for the South, juice, red-orange fall leaves

Worden*

blue

early

Similar to Concord only more hardy (zone 4), vigorous, few problems, good for short seasons

   

Wine grapes

The following are generally grown for wines, but those also good for table use (juice, jams) are noted. A few often used for wine are in the list of table grapes. Hardy is generally into zone 5; “MN” are varieties from Minnesota (or MN breeder Elmer Swenson), many of which are even hardier (into zone 4).   “FH” are French American hybrids, “E” are European cultivars that are often harder to grow and less hardy.  Those listed with blue fruit are often more purple or blue-black, and are used for red wines.  Those marked * are among the more popular.  

Cultivar

Fruit color

Season

Comments

Aurore

white

early

hardy, tends to split, hardy; good for sweet wine, blending, FH

Baco Noir

red

very early

hardy, needs cluster thinning, good for short seasons and heavy soils; light wines, FH

Black Spanish

black

mid

One of best for South, good disease resistance, also table uses

Cabernet Franc

red

mid

E, better adapted than the next to the East and Midwest

Cabernet Sauvignon*

red

late

E, needs a long season, susceptible to disease, the famous red wine of France

Cascade

blue

early

Hardy, FH

Catawba*

white

late

Hardy; sweet wine or champagne, native, FH

Cayuga*

white

mid

 hardy, late bloom avoids most frost, vigorous, high yields; light, dry wine, FH

Chambourcin*

black

mid

Tart, red claret wine with peppery and spicy flavors, FH

Chancellor

red

mid

Hardy, mildew susceptible, FH

Chardonel

white

late

Hardy, Seyval x Chardonnay Ny state hybrid; dry wine, FH

Chardonnay*

white

early

E, famous European grape, fruit may crack after rain, good on west coast, top white wine grape

Chenin (blanc)

White

Mid

Good in cool areas where sweeter, fruity

Corot Noir™

blue

late

Hardy; red wines with cherry and berry aromas

De Chaunac

red

mid

hardy, needs cluster thinning, similar to Chambourcin, FH

Delaware

white

early

Native, best on fertile soils, fruit may crack with rain, mild flavor

Frontenac*

blue

mid

MN, good disease resistance, large clusters of small fruit

Frontenac Gris

white-pink

mid

MN, similar to Frontenac and from a bud mutation of it; fruity flavor white or blush wine

Gewürztraminer*

white

early

E, good in cooler regions, also good table use; sweet wine

Horizon

white

mid

hardy, high yield, fruity wine, FH

LaCrescent

white

early

MN, golden when ripe; apricot flavor sweet wine

LaCrosse

white

early

MN, Seyval parent; spicy aroma wine

Leon Millot*

black

early

Similar to Marechal Foch only more productive, FH

Louise Swenson

white

 

MN, very hardy, good table too

Malbec

Black

Mid

Needs sun, hot days and cool nights; plum notes to wine

Marechal Foch * (Foch)

black

very early

hardy, hardy; fruity, light wines or burgundy type, FH

Melody

white

mid

Hardy; fruity (apricot hint) wine, one of best native white hybrids

Merlot*

Black

Mid

Berry notes to wine, good for blending, popular

Müller Thurgeau

white

early

E, popular in northern European wine regions and in the Pacific Northwest; for Riesling type wine

Muscat Ottonel

white

late

For sweet wines, one of several Muscats available

Pinot Gris*

white

late

Thought a mutant clone of Pinot Noir, Italian clone is Pinot Grigio

Pinot Noir

red

late

E, classic red French grape, best in Pacific Northwest drier regions

Prairie Star

white

mid

MN, very hardy, also good fresh; non-foxy flavor, use to fortify lighter white wines

Riesling*

White

Late

For dry to sweet wines, flowery aroma, best on west coast; top white wine grape

Rougeon

red

mid

Hardy, high yields; mainly for blending, FH

Sabrevois

black

mid

MN, very hardy, vigorous

Sauvignon Blanc*

White

Mid

Good flavor, may get gray mold, top white wine grape

Seyval*

white

mid

FH, high yields, prune heavily, disease resistant

Seyve

white

mid

Hardy; wine with fruity aroma, Seyve-Villard 5-276 syn.

St. Croix

blue

mid

MN, very hardy, large clusters of large sweet fruit, good red wine

St. Pepin

white

early

MN, similar to LaCrosse only earlier, plant with it for pollination, table uses too; wines similar to Riesling

Swenson Red

red

mid

MN, stores well, also good table, may get downy mildew

Swenson white

white

late

MN, very disease resistant; flowery taste to wine

Syrah (Shiraz)*

red

early

E, popular in France, Australia and California

Traminette

white

late

Good yields, offspring of Gewurztraminer, hardy, FH

Vidal (blanc)*

white

late

FH, heavy yield, mildew resistant; good wine aroma

Vignoles (Ravat)*

white

mid

FH, late to flower; sweet wine with high acidity

Viognier

White

Late

May get powdery mildew, must pick ripe for best wine

Zinfandel

red

mid

E, also good table, best where mild winters and summers; fruity wine

 

Muscadines

Most are self-fertile, but some are female (F) so need a self-fertile cultivar with male flowers for cross pollination—these may be seen listed in catalogs as just male. Those with pink or red to bronze skins are often called “Scuppernongs”.  Those marked * are among the more popular.

Cultivar

Fruit color

Season

Comments

Black Beauty*

Black

mid

Large fruit, edible skin, good black, F

Black Fry

Black

early

F, disease resistance, similar to Fry

Carlos

bronze

early

Good for wine/juice

Cowart

blue-black

mid

Disease resistant

Darlene*

Bronze

mid

Large uniform fruit, one of best bronze, F

Dixie

red-bronze

early

 

Fry

bronze

early

F

Granny Val

Bronze

Mid

One of highest for yields

Higgins

bronze

mid

F

Hunt

black

early

F

Ison*

Black

Early

Good pollinator, large clusters, good yields

Jumbo

black

mid

F, large fruit, good disease resistance, sweet

Late Fry*

Bronze

Late

High yields, large clusters, vigorous

Loomis

black

late

F

Magnolia*

bronze

mid

Good fresh/wine/juice

Nesbit

black

mid

One of “hardier”

Noble

black

early

Some cold tolerance, good cv. for red wine

Pam*

bronze

early

F, large clusters, edible skin, heavy yields

Regal

black

early

 

Scarlett

red

mid

Vigorous, high yields, disease resistant

Southland

black

mid

Good disease resistance, very sweet

Summit

bronze

mid

F

Supreme*

black

mid

F, very large fruit, edible skin, resists disease

Tara

bronze

mid

 

Triumph

bronze

early

some hardiness, fresh or for wine

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