Grapes for Cold Climates

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20180803A Valiant www.gov.mb.ca.jpg

‘Valiant’, an older variety of hardy grape. Source: http://www.gov.mb.ca

When I first moved to Quebec City 45 years ago, in AgCan zone 4 (about USDA zone 3), I was told you couldn’t grow grapes here, that it was just too cold, plus the growing season was too short.

In fact, that wasn’t quite right: even back then, there were a few hardy, early maturing grapes … and a few hardy gardeners trying them. So I followed the advice of a few local growers … and found grapes to be, in fact, very easy to grow. And the choice just keeps improving, as you’ll see by the fairly long list below … and I don’t even pretend it covers them all.

Hybrid Grapes are Best

In general, the vines that best withstand the short summers and cold winters of northern climes are hybrid varieties: crosses between the European vine (Vitis vinifera), renowned for its large, sweet fruits, but slow to mature and somewhat to very frost-tender, and various North American species with small and rather tart, but often very, very cold hardy and also quick to mature.

Hybridizers keep working on creating even better varieties and new ones are launched nearly every year.

Varieties Worth Trying

Here are some cultivars of interest. If you garden in a colder region, a few are certainly going to be available in your local garden center, but … you’ll find a much wider choice by turning to specialist fruit nurseries!

White Grapes

20180803B itasca www.winesandvines.com.jpg

‘Itasca’, a recent introduction from Minnesota. Source: http://www.winesandvines.com

  1. ‘Adalmina’, zone 4
  2. ‘Brianna’, zone 4b
  3. ‘Delisle’, zone 4
  4. ‘Edelweiss’, zone 4
  5. ‘Eona’, zone 3
  6. ‘Himrod’, zone 6
  7. ‘Itasca’, zone 4
  8. ‘Kay Gray’, zone 3
  9. ‘Osceola Muscat’, zone 4b
  10. ‘Polar Green Seedless’, zone 4
  11. ‘Prairie Star’, zone 3
  12. ‘Quebec Muscat’, zone 4
  13. ‘Roland’, zone 3
  14. ‘Seyval’, zone 4
  15. ‘Skookum’, zone 5b
  16. ‘St. Pepin’, zone 4
  17. ‘Swenson White’, zone 3-4
  18. ‘Tango’, zone 4
  19. ‘Vandal-Cliche’, zone 3

Blue Grapes

20180803C Montreal Blue www.greenbarnnursery.ca.jpg

‘Montreal Blue’ is popular in Quebec. Source: http://www.greenbarnnursery.ca

  1. ‘6447’, zone 5
  2. ‘Beta’, zone 2
  3. ‘Big Blue’, zone 4
  4. ‘Blue Bell’, zone 3
  5. ‘Concord’, zone 5
  6. ‘Earliblue’ (‘Early Blue’), zone 3-4
  7. ‘Fredonia’, zone 3
  8. ‘Frontenac’, zone3b
  9. ‘Frontenac Gris’, zone 3b
  10. ‘Hogan’, zone 4
  11. ‘Itasca’, zone 4
  12. ‘Kandiyohi’, zone 5
  13. ‘Magenta’, zone 4
  14. ‘Maréchal Foch’, zone 3
  15. ‘Marquette’, zone 3
  16. ‘Mars Seedless’, zone 4
  17. ‘Minnesota 78’, zone 3
  18. ‘Montreal Blue’, zone 4
  19. ‘New York Muscat’, zone 4
  20. ‘Pionnier’, zone 4b
  21. ‘Radisson’, zone 3
  22. ‘Sovereign Coronation’, zone 4
  23. ‘St-Croix’, zone 3
  24. ‘Trollhaugen’, zone 5
  25. ‘Valiant’, zone 3
  26. ‘Venus’, zone 6

Red Grapes

20180803D Reliance www.starkbros.com.jpg

‘Reliance’ is a popular red table grape. Source: www.starkbros.com

  1. ‘Canadice Seedless’, zone 4
  2. ‘Einset’, zone 5b
  3. ‘Petite Jewel’, zone 4
  4. ‘Pink Pearl’, zone 4
  5. ‘Reliance’, zone 3-4
  6. ‘Siegerrebe’, zone 5b
  7. ‘Somerset Seedless’, zone 4
  8. ‘Swenson Red’, zone 3-4
  9. ‘Tuscany Red’, zone 2-3
  10. ‘Vanessa Seedless’, zone 4

Sources for Hardy Grapes

Canada

Hardy Fruit Tree Nursery

Corn Hill Nursery

Green Barn Farm

USA

Northeastern Vine Supply

Stark Bro’s

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