These for me are good words. It’s no secret that my wife and I like to travel to far away wine regions to sample and learn but there is much to be gained closer to home.
We are lucky enough to have vineyards nearby in the embryonic wine region that is the Upper Hudson Valley Wine Trail. Every year, we help our friends prune, mow, and harvest — and in good years we can buy surplus grapes for our home winery. After raising grapevines for five years, I correctly concluded that a lot of people are better at growing grapes than I am.
North of Albany, New York, the short growing season and harsh winter limits the grapes that will last through the year and mature fast enough to reach phenolic ripeness. The University of Minnesota has produced some grapes that we consider “Northern grapes”: Frontenac and its sports, Frontenac Gris and Frontenac Blanc, Marquette (which although a hybrid, resembles a French grape), and white wine grapes LaCrescent and LaCrosse. There are also the Elmer Swenson varieties and some hardy grapes from Cornell. I’ve gotten grapes from Victory View Vineyard and Amorici Vineyard in our area.
I can buy grapes from California or the Finger Lakes or Chile guided by my winemaking goals and how much I’m willing to pay for them. If you use a good distributor (we use M&M Wine Grape Company), they’ll look after the quality and hopefully, get them to you in good time and in good shape....