Wine Grape Varieties

A growing number of home winemakers are searching for information on quality grape varieties to grow in the backyard. Selection of the right varieties is important and several can be found in trade literature, university publications, nursery sales catalogues and over the Internet.

Wine can be produced from any grape of the Vitis Vinifera family but some varieties are better suited for winemaking than others in terms of their acid, sugar, flavour and aromatic components. Varietal wine produced from red French hybrids (e.g., Chambourcin, Leon Millot, Foch, DeChaunac, Baco Noir) will have robust aromatic flavors and full-body expression of tannins. White French hybrids (e.g., Seyval, Vidal, Vignoles, Traminette) tend to have a fruitier taste than do reds. You may pick up a peach, apple, apricot or even banana flavours and have floral aroma as you swirl and sniff the wine. The tannin flavours commonly found in red wines are due to phenolic compounds extracted from grape pips, skins and stalks during the crush and fermentation. They provide a strong, distinct taste in the mouth. Some may describe it as bitter or pungent and others may view it as a full-bodied character found in dry to semi-dry wines produced from French hybrids.

Europeans developed French hybrid grapes through very successful plant breeding programs. The intent was to improve insect and disease resistance in grapes, using American rootstock, without losing wine quality. This required very careful selection for taste, aroma and resistance genes.

Vinifera varieties are the best for producing excellent wines. Gardeners who wish to grow high quality wine grapes can rely on Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, or Pinot Gris vines to plant in their backyards. Resistance to diseases and insects is an important factor to consider when planting out your first few hectares of vines. Advice – join a local support group and listen carefully to all the advice that you can get.

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About The Author, Martin Rusett
Winelines, situated in London, U.K present an array of wine tasting events from from private tastings to corporate entertainment wine tastings. A Winelines wine tasting event may be arranged anywhere in the UK - or around the world. For more information visit : Winelines