Variety

In order to maximize profitability varieties chosen must produce an economic yield, achieve the quality standard of the receiving winery, have fair market value, and be in demand. The selection of the grape variety to plant must first match the growing conditions of the site. Local temperature data should be analyzed to determine what varieties are best suited for the particular site. In addition to matching the site conditions, the variety should meet the long term market demand of the winery for which the grapes are grown. Choose a variety that is in high demand, or is a widely accepted variety. This will ensure the long term sustainability of the vineyard.

 

Grape Variety Descriptions

The following variety descriptions are provided as information only and are not variety recommendations. Always consult a number of sources including your winery before selecting varieties to grow. Information for these descriptions was gathered from a number of sources*. Not all the information presented may be applicable to grape growing areas in British Columbia.

Vitis vinifera

Origin

Thought to have originated in Moselle area, east France.

Maturity

Mid season

Plant Characteristics

Adapted to cooler areas. Fairly vigorous. Clusters and berries small. Yields low in France. Good winter hardiness

Wine Potential

Wines full bodied, and fruity, but neutral with neutral acidity. Often blended. Not in demand in British Columbia

Clones

Various Clones. Two certified in France


Origin

Cross derived from MullerThurgau, Riesling, and Sylvaner.

Maturity

Early

Plant Characteristics

Adapted to a wide range of climates. Vigorous. Easily sunburned. Large clusters.

Wine Potential

Low acidity, usually used for sweet wines. Muscat like or Sylvaner flavors. Often blended. Used to produce a dry, fruity wine in British Columbia. (Not in demand in BC)




Origin

Likely a native of Bordeaux, southwest France.

Maturity

Late, after Cabernet Sauvignon. Maturity difficult in North Okanagan.

Plant Characteristics

Quite vigorous. Very productive. Early budbreak. Moderate winter hardiness. Clusters medium size and berries medium.

Wine Potential

Wines are very aromatic. Age well. Alcohol, acidity and polyphenols medium. Often blended with Cab. Sauvignon and Merlot.

Clones

35 certified clones in France.

Insects & Diseases

Sensitive to grape leafhoppers. Fairly susceptible to Botrytis. Susceptible to powdery mildew.

Origin

Originated in the Bordeaux area of France or perhaps Italy.

Maturity

Late.

Plant Characteristics

Late bud break. Winter hardy. Low yields. Vigorous variety. Small berries and clusters medium but light weight. Low to moderate winter hardiness. Requires rootstocks to control vigour.

Wine Potential

The world’s most renowned grape variety for the production of fine red wines. Wines are dark and high in tannins when harvested at full maturity. Good keeping qualities. Age well in barrels

Clones

25 certified clones in France.

Insects & Diseases

Very susceptible to powdery mildew. Some resistance to Botrytis.

Origin

Ancient variety. Probably in the Middle East.

Maturity

Mid-late season.

Plant Characteristics

Moderate vigour, does best on fertile soils. Early budbreak. Moderately hardy. Sensitive to drought. Yields well.

Wine Potential

Most popular white grape in the world. High quality variety. Wide range of wine styles. Can be used for dry, sparkling or sweet wines. Ages well in barrels. Crisp, fruity wines produced in British Columbia.

Clones

Many clones. 31 certified in France. Early clones desirable.

Insects & Diseases

Susceptible to powdery mildew. Susceptible to Botrytis when vigour is high and grapes are ripe.

Pests

Powdery Mildew
Botrytis Bunch Rot

Origin

Likely originated in Anjou area in the Loire Valley of France.

Maturity

Late

Plant Characteristics

Vigorous variety that produces good yields. Early budbreak. Winter tender. Sensitive to sunburn. Early budbreak increases sensitivity to spring frost. Yields high. Clusters medium to large but berries small to medium.

Wine Potential

Produces dry, sparkling or sweet wines. Acidity high. Fruity. Generally ordinary wines.

Clones

Different phenotypes. Eight clones certified in France.

Insects & Diseases

Quite susceptible to Botrytis. Sensitive to powdery mildew.

Pests

Botrytis Bunch Rot
Spotted Wing Drosophila

Origin

Riesling x Sylvaner clone hybrid developed at Geisenheim.

Maturity

Mid season.

Plant Characteristics

Not hardy. Low vigour. Yields poor.

Wine Potential

Low acidity. Ages only for a short period. Full bodied, fruity and pleasant wines. Riesling characteristics. Not in demand in British Columbia.



Insects & Diseases

Disease susceptibility low.

Origin

Burgundy, France.

Maturity

Late due to high acid.

Plant Characteristics

Low - moderate vigorous with good production. Hardy. Can be sensitive to sunburn and shot berries. Needs to be thinned well. Clusters medium large and berries medium large size. Early budbreak.

Wine Potential

Wines of Beaujolais produced with this variety. Clone selection has improved wine quality. Wines are light, fruity, with good bright red colour but can lack tannins and aromatic complexity. High acid.

Clones

Various clones available.

Insects & Diseases

Susceptible to powdery mildew and Botrytis.

Origin

One source indicates that origin is believed to be Termeno, Italy, another the Pflalz region of Germany.

Maturity

Early

Plant Characteristics

Moderately vigorous variety. Sensitive to iron deficiency. Early budbreak. Sensitive to spring frost. Yields moderate. Clusters and berries are small. Hard to pick. Moderate winter hardiness.

Wine Potential

Sugar content high. High quality, low acid, scented, strong and robust wines can be produced. In demand.



Insects & Diseases

Slight susceptibility to powdery mildew and Botrytis.

Origin

One source suggests the origin is the Rioja Valley in Italy.

Maturity

Late season and loves heat.

Plant Characteristics

Upright and vigorous tending toward biennial crops. Does well in dry rocky slopes or fine sandy soils. Seems to do well in dry and windy conditions.

Wine Potential

Good blender, low in colour.



Insects & Diseases

Prone to bunch rot and if too vigorous is prone to coulure.

Origin

Riesling x Trollinger cross at Wurttembeurg, Germany.

Maturity

Mid season.

Plant Characteristics

Suited to cooler locations, but adapted to a wide range of sites. Hardy. Late budbreak.

Wine Potential

Produces a Riesling type white wine. High acid. Can be high quality. Icewines produced in BC with Kerner. Low demand.






Maturity

Mid season.

Plant Characteristics

Cold Hardy. Early budbreak. Vigorous.

Wine Potential

“Merlot like”, fruity wines with mild tannins. Reportedly has low levels of histamines.






Maturity

Mid-late season.

Plant Characteristics

Not hardy. Moderately vigorous.

Wine Potential

Produces an inky red intense wine. Used in blends with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon to produce Claret.



Insects & Diseases

Susceptible to powdery mildew and Botrytis.

Pests

Powdery Mildew
Botrytis Bunch Rot

Origin

Probably Greece or Asia Minor.

Maturity

Mid-late season.

Plant Characteristics

Vigorous. Adapted to drier soils. Moderate yields. Not hardy.

Wine Potential

Produces dry and sweet white and light red wines with high alcohol content and residual sugar.

Clones

Many clones.

Insects & Diseases

Susceptible to powdery mildew and Botrytis.

Origin

Origin unknown, possibly Bordeaux, France.

Maturity

Late.

Plant Characteristics

Low to moderate vigour. Not hardy. Sets good crops. Very sensitive to winter injury, spring frost and drought. Clusters are winged, fairly large. Berries medium size. Sensitive to boron deficiency. Best spur pruned.

Wine Potential

Most widely planted variety in Bordeaux. Wines are mild, well coloured, soft tannins and slightly acidic with a soft delicate flavour. May be consumed young, but benefits from aging in oak. Often blended with other reds, used in most Bordeaux blends. Good quality Merlots being produced in British Columbia.

Clones

15 certified clones in France.

Insects & Diseases

Good tolerance of powdery mildew. Susceptible to Botrytis. Susceptible to leafhoppers and crown gall.

Origin

Probably a Silvaner x Pinot Blanc cross.

Maturity

Early to mid season.

Plant Characteristics

Adapted to cooler climate regions. Good production. Berries have thin skin, prone to cracking and subsequent spoilage.

Wine Potential

Not a true Muscat type, but very pronounced Muscat flavour. Acids medium to high. Often blended.




Origin

Possibly a Riesling x Sylvaner or Chasselas cross. Developed by Hermann Muller at Geisenheim, Germany.

Maturity

Mid-late season.

Plant Characteristics

Vigorous plant. High yields. Sensitive to iron deficiency. Adapted to cool areas. Moderate spring frost resistance. Low winter hardiness. Clusters & berries medium size.

Wine Potential

Wines are alcoholic, aromatic with low acidity. Quality between Riesling and Sylvaner. Not in demand in British Columbia.

Clones

Seven clones certified in France.

Insects & Diseases

Sensitive to powdery mildew and very susceptible to Botrytis.

Origin

May be the oldest known grape, grown in the Mediterranean area for centuries.

Maturity

Mid season.

Plant Characteristics

Vigorous. Low yields. Early budbreak. Best in warmer sites. Not hardy.

Wine Potential

Makes semi sweet and sweet dessert wines with Muscat flavour.

Clones

Coloured strains.

Insects & Diseases

Very susceptible to powdery mildew. Very attractive to wasps.

Origin

Seedling of Robert Moreau.

Maturity

Early.

Plant Characteristics

Low vigour. Adapted to heavier soils. Sensitive to blossom drop. Good spring frost resistance. Somewhat winter tender. Clusters are small to medium and berries medium to large. Yields low. Not hardy.

Wine Potential

Produces dry and sweet wines. Wines are alcoholic, perfumy and aromatic. Also used as a table grape.

Clones

One clone certified in France.

Insects & Diseases

Susceptible to Botrytis.

Origin

Riesling x Sylvaner x Muller Thurgau.

Maturity

Early.

Plant Characteristics

High vigour. Yields moderate. Late budbreak. Winter hardy. Suited to a wide range of soils.

Wine Potential

Used for blending purposes in the Mosel-Saar. Ruwer region of Germany. Low acid. Used for dry and dessert wines in British Columbia.



Insects & Diseases

Very susceptible to Botrytis.

Origin

Muller Thurgau x Siegerrebe cross at Wurzberge.

Maturity

Early-mid season.

Plant Characteristics

Cold hardy. Berries medium size. Drought sensitive. Splits in the rain. Grown in North Okanagan and at the Coast.

Wine Potential

Produces full bodied, flavourful wines of high quality in good years. Low acid. Wines keep well. Delicate aromas. It has some Riesling characteristics. Often blended with Riesling.



Insects & Diseases

Moderate susceptibility to Botrytis. Sensitive to late spring frost. Attractive to wasps.

Origin

Bordeaux, France.

Maturity

Very late.

Plant Characteristics

High vigour. Adapted to light soils. Clusters small and compact. Moderately winter hardy.

Wine Potential

Produces powerful wines with high colour and spicy flavour. High acidity. Important variety to blend with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Used for colour.

Clones

Only one certified in France.

Insects & Diseases

Tolerant of Botrytis.

Origin

Burgundy, France. Mutation of Pinot Noir.

Maturity

Mid-late season.

Plant Characteristics

Productive with medium vigour. Adapted to light soils. Requires good site. Moderately hardy. Clusters are medium and berries medium.

Wine Potential

Produces wines similar to Chardonnay. Important variety in Germany. Wines are slightly robust and fruity. Also used for sparkling wines. Used to blend.

Clones

Various clones. Two clones certified in France.

Insects & Diseases

Sensitive to powdery mildew and Botrytis.

Origin

Mutation of Pinot Noir. Burgundy, France.

Maturity

Mid season.

Plant Characteristics

Vigorous with moderate production. Yields of newer clones better. Adapted to cool areas and dry soils. Requires good site. Hardy. Easy to grow. Clusters and berries are small.

Wine Potential

Large plantings in northern Italy. Pinot Gris produces high quality wines that are robust and aromatic, intensely perfumed. Can produce pink coloured wines.

Clones

Various clones. Three certified in France.

Insects & Diseases

Slightly susceptibility to powdery mildew and Botrytis.

Origin

Clone of Pinot Noir.

Maturity

Mid season.

Plant Characteristics

Late budbreak. Clusters large. Productive. Good winter hardiness.

Wine Potential

Grown to produce champagne in France. Blended with Chardonnay to make “Blanc de Noir” sparkling wines. Produced as a varietal and for sparkling wines in BC.



Insects & Diseases

Susceptible to powdery mildew and Botrytis.

Origin

Native of Burgundy, France. There are many different phenotypes.

Maturity

Late.

Plant Characteristics

Adapted to cooler areas. Not fully hardy. Difficult to grow. Sensitive to sunburn. Yields low. Best results when vigour ad yield are controlled. Clusters and berries are very small to small. Budbreak early. Winter tender.

Wine Potential

Difficult variety. Pinot Noir makes the finest wine in Burgundy. Wines age well. Sugar content is high and acidity low to medium. Colour intensity is moderate. Also used for sparkling wines. B.C. produces a variety of styles. In demand.

Clones

Many clones. 50 certified in France. Use early clones.

Insects & Diseases

Very susceptible to Botrytis and grape leafhoppers. Moderate susceptibility to powdery mildew

Origin

Pinot Noir clone x Cinsault cross developed in 1925 in South Africa.

Maturity

Mid season.

Plant Characteristics

Widely grown in South Africa. Difficult grape to grow. Small planting in British Columbia.

Wine Potential

Hearty dark red wine that ages well, often requiring aging. Pinotage has an unusual earthy character. Wines in demand.



Insects & Diseases

Low susceptibility to diseases.

Origin

Origin is thought to be the Rhine river area in Germany, but not determined with accuracy.

Maturity

Late.

Plant Characteristics

Adapted to a wide range of soils. Winter hardy. Vigour moderate to high. Yields can be variable. Budbreak late. Clusters and berries are medium.

Wine Potential

Wines age well. Acidity high. Alcohol content not high. Late harvested or Botrytis affected grapes can produce excellent sweet wines. Trend to drier style Rieslings.

Clones

Only one clone certified in France

Insects & Diseases

Some susceptibility to powdery mildew and very susceptible to Botrytis. Berry drop sometimes from grape stem rot.

Origin

Trollinger x Riesling cross. Germany.

Maturity

Late season.

Plant Characteristics

Adapted to cool areas of the Okanagan Valley. Winter tender. Grows well.

Wine Potential

Produces light red, fruity, early maturing wines. Also rose wines.




Origin

Italy.

Maturity

Mid season.

Plant Characteristics

Enjoys calcareous well drained soils, average vigour.

Wine Potential

Variable depending on yield.



Insects & Diseases

Relatively resistant to disease.

Origin

Italy.

Maturity

Mid Season.

Plant Characteristics

Enjoys calcareous well drained soils, low vigour.

Wine Potential

Variable depending on yield.



Insects & Diseases

Thin skinned grapes therefore prone to bunch rot.

Origin

Southwest or central France.

Maturity

Mid-late season.

Plant Characteristics

Very vigorous variety, best on low fertility soils and warm sites. Suited to South Okanagan. Mid season budbreak. Winter tender because of late wood maturity. Yields moderate. Insects & Diseases – Very susceptible to Botrytis because of tight clusters. Susceptible to powdery mildew. Very susceptible to erineum mite.

Wine Potential

Makes some of Europe’s most popular wines. Dry wines are very pleasant, aromatic, fine and balanced. Late harvested and Botrytis affected grapes produce high quality sweet wines.

Clones

20 clones certified in France.


Origin

Bred at Geisenheim.

Maturity

Early-mid season.

Plant Characteristics

Adapted to cooler locations protected from wind. Not fully hardy.





Insects & Diseases

Low susceptibility to Botrytis. Moderate winter hardiness. Medium yield.

Origin

Bordeaux area of France.

Maturity

Late.

Plant Characteristics

Fairly vigorous and productive variety. Adapted to lighter soils but sensitive to fertility. Clusters large and berries large. Budbreak mid season. Winter tender.

Wine Potential

Produces Sauternes wines. Often blended with Sauvignon Blanc. Dry wines of high quality and good keeping and aging potential. Good sweet wines can be produced from Semillon. Often blended. Used for dry and blended wines in British Columbia.

Clones

Seven clones certified in France.

Insects & Diseases

Susceptible to Botrytis. Susceptible to mites and leafhoppers. Low susceptibility to powdery mildew.

Origin

Gewürtztraminer x Madeline Angevine cross

Maturity

Very early.

Plant Characteristics

Adapted to cool short growing season areas Low vigour. Hardy. Productive, can over crop. Chlorosis on heavy soils. Very attractive to wasps and birds.

Wine Potential

Heavy perfume aroma and spicy taste. High sugar. Low acid. Best as a late harvest wine in Washington State.



Insects & Diseases

Susceptible to powdery mildew. Slightly susceptible to Botrytis.

Origin

Not known with certainty. Possibly originated in Persia, introduced to the northern Cotes du Rhone or Dauphine areas of France. Cultivated since Roman times. Should not be confused with Petit Syrah (Durif).

Maturity

Very late.

Plant Characteristics

Weak shoots that break easily. Sensitive to drought. Very susceptible to iron deficiency. Yields well. Winter tender. Budbreak fairly late. Clusters medium large and berries medium large.

Wine Potential

Wines are good quality with high alcohol. Aging improves quality. Characteristic fragrance. Wines are dark, strong and complex. Fruity rose wines can be produced with this variety.

Clones

16 clones certified in France.

Insects & Diseases

Susceptible to Botrytis when ripe. Sensitive to mites. Some resistance to powdery mildew.

Origin

Unknown.

Maturity

Mid-late season.

Plant Characteristics

Low yields.

Wine Potential

Produces a highly intense, floral and spicy wine. Muscat characteristics. Becoming popular in North America and Southern France. Has potential in B.C. Does not age well.

Clones

One certified clone in France.


Origin

Probably Italy.

Maturity

Late.

Plant Characteristics

Moderately vigorous, thin skinned, large bunches, spur pruned or cane pruned.

Wine Potential

Potentially very high quality.



Insects & Diseases

Susceptible to bunch rot and raisining.

Hybrid

Origin

French Hybrid.

Maturity

Mid Season.

Plant Characteristics

Cold hardy. Adapted to cool areas and light soils. Small clusters and small berries. Attractive to birds

Wine Potential

Can produce light, deeply coloured and strongly varietal, “Burgundy-like” red wine. Produces a medium dry wine in BC




Origin

East Europe.

Maturity

Early.

Plant Characteristics

Very vigorous. Early vine maturity. Subject to fruit drop.

Wine Potential

Can produce high quality Cabernet Sauvignon style wine. High acid and low sugar in poor seasons.



Insects & Diseases

Susceptible to powdery mildew

Origin

Ugni Blanc x S4986 French Hybrid.

Maturity

Mid –late season.

Plant Characteristics

Moderate cold hardiness. Moderately vigorous. Good production but fruit set can be poor sometimes. Winter hardy in New York. Clusters large, berries medium in size.

Wine Potential

Used to produce a range of wines from dry; to sweet, including late harvest and ice wines. Can have a Riesling like character. Wines have higher alcohol content. Used almost exclusively for ice wine in BC.