Cold-resistant grape varieties developed in North Dakota

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 7:41 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MINOT & BURLINGTON, N.D. (KMOT) – North Dakota State University has developed two breeds of grapes that are adaptive to cold weather for grape farmers.

Winemaking has been around for thousands of years.

Urban Winery Owner Eric Hansen said his customers make about 20 to 30 batches every month.

“This is harvest time, so people are bringing me the juice that they get from the fruit on their property,” said Hansen.

Jeff Peterson, owner of Pointe of View Winery in Burlington, said he’s had valiant grapevines for 20 years. It’s a cold-resistant variety that was developed in the eighties at South Dakota State University, according to Hardy Fruit Tree Nursery.

“Even, ourselves, we have run a very small research program here in the vineyard and have for about 15, 16 years now,” said Peterson.

Greg Lardy, vice president for Agricultural Affairs at NDSU, said grape and wine groups have been petitioning the legislature to support formal grape research ever since the university’s research began more than a decade ago.

“It’s citizen-led, because they’re pointing out what the needs are, and then NDSU has been able to get grant funding,” said Lardy.

Harlene Hatterman-Valenti, a high-value crops specialist, said they ran experimental trials with grape species native to North Dakota and Europe.

“It isn’t quite as simple as just taking one of these and one of these and matching them together and saying, voila! There’s a lot more that goes into it,” said Hatterman-Valenti.

She said their work towards the new varieties could expand the roughly 40 acres of grape farms in the state, and they’re adaptable to North Dakota’s climate. These species are called Radiant and North Dakota Primus.

The VP for Agricultural Affairs at NDSU said the state’s grape growers and wineries can access the two varieties this year through market trade agreements with the NDSU Research Foundation.