Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Exploring hybrid grapes

Rist Canyon Vineyards
In recent years Colorado wineries experimented with growing hybrid grapes and making wine from them. Merlot and Chardonnay, grape varieties you may be familiar with, are called vinefera grapes, traditionally used for making wine. Vinefera grapes grow well in areas where fruit trees, such as peaches and cherries, grow. In many parts of Colorado the growing season is too short and the temperatures dip too low in the winter. There are French and American Hybrids, such as Foch (red grape) and Chambourcin or Norton the premier American hybrid grape grown in Missouri. Along the Front Range some people have been busy planting vineyards and educating others to do the same. North of here there is Rist Canyon Vineyards, who recommends Foch at the elevation of 7,300 feet. Stonebridge Farms in Lyons grows Esprit, a white grape, amongst others. And Leistikow Farms in East Boulder County grows hybrid grapes and sells them to local wineries.

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