University of Minnesota Grape Varietals

The University of Minnesota is known worldwide for expertise in cold hardy varieties of grapes that grow well in the Midwest climate conditions with short growing seasons, which has helped shape the vineyards and wineries in the area.  Elmer Swenson can be credited with creating many of the finest grapes to grow in the Upper Midwest and used in research at the University of Minnesota.

Some grapes worth highlighting that produce fabulous wines in the Midwest include:



These grapes produce small, black berries in medium to large clusters.  Their deep garnet color complement its distinctive cherry aroma and palate of blackberry, black currant and plum.  This versatile grape can be made into a variety of wine styles including rose, red and port-style.  My personal favorite port-style wine is produced from Frontenac grapes.


Frontenac Gris

These wines present aromas of peach and apricot with hints of enticing citrus and tropical fruit.  A superb balance of fruit and acidity creates lively, refreshing wines.  Unique and complex flavors make this an excellent grape for table, dessert and ice-style wines.



This grape has an intense nose of apricot, peach and citrus.  This grape can produce superior quality off-dry or sweet white wines.  It is also excellent dessert or late-harvest style wine.



This grape is described as a cousin of Frontenac and grandson of Pinot Noir.  Its high sugar and moderate acidity lends itself to wines that are complex with an attractive ruby color, pronounced tannins and desirable notes of cherry, berry, black pepper and spice on both the nose and palate.


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