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Williston Research Extension Center    

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Jerry Bergman,
Director WREC
14120 Hwy 2
Williston, ND 58801-8629 voice: (701) 774-4315
fax: (701) 774-4307


WREC Horticultural Program


In cooperation with NDSU Plant Sciences, twelve plants each of sixteen grape cultivars were planted at the WREC in 2004 and are being evaluated for winter hardiness, fruit production and potential for wine making. Included in this trial are:

Some of the hardiest juice, wine and jelly grapes:

Valiant (V. riparia x Fredonia) - SDSU selection. Hardiest of the hybrid grapes. Blue. Fresh, juice, jelly. Disease susceptibility.

King of the North From WI. Hardy to -40 F. Red. Great Juice. Possible rustic table wine. Very vigorous vine - space further apart in the row (8' or more). Ripens late with high acid. 

 E.S.12-18-06 (has Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay grandparents) - Hardiness promising. Red. Dense Dark wine (little riparia-like in flavor, but distinctive.

 The above are being compared with these less hardy but more desirable wine grapes:

 LaCrescent (St Pepin x ES 6-8-25) - UMN. Hardy. White. Potential for good dessert or cocktail wine. Foliar phylloxera, downy mildew susceptibility. Less vigorous fruiting, less hardy than Louise Swenson. High acid if not fully ripened.

Prairie Star (ES 3-24-7 - Elmer Swenson) - Hardy to -40F. White. Table wine, good for blending. Susceptible to black rot and anthracnose and wind as tender young plant. Upright training trellis system. Good vigor and bearing.

Frontenac (V. riparia 89 x Landlot 4511) - UMN. Hardy to -37F. Red Wine (acceptabel). Ripens late Sept. Good resistance to downy mildew. Susceptible to black rot, powder mildew, anthracnose, phylloxera. May need irrigation in drought. High acidity and late ripening - problematic.

Frontenac Gris gray/white color/aroma sport from Frontenac. The same growth/cultural characteristics but different wine flavor. High acidity at harvest-has to be finished into a sweet dessert type wine.

St Croix (ES 283 x ES 193) - Semi-hardy (less than Frontenac). -28F. Red. Wine. Ripens mid-Sept. Not very prolific fruiting. but vegetatively vigorous. May do well in ND if grafted onto hardy rootstock, otherwise needs protection.

Sabrevois (ES 283 x ES 193) - Hardier sister of St. Croix. Red. Wine (fair). Vigorous, heavy producer. Good disease resistance. Higher acid than St. Croix when ripe. Big trellis to handle vigor.

Baltica (formerly Hasansky Sladky - amurensis, vinifera, riparia and labrusca cross) - Russian hybrid. Earliest ripening (mid-August in MN). Red. Wine-nice fruity light red wine. May do better by grafting onto hardy rootstock.

ES 5-4-71 (Eona x Kay Gray) - Hardiness Promising, but untested. White. Wine (okay). Good table grape. May be pH sensitive(>7.0).

Also included in this trial:

Somerset Seedless (ES 5-3-64 x Petit Jewel) - Semi-hardy. Red. Table grape. Not expected to be hardy for ND, but testing will tell (may work in more sheltered microclimates).

Bluebell  - UMN Hardy to -35F. Blue. Large berries. Ripens early/mid-Sept., possible iron chlorosis at pH >6.5. Slow production -begins well in 4th year. Table, juice, jelly.

MN 1131

MN 1200

ES 1553 A hardy rootstock.

River Grape  Vitis riparia the native grape obtained through the local NRCS.

 This project was made possible with funds from APUC.





The grapes are planted in N-S oriented rows 8 feet apart in the rows and rows 10 feet apart. The trellis is two-arm kniffen system which has been adequate to this point. A deer exclusion fence 7 feet high surrounds the planting. In 2006, drip irrigation was added and was used extensively during the dry late summer.

As of May 11, 2007 there were the following numbers of each cultivar surviving:

Valiant  (12)

King of the North  (12)

ES 12-18-06  (12)

LaCrescent  (12)

Prairie Star  (1)

Frontenac  (12)

Frontenac Gris (8)

St. Croix  (10)

Sabrevois  (10)

Baltica  (10)

ES 5-4-71  (5)

Somerset Seedless  (8)

Bluebell  (11)

MN 1131  (12)

MN 1200  (12)

ES 1553  (12)

River Grape Vitis Riparia (6)

All varieties except Prairie Star and LaCrescent bore some fruit in 2006. Prairie Star had poor survival after planting in 2004 and was not replanted. In 2006, 6 Vitis riparia were planted in that row.

Lorna Bradbury, Horticulturist
Williston Research Extension Center


(These will be clickable links in the future)
Small Fruit Production
High Tunnel

King Grapes

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