November 25, 2009
Contacts: See end of release
NNY Agricultural Development Program Posts Wine Grape Trial
Northern New York – Can Northern New York farmers grow cold-hardy grapes
and make commercial quality wine?
Results of Northern New York cold-hardy wine grape variety trial
research funded by the Northern New York Agricultural Development
Program and Cornell Cooperative Extension Northeastern NY Commercial
Fruit Program say yes. Trial data is now posted on the Northern New York
Agricultural Development Program website at
In 2005, Cornell University Extension’s Northeastern NY Commercial Fruit
Program established a 300-vine vineyard at the E.V. Baker Agricultural
Research Farm in Willsboro, NY, to evaluate 25 different cold hardy wine
The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program, seven local
grape and wine producers, the Lake Champlain Grape Growers Association,
the Cornell Grape Program, the Cornell Wine Analytical Lab and the New
York Farm Viability Institute all participate with this Willsboro Wine
Grape Trial project.
Project leader Kevin Iungerman, a Cornell Cooperative Extension tree
fruit and grapes educator, says, “Commercial wine grape production and
the making of quality wines from grapes grown in Northern New York are
quite attainable by agricultural entrepreneurs in the Upper Hudson and
Champlain valleys of New York state.”
Seventeen of the 25 cultivars in the trial were projected as able to
produce 5 tons or more of fruit per acre in 2008. Iungerman, however, is
cautious, because the winter weather has been mild since the vines were
“We have data on bud break, cane growth, bloom, capfall, berry set,
veraision, projected yields per acre and juice and wine sampling.
Virtually all of the cultivars in the trial have done quite well to
date,” Iungerman says, “however, we must wait for yet-unfolding extremes
of climate and weather constraints.”
He notes that the 2009 live node evaluation showed winter injury levels
despite the mild winter conditions.
“The spring frost pattern appears to be emerging as the greater cold
threat to wine grapes in the Eastern Northern New York region more than
absolute winter cold,” Iungerman says.
Fine Wine Possible with Cold-Hardy NNY-Grown Grapes
The first finished wine from five red grape cultivars and six white
grape cultivars from the Willsboro trial vineyard was made in 2008 at
the Cornell Wine Lab at Geneva, NY.
“The wines made at Geneva indicated that quality wines are indeed
possible to be had despite the non-traditional and colder Northern New
York production region,” Iungerman says.
Continuing research is identifying practices to improve fruit quality,
production and winemaking techniques to suit the unique characteristics
of the Northern New York-grown grapes.
“I fully expect this research to aid several pre-commercial vineyardists
to move their vineyard and winery ventures to a commercial level,”
The small vineyards of the eastern Northern New York region include:
• Altamont Vineyard, Altamont
• Blue Stone Vineyards, Willsboro
• Edgewater Farm, Willsboro
• Hid-in-Pines Vineyard, Morrisonville
• Kayaderosseras Vineyards, Greenfield Center
• Natural Selection Farms, Cambridge
• Purple Gate Vineyard, Plattsburgh.
Other NNY Willsboro Wine Grape Trial participants include Bow Vineyard
of Weathersfield, VT, and Maple Gate Farm of Randolph, VT.
The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) is a
farmer-driven research, outreach and technical assistance program,
serving farmers in NY’s Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and
St. Lawrence counties. Learn more at
Funding through the 2008-2009 New York State Budget and the support of
NYS Senator Elizabeth O’C. Little (45th Senate District) underpins
NNYADP on-farm research at the Cornell E. V. Baker Research Farm at
Willsboro, W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute at Chazy, Cornell
Uihlein Maple Research Station in Lake Placid, and on operating farms in
Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties.
Additional funding from the New York Farm Viability Institute and
Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station supports projects
being conducted across the entire six-county NNY region in 2009. Learn
more at www.nnyagdev.org. # # #
Project leader/Tree Fruit and Grapes Extension Educator:
Kevin Iungerman, 518-885-8995, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cornell Cooperative Extension Crop Educators for Northern NY:
Clinton County: Peter Hagar, 518-561-7450
Essex County: Anita Deming, 518-962-4810
Franklin County: Carl Tillinghast, Stephen Canner, 518-483-7403
Jefferson County: Mike Hunter, 315-788-8450
Lewis County: Joe Lawrence, 315-376-5270
St. Lawrence County: Stephen Canner, 315-379-9192
Northern New York Agricultural Development Program:
Co-Chairs Joe Giroux: 518-565-4730; Jon Greenwood: 315-386-3231