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American Grape Varieties

I just finished reading an excellent article suggested by the website Drinklocalwine.com. The article Indigenous American Grape Varieties, A Primer by David Mark Brown is available on Plate Press. The author begins with the question, “Can American Vitis species produce wines that compare with those made from vinifera on a global stage?”

In this article, Brown emphasizes the six species in the Vitis genus, which are native to North America.  The six included in the article are rotundifolia, vitis rupestris, vitis mustangensis, vitis labrusca, vitis riparia and vitis aestivalis. For the wine lover, look for names such as Muscadine, Scuppernong, Concord, Niagara, Baco Noir, Marechal Foch, Frontenac and Norton.

Brown included a photo of the oldest known grapevine in North America. It is a muscadine grapevine located on Roanoke Island, North Carolina. This immense grapevine is called the Mothervine.

I found Brown’s summary very interesting and agree with him. “So make an effort to discover which hybrids and native varieties are best suited to your region and sample the best that your local wineries have to offer. You may be surprised to find that your new favorite wine has no European heritage at all.”

As you visit local wineries be on the look out for some of these unusual wines and decide for yourself which ones you enjoy.

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