Friday, April 15, 2011

Evangeline Grape

This grape is officially known as its research name KW96-2 and as far as I know, hasn't been formally named.  Although this is not for us to name, we're for now calling it Evangeline, relating to it's Nova Scotia pedigree, as this grape is far to nice to have such a clinical name.  This grape was created by Dr. Jameison of the Kentville, Nova Scotia agriculture research station.  It is a cross of St. Pepin and Siegerrebe.

St. Pepin is a Hybrid bred in the United States from Seyval Blanc and Minnisota 78 by Elmer Swenson.  It is cold hardy to about -32 c and is known to produce white wine grapes with characteristics and flavours similar to Riesling.  It also possesses moderate disease resistance to both downy and powdery mildew. Siegerrebe was bred in Germany and is a cross of Madeline Angevine and Gewurztraminer.  It is very early grape with low disease resistance but from the grapes, fruity low acid muscat wines are made.

The resulting cross that resulted in KW96-2 possesses the cold hardy disease resistance of St. Pepin with the early ripening muscat flavouring of Siegerrebe.  Progressive testing of this variety at the Kentville research station and in test vineyards in Nova Scotia have found that this vine is a moderate producer of grapes that ripen 1-2 weeks earlier than L'Acadie Blanc, the Nova Scotia white wine standard. A few years back I was at the research testing station in Kentville in September and while L'Acadie berries were still hard and tart, the berries of KW96-2 were softening, sweet and had distinct flavours.

There is alot of excitement surrounding this new variety and several other crosses that have been created at the research station in recent years.  Tests of these new vines and production of grapes from them have lead to production of wine and wine quality testing.  Of all the varieties tested, KW96-2 rated among the highest by wineries and wine makers and did equally well when presented to a panel of seven (7) regional sommeliers.

This could be a very valuable grape in locations with short to very short seasons and moderately cold winters - locations like ours.