Minnesota Wine: The Grapes That Don't Mind The Cold

When you mention wine in the United States is it time to start talking about Minnesota? You'd think it would be too cold for grapevines, but scientists at the University of Minnesota have developed a quartet of grapes--Frontenac, Frontenac Gris , Marquette and La Crescent--than can handle sub-zero temperatures. Minnesota Daily reports on the grapes, and the surprising impact they are having economically in the state. Would you believe over 400 million dollars and 12,000-plus jobs?

Not familiar with the grapes? Marquette descends from Pinot Noir and Fontenac Gris resembles a Riesling. Other cold-climate grapes you'll find in Minnesota? Look for Bluebell, Prairie Star, Frontenac blanc, Petite Pearl, Foch and Saint-Pepin.

Interestingly enough, these grape-creating scientists are also savvy marketers when it comes to naming the grapes. As Peter Hemstad, who works in the horticultural department of the university and has developed some of these grapes, explained, "When naming a grape variety, we have to consider what is pronounceable, not just in Minnesota but throughout the country. We also need a name that will look good on a bottle.”

Have you heard of any of these grapes? And will you be uncorking a bottle of Minnesota wine anytime soon?