Grapes

Grapes

There are many vineyards in Tennessee growing many different grapes varieties.

This page covers grapes used for winemaking. Below is a list of varieties, their cultural characteristics, winemaking potential and typical growers' experience in Tennessee.

 

Grape Characteristics Cold Hardy Wines Made
Cabernet Sauvignon French, dark purple, upright growth, uneven yields due to cold/disease, late ripening, grafted vines can die from crown gall. TENDER Dry Red
Cabernet Franc French, dark purple, upright growth, uneven yields due to cold/disease, grafted vines can die from crown gall, more winter hardy than Cab Sauvignon. SLIGHT Dry Red
Catawba American, pink to red, very vigorous, large yields, drooping growth habit, very widely planted. HARDY White or Pink, Dry to Sweet
Chambourcin French Hybrid, dark purple, good yields, upright growth, very popular red for the eastern United States. MODERATE Dry Red
Chancellor French Hybrid, dark purple, avg. yields, upright growth, crown gall prone, losing to Chambourcin. MODERATE Dry Red
Chardonel Chardonnay-Seyval Hybrid, good yields, upright growth, hardy, wine tastes better than Seyval. MODERATE Dry White, Champagne
Chardonnay French, white, frost prone from early bud break, upright growth, uneven yields due to cold/disease, early ripening, grafted vines can die from crown gall. SLIGHT Dry White, Champagne
Concord  American jelly grape, purple, ripens unevenly, good yields, drooping vigorous growth habit. HARDY Red, Rosé, Dry to Sweet
Cynthiana Same as Norton, American, dark purple, very small clusters, average yield, late ripening, prefers sandy soils. HARDY Dry Red
Foch French Hybrid, dark purple, small clusters, good yield, early ripening, tends to rot, unstable color. HARDY Red, Dry to Sweet
Delaware American Hybrid, red, moderate vigor, good yields, fine blending wine. HARDY White or Pink, Dry to Sweet
Golden Muscat American Hybrid, white, vigorous, good yields, Niagara type grapey flavor. MODERATE White, Dry to Sweet
Merlot French, dark purple, upright growth, uneven yields due to cold/disease, early ripening, grafted vines can die from crown gall. TENDER Dry Red
Leon Millot Twin of Foch, somewhat earlier ripening, somewhat more stable color. HARDY Red, Dry to Sweet
Muscadines Southeastern, white & purple, bush-like growth, uneven yields due to cold, disease proof, very late ripening, crown gall, dies back in very cold winters. TENDER Sweet White & Red
Niagara White Welch's grape, like a white concord.
 
HARDY Sweet White
Norton Same as Cynthiana - see above. HARDY Dry Red
Seyval Blanc White French Hybrid, upright grower, being replaced by Chardonel, can taste vegetal in Tennessee. HARDY Dry White
Traminette Hybrid of Gewurztraminer, hardier, more disease resistant, white grapes, vigorous upright grower. MODERATE White, Dry to Sweet
Vidal Blanc White French Hybrid, upright growth, average yields and canopy, can make good Champagne. MODERATE White, Dry to Sweet
Vignoles White French Hybrid, upright growth, average yields of high quality Riesling like grapes. HARDY White, Dry to Sweet
Viognier White French grape, upright growth, average yields of high quality wine, success in Georgia and Virginia. SLIGHT White, Dry to Sweet
Zinfandel Californian, dark purple, vigorous upright growth, uneven yields due to cold and rot, tight clusters with uneven ripening, grafted vines can die from crown gall and cold. VERY TENDER Red, Dry to Sweet & Blush wines

For further information on grape growing in Tennessee, please see www.tvos.org or contact Dr. David Lockwood, Tennessee Plant Specialist, at the University of Tennessee: dlockwood@utk.edu