Grape Research at Vineyard Innovations
Aromatic Whites
The site of our Research Vineyard in the Grand River Valley Appellation is well suited for growing aromatic white wine grapes.  We started white grape development early in our breeding program knowing that novelty in this area would be well accepted in the region.  We are utilizing our best hybrids pure native American species v. riparia, v. longii and v. bicolor for disease resistance and cold hardiness along with select v. vinifera (Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Perle of Csaba, Petite Manseng, Viognier and others) to provide a dazzling array of potential aromatics and flavors.  Seedlings are first selected based on performance with respect to disease resistance and cold hardiness.  The few that remain are evaluated for cluster and berry size, fruit chemistry and of course aromatic and flavor potential.  Progress in this area is very promising and it is likely that new and exciting aromatic whites will be among the first of our varieties to reach commercialization.

Full Bodied Reds
The tannin in full bodied red wines are essential to both their enjoyment and their longevity.  At Vineyard Innovations we have made it a priority to incorporate highly tannic varieties in our breeding program right from the start.  Among the heavy hitters are Tannat, Cabernet Sauvignon, Durif (a.k.a. Petite Sirah), Syrah, Nebbiolo and others.  Being vitis vinifera, these tannic wine grape varieties lack the cold hardiness and disease resistance needed to survive and thrive in many regions where winters are cold and summer rains are common.  Additionally, these varieties tend to ripen very late which poses a challenge in all but the very warmest sites with the longest growing seasons.  However, through hybridization, these traits can be improved by incorporating the earlier ripening traits of American species like v. riparia and v. longii.  Breeding new robust and sustainable full-bodied red wine grapes is a significant challenge but it is one that we feel is well worth the effort.

Elegant Reds
At Vineyard Innovations, we have made it one of our goals to create new wine grape varieties that match elegance and complexity in the glass with toughness in the vineyard.  Those who have tasted a finely made Pinot Noir know that there is something both special and unmistakably memorable about the experience.  To bring the charms of this ancient variety to vineyards in regions with less hospitable climates, we are breeding Pinot Noir with the best of our hybrids and select wild species.  By working with winegrowers in the Willamette Valley, Oregon and the Grand River Valley in Northeast Ohio, we expect new releases from this effort to be tested alongside their kindred benefactor providing some some memorable experiences of their own both in the vineyard and in the glass!