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 early hybrids with 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) that will provide a dazzling array of potential aromatics and flavors.  Hybrid seedlings are selected early 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
If you are familiar with wines made from most hybrid red grapes, you know that there is something that is almost always missing, tannin!  We have made it a priority in our breeding to introduce highly tannic varieties right from the start.  Chief among the heavy hitters is Tannat, a tannic monster from the Southwest part of France.  If you haven't experienced Tannat, consider that Cabernet Sauvignon is often used as a blending component with Tannat to SOFTEN the wine!  Being vitis vinifera, Tannat lacks the cold hardiness and disease resistance needed to survive and thrive in many regions.  Additionally, Tannat ripens very late which would be a challenge in all but the very warmest sites.  However, through breeding, these traits can be improved using native American species like vitis bicolor, vitis longii and vitis cinerea as well as Asiatic species like vitis amurensis.  Breeding these 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 and longevity 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 less vinifera hospitable locales, 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!