The Mountain Times

°F Sun, April 20, 2014

Central Vermont's Most Popular Weekly Newspaper

Vineyards expand perserving Vermont’s rural landscape

Rural land seems under threat from residential and commercial development all over the state and developing wineries and vineyards could be a good agricultural alternative to big box retail and self-storage buildings creeping up along country highways.

Quite a few new wineries have opened in recent years, bringing the number to over a dozen. It is a young industry with even younger vines, but excitement seems to be growing over the success and quality of wines produced in Vermont. Despite famously harsh climate.

While it still is a challenge, a few pioneers of wine growing have developed new varieties which make it possible for vines to age long enough to produce grapes for wine.

Some of the varietals successful in Vermont are French hybrids such as Leon Millot, Baco Noir, Seyval Blanc, Vidal and Cayuga. Other vines in the ground include cold-hardy clones of central European varieties like German Riesling or Austrian Zweigelt, or such newly developed varieties as Vignoles, Traminette, Lacrescent, St. Croix, Louise Swenson, Frontenac, or Marquette.

Many are already successfully grown in Vermont and if you find a bottle of wine made in Vermont, you probably find one or a few of these listed on the label of some surprisingly delicious wines.

A distinction, however, needs to be made between wine 'made in Vermont' and made in Vermont 'from Vermont grown grapes,' as many Vermont wineries use purchased fruit from other regions to make their wines.

There does not seem to be enough grapes grown in the state to fill the demand, so it almost seems a necessity to come up with additional juice to stay commercially viable. Many also blend imported grapes with Vermont-grown grapes to stretch the yield for a particular winery.

So far there is no real regulation for what can be called "Vermont wine," so the use of blends with local grapes still is most often called a Vermont product. The destinction becomes even more complicated when considering the origin of other ingredients, such as yeast.

The verdict is still out, but it is worth giving wines from Vermont wines a try; blended or not.

Tagged: Wine, Wine Experiments