Growing grapes (Vitis vinifera hybrids) in the Northeast can be challenging due to the severe winters in this area. Hybridizers have created many newer varieties of grapes that have been shown to be reliably hardy in these cold northern areas. Those in the northernmost areas of the Northeast may need to provide winter protection so the buds survive freezing winter temperatures, but the vines themselves will survive and resume growth in spring.
A relatively new hybrid, Noiret has excellent flavor, producing a full-bodied red wine with peppery characteristics. The vigorous vines show resistance to powdery mildew, but require regular spraying. The fruit matures approximately October 1 in the Northeast.
Shown to be reliably hardy down to –33 degrees Fahrenheit, the variety Frontenac makes excellent red wine. Frontenac consistently produces a heavy crop of small black grapes in medium to large clusters. It has a distinctive cherry aroma and is suitable for making rose, port or other red wines.
Introduced in 2006, the variety Valvin Muscat produces an excellent muscat wine suitable for blending with other grape varieties. It produces highly flavored fruit with a lot of juice. Temperatures below 15 degrees Fahrenheit cause 50 percent of the buds to be killed off.
With its trunk hardy down to –36 degrees Fahrenheit, LaCrescent is an ideal white wine grape for growing in the northeastern United States. With proper care under optimal growing conditions, it is a very heavy producer. LaCrescent makes an excellent sweet white wine with its apricot, peach and citrus aromas. The fruits are high in acidity.