SLN Catalog Home


Grape Culture
Grapes grow best in rich gravelly-loam soil. They should be supported on a 2-strand wire fence or on a trellis, and, in very cold regions, pruned to a low-headed double trunk, so that the tough woody part stays close to the ground and the more flexible canes can be bent down to be covered with mulch in winter. Although our Planting Guide gives some basic information on planting and caring for grape vines, but a good book on grape culture is indispensable to the serious grower.

How long before they fruit?
With proper cultivation and care, grape plants will start to produce in 3 to 4 years. This will vary with soil type and climate.

Most grapes are self-fruitful; however, St. Pepin requires a pollinator, and should by interplanted with other cultivars. In fact, all varieties can benefit by some cross-pollination.

Grape plants should be spaced 6 to 8 feet apart, with 6 to 8 feet between rows.

E—Extremely hardy, to -50oF or colder.
V—Very hardy, to -50oF with occasional winter injury.
M—Moderately hardy,to -40oF with occasional injury.
P—May need extra protection in Zones 3 and 4. Hardy only to -30o or -40oF.

Price — 1 ft. plants $9.00 each, $75 package of 10 (mixed varieties--customer's choice)

Choose grape varieties from the table below.
Variety Hardiness Parentage Description
Beta E-V Concord X Vitis riparia Blue slipskin, small, tart, best used for jams and jellies. Extremely hardy, vigorous, and disease resistant. Ripens mid-September.
Bluebell V Beta X Unknown Medium size blue slipskin, good for fresh eating, juice and jelly. Ripens early September with Worden. Sweeter and larger than Beta and Valiant.
Brianna V Kay Gray X ES 2-12-13 A French-American hybrid bred by Elmer Swenson in WI ;and released by Iowa State in 2001, Brianna has thick-skinned green-gold berries that can be made into white wine or used as a seeded table grape. Matures late August.
Edelweiss V-M MN 78 X Unknown White slipskin. Ripens early, baring heavy clusters of fruit. Excellent for juice and fresh eating. Produces a fruity wine with a "foxy" flavor.
Fredonia M Champion X Lucille Blue slipskin, large, excellent for juice, fresh eating and wine. Similar to Concord but 2 weeks earlier. 
Frontenac V Vitis riparia X 
French hybrid 
Landot 4511
One of the hardiest wine grapes bred to date. Fruit quite small, produced in large, loose clusters. A good grower with marked resistance to most common grape diseases. Makes an excellent red wine.
Frontenac Gris V Vitis riparia X 
French hybrid 
Landot 4511
Originating from a bud mutation of Frontenac, this grape is essentially identical to it except for its color. It is pink-white instead of red. Produces an excellent white or blushed white wine.
Kay Gray M Open Poll. Seedling of 217 (Minn. 78 X 
Golden Muscat)
White slipskin, good for fresh eating and juice. Very disease resistant. Matures late August. Juicy and sweet, low acid. Good for homemade wine, but commercial winemakers have difficulty clarifying it.
King of the North E-V Wild seedling Medium to large blue slipskin Concord-type grape. Produces tight clusters of sweet fruit good for fresh eating and juice. An incredibly vigorous grower, producing 5-6 times more growth per year than any other in this climate. Establishes quickly; fruits at a young age.
LaCrescent V MN 1166
St Pepin X ES6-8-25
One of the best white wine selections from the Univ. of MN breeding program. Loose clusters of fruit turn a golden brown when fully ripe. The fruit's delicious apricot-like flavor is imparted to wines.
Louise Swenson E-V ES 48-33 One of Elmer's hardiest selections, Louise makes a very fine white wine. May also be used as a table grape.
Marquette V MN1094 X Ravat 262 Univ of MN cultivar produces an outstanding red wine. It shows high disease resistance and is very hardy. Ripens in mid-Sept. Berries small to medium, with high (25.9) brix.
Prairie Star V ES 2-7-13 X ES 2-8-1 One of the new Swenson crosses, possibly even hardier than Frontenac (to -40 degrees F.) Small to medium white grape, excellent for fresh eating and for wine. Produces a non-foxy, full-flavored wine; often used in a blend to fortify thinner white wines. Ripens mid-September.
Sabrevois V (MN 78 X Siebal) X
(MN 78 X Seneca)
Produces medium-size clusters of dark, nearly black, berries that make a high qulaity red wine. One of the most vigorous and hardy of the Elmer Swenson crosses out of MN.
Somerset Seedless V ES 12-7-98 At last our first hardy seedless grape! Rosy, medium size fruit with an indescribably wonderful taste. Ripens early (mid Sept) and berries often retain a slightly crunchy empty ovule which is not unpleasant in the least.
St. Pepin V Seyval X 
(MN 78 X Seneca)
White slipskin with good disease resistance and exceptional vigor. Fruit has good dessert quality. Makes good white wine and pink juice. Needs winter protection in cold areas. (Hardy to -25 degrees F.)
Swenson Red M-P Minn. 78 X
Seibel 11803
A dark red non-slipskin grape; very disease resistant. Keeps well in cold storage. Excellent for fresh eating with thin skin and a meaty texture. Also makes a nice red wine. 
Swenson White M-P ES6-1-43 Medium-large clusters ripen to a yellow, thick-skinned fruit, excellent for white wines. The fruit ripens late and has a "flowery" taste. Very disease resistant.
Valiant E-V Fredonia X Vitis riparia Blue slipskin. Recent research has shown Valiant to be even hardier than Beta, although it is not quite as disease tolerant. The berries are slightly larger and borne in larger clusters than Beta, and are lower acid, but otherwise similar. A vigorous grower.
Worden V Open Poll. Concord Blue slipskin, Concord type. Excellent for juice and fresh eating. 2-3 weeks earlier than Concord. Almost never needs winter protection. Grapes hang onto stem better than Fredonia but are not quite as sweet.