What Vines Will Survive Upstate NY?

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Nov 11, 2007
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Hi, extremely new to all of this. Anyway, this could be a long post so stop reading now if long posts bother you.

Anyway, my girlfriend, now wife and I met about three years ago. I so happened that she is from Rochester, NY. However, I am from the Plattsburgh, NY area which is where we now happily reside as newly weds. So, my Wife, myself, and some inlaws had the recent opportunity to visit some wineries for some great tasting in the fingerlakes region. It was great!

To the point: I have stronger and stronger intrests in putting in some of my own vines and enduring the whole process from vine to wine. We are huuuge red wine lovers and with my strong agricultural intrests, I am trying to explore a bit and to see where this will take me.

I have about 380 acres with about 75 tillable. I understand that vines are much like any other plant in such that they are susceptable to disease, mold, pests etc... In my past and very little research I have done, I have found that the cold-hardy grape is what will withstand the northern climate with January and February temps dropping to 15-20 degrees below zero. Could anyone elaborate on other types of grapes that may be of my interests and compatable with the northern NY climate?

The PH on most of my tillable acreage ranges from 6.0-6.8. Some of the soil is well drained with good slope, and some isn't. Understanding of course that some vines will develop a deep root system and cannot be over watered. My soil is a dark clayish mix with some stones, mostly larger. Not gravel type soil. (Not sure of all soil terminology as you can see) The soil grows beautiful Sweet corn, clover, alfalfa, oats, etc..

Can anyone who is involved in growing grapes in NORTHERN NY briefly shed some light on some of the above and what I should purchase for vines?

Sorry for the long post, just new at this but exploding with interest.


Jon in NY


Senior Member
Jun 20, 2005
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See if you have a local Farm Extension office or better yet a local winery. They might be able to advise what will grow well in your area. Remember though that just because you might be able to grow grapes doesn't necessarily mean they will make good wine. Weather, humidity, soil mineral and pH levels, etc all go into producing a good grape of a proper pH and Brix level. Hope it works out for you though.


Senior Member
Nov 26, 2006
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Hi Jon -

I make wine in my cellar in Essex Jct., VT and also recently married (2 years now). Since you will need to know/understand the wine making process anyway, it may be worth the time to invest in a wine kit. This can be done while your still working on the vines. Then when it comes time to use your own grapes you can do so either on a small scale with the kit you buy, or by using commercial sized equipment.

I don't know of any wineries on your side of the lake (Lake Champlain), but I do know of a few on our side. Here are a few. I'm sure you could speak with someone there or just simply ask what kind of grapes they use:

Shelburne Vineyard - http://www.shelburnevineyard.com/
Charlotte Village Winery - http://www.charlottevillagewinery.com/
Boyden Valley Winery (my fav.) - http://boydenvalley.com/
Snow Farm Winery - http://www.snowfarm.com/

I have called University of Vermont to find any courses or certificate programs that you could take to learn about this, but they have none. Not sure if Suny @ Plattsburg has anything like this. You may get lucky, but I doubt it.

Good luck!

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