The Argument for Cold Climate Hybrids
Cold climate hybrid varietals are still not accepted in urban wine consumer markets. The great grape growing regions of the world do not focus on making wine from them since the temperatures do not require them to do so. Also, these grapes do not give the full spectrum of wine experience (primarily taste and aroma profiles) that vinifera grapes provide.
So why bother? Here's why!
The climate is changing and here in the Midwest we are experiencing some extreme cold weather that will damage the vinifera root stock in the states of MI, IN, and IL.
Adding to the damage that was caused during the polar vortexes of 2013 and 2014, farmers and growers will have to take into consideration how extreme temperatures will affect their crops both in conditions of drought and cold weather. Grape growers only get one chance each year to create yields that lead to profitable winery production.
Consumers in the rural areas of the Midwest already accept wine made from cold climate hybrids which tend to be more acidic and have aromas that have been described as "foxy".
True, these wines are not as refined as wines made from vinifera but the quality is fast improving and there are some promising varietals such as Marquette, Briana, and Petite Pearl (all developed by the University of Minnesota), which promise nice light drinking wines that can withstand the cold climate of winters in the Midwest.
I encourage all readers to take the plunge and explore what these wines taste like when traveling on a road trip around the Midwest. You will be pleasantly surprised and may come away with a new understanding of wine made from unfamiliar varietals such as Foch, Seyval Blanc, Vignoles, and Chambourcin (all French American hybrids).