Petite Pearl™ Grape
A new cold hardy red wine grape
Tom Plocher, an eminent northern climate viticulturist, grape breeder, and author has developed a new cold hardy red wine grape. Affiliate nurseries will be making Petite Pearl™ available to grape growers starting in 2010. Tom bred Petite Pearl™ in 1996 using MN 1094 and ES 4-7-26 as parents. During field trials it was designated as TP 2-1-24. In depth information about hybrid grapes and wine making can be found in the second edition of Northern Winework authored by Tom Plocher and Bob Parke. (northernwinework.com)
Petite Pearl™ has been productive after winter low temperatures of –32F. Bevens Creek Vineyard and Nursery grows Petite Pearl™ just west of Minneapolis, MN. In the winter of 2008-2009 our vineyard saw damage on some of our most winter hardy grape varieties. Some of this damage was site related, but also could have occurred due to a dramatic (50F degree) overnight drop in temperature in late December. We saw little damage in 3-year old Petite Pearl™, while 4-year vines had no damage from this weather event.
Petite Pearl™ is highly disease resistant to powdery mildew, downey mildew, black rot, and bunch rot. A regular preventative spray program is recommended.
Petite Pearl™ ripens late season in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN area. Bevens Creek harvest numbers on September 30, 2008 were TA .7 pH 3.47 Brix 22.8. This excellent ripening was observed after the fifth coolest summer on record in the Minneapolis, MN area. September 30, 2009 harvest numbers were TA .64 pH 3.41 Brix 24.6 after another cool season.
Petite Pearl™ will commonly set three clusters per shoot. Late spring frost damage is less likely due to late spring bud break and bloom. The small compact cluster with a big shoulder (Avg. 96 grams) and small berries is slightly smaller than Marquette. Thick berry skins provide excellent cluster conditon during late season harvest. No berry rot or split berries after a heavy rain has been observed. Bevens Creek 2008 Petite Pearl TM harvest averaged 13 pounds per vine after cluster thinning to two clusters per shoot in August.
Petite Pearl™ establishes itself quickly in the vineyard with limited cropping in the third year. The moderately vigorous vine has an orderly trailing habit. A mature balanced vine has little lateral growth. On rich organic farmland you can expect vigorous growth and appropriate trellising is needed.
Low acid levels make Petite Pearl™ ideal for northern red winemaking and a valuable blending component. The wine has a dark garnet color. It shows complexity in aroma and flavor that can be easily shaped by yeast selection and blending. Moderate levels of French oak are suggested. The wine tastes of ripe fruit and has soft mid-mouth tannins. This elegant wine will only improve as additional skilled winemakers discover its great potential.
Contact Dell Schott at Bevens Creek Vineyard for 2010 sales information.
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