Wine Research in North Dakota - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Wine Research in North Dakota

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There have been sour grapes about the North Dakota wine in the past.

That's according to industry veteran Jeff Peterson.

Agriculture researcher Jay Fisher says finding winter hardiness in vines is similar to research done on winter wheat and rye.

In this week's Eye on Agriculture, Jennifer Kleen tells us how the state is planting the seeds for a crop with a bright future.

Fruit may not be the first crop that comes to mind in our agriculture state.

(Jeff Peterson, Pointe of View Winery) "It was a hobby that got out of hand."

But at Pointe of View Winery, for Jeff Peterson and his family, grapes are a way of life.

(Jeff Peterson, Pointe of View Winery) "We've got a pattern down so that we can move it along pretty well in the springtime and fall."

Those seasons in North Dakota are the root of the problem.

(Jeff Peterson, Pointe of View Winery) "It's the only variety I would dare plant this far north, commercially. And leave up on the vine."

That's something that may soon change.

(Jay Fisher, North Central Research Center) "There's some very passionate and keen interest in this crop and on a per-acre basis, it's a very high value crop."

North Dakota's first research grants to support and promote the state's grape and wine industry have been awarded.

The legislature approved $80,000 for the effort, more than three-quarters of that went to North Dakota State University researcher Harlene Hatterman-Valenti for research being done in Minot.

(Jay Fisher, North Central Research Center) "This was a plant that was raised in the greenhouse and transplanted here. This one as you can see is quite vigorous in it's growth. It reached to this height in just one year."

(Jeff Peterson, Pointe of View Winery) "It's really important that we get new varieties that can handle our weather up here and make an acceptable wine from the grape. I have this one variety that I dare plant here and it would be nice to have a few more types and be able to grow this industry more."

Researcher Jay Fisher says winter hardiness may not be too far down the road, after all, the grapes have been here all along.

(Jay Fisher, North Central Research Center) "The parents of these 'babies' out here come from some wild grape types that grow in the Mouse River Valley crossed with some other hopefully good wine grape variety grapes. So we're testing winter hardiness."

One challenge in grape research is that the vines need time to mature.

As spring approaches, the first acre will be tested for winter hardiness but it will be five years before the palette can test the fruits of the labor.

Near Minot, Jennifer Kleen, KX News.

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