100 Hybrids

You may or may not have heard of the Wine Century Club. This organization has a great premise: Try wines with 100 different grape {varieties}. They don’t necessarily have to be {varietal wines}, blends are perfectly legitimate. I think that this is a great idea and a great way to get wine lovers to explore a small percentage of the approximately 10,000 different grape varieties grown in the world today.

As I perused their master list of about 200 varieties, I wondered why I had had so many “obscure” varieties that these professional winos didn’t have listed. It’s not because I seek out the most obscure grape varieties I can find (even though I do). It’s because I live in a cool-climate viticulture region, and one of the pillars on which the industry in the Finger Lakes stands is native and interspecific hybrid grape varieties. Concord, Catawba, and Niagara you may have heard of. But Diamond? Frontenac? Scuppernong? Are these not grapes? Are these not Vitis spp.? They certainly are, and they are important not only to historical American winemaking, but to viticulture in many American wine regions today. Often, these wines are met with a snobbery usually reserved for 2-buck Chuck. I would like, if I can, to try to change that. That’s why I have decided to:




  • Any non-vinifera wines count. With the exception of muscadine grapes (Vitis rotundifolia), most wine grapes have some Vitis vinifera in their ancestry, even Concord and Niagara. So “native” grapes count, as do French-American hybrids like Maréchal Foch, and newly-bred hybrids like Corot Noir and Frontenac. As long as it’s technically a grape and not purely Vitis vinifera, if it’s vinified, it counts.
  • Blends count. I think it would be nearly impossible to find 100 varietal hybrid wines, as many hybrid grapes are used almost exclusively for blending (flavor and color).
  • Bonus points for hybrid varietal wines, but no guarantees.
  • My lifetime hybrid count (est. about 30) resets, starting October 6, 2009.

The List

Number Grape Variety Wine Date
1. Noiret Fulkerson Burntray 2007 10/06/09
2. Vincent Fulkerson Vincent 2007 10/21/09
3. Cayuga White Lucas Vineyards Cayuga White 2008 10/25/09
Published on 13 October 2009 at 2:39 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] NOIRET Noiret (nwa-RAY) marks the first {hybrid} grape I’ve had since I decided to begin my quest to drink wines made from 100 different hybrid grapes, and it’s a good one to start with. It was released by Cornell University in 2006, though it […]

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