The University of Minnesota just released its latest cold-hardy wine grape, named Itasca, which will be used to make dry white wines. Here to tell us more is U of M grape breeder Matt Clark.
His research focuses on using both traditional and molecular plant breeding approaches to develop improved grape cultivars for cold climate wine production. One key area of research is studying the genetics behind the unique resistances to common grapevine pests such as powdery mildew, phylloxera, downy mildew, and black rot in our hybrid germplasm. Our goal is to develop new grape varieties with multiple resistances so that growers can reduce the amounts of pesticides applied in a season.