The Lilac Ballroom of the Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, NY filled quickly earlier this week for a late morning session of the Viticulture 2013 Conference, where the commercial names for two new wine grapes released from the Cornell breeding program were to be announced.
White wine grape NY76.0844.24 will now officially be called “Aromella“, and the red grape NY95.0301.01 will be recognized as “Arandell“.
Over 1100 suggestions from around the globe had poured in after the request for assistance was publicized last year, first here in the Cork Report, and then as picked up by other news outlets. Horticulture Professor Bruce Reisch was very pleased with the scope of the response, even if it mean combing through the extra data.
We at the NYCR are also pleased to announce that one of the winning names was the brain child of NYCR reader Michael Borboa, whose suggestion of Aromella was one of the very first names submitted to the cause. It is evident, in even a short communication, that Michael has an enduring passion for wines and the vines that bear them.
While devoted to his work in the west coast wine scene, Michael writes “It is my firm belief that the East Coast wine and grape industry is every bit as relevant as what is happening out west. It is all about terroir now is it not? What is being done with the research from academia is ensuring that the tradition will continue and that it will be done right for each area of production.”
Borboa shares his new found fame with Michael Fleischhauer a retired computer programmer and daily wine drinker from Juneau, AK who came up with the name “Arandell”.
These new grapes have cold tolerance to around a dozen degrees below zero Fahrenheit, while the red also shows significant resistance to powdery mildew, downy mildew and botrytis bunch rot. Both have been selected for their environmental traits, and also because they show enough promise in the winery — enough that the trial of official release is worth the effort.
I caught up briefly with Professor Reisch, who is very excited about the announcement, and the new options that are offered to cooler climate clients clients. There are no other releases imminent, but Reisch assured me that he and other members of the VitisGen.org project are hard at work in an effort to bring the disease resistance genetics of Arandell into even more cold hardy plant material.
While we are not likely to see either of these grapes show up as varietal wines any time soon, some small plots are already in use for growing as blending components, and it is expected that Aromella and Arandell will start showing up on sites where traditional European wine grapes cannot grow or persist.