Written collaboratively by Rhoda Burrows and Anne Fennell
Before choosing a grape cultivar, note the following points:
- Determine how the grapes will be used, as different cultivars are recommended for juice, jam/jelly, or wine.
- Winter temperatures and other environmental factors in South Dakota limit grape production to hardy hybrid cultivars. The southern half of the state with its longer growing season and less damaging winter temperatures is more suited for grape production.
- Start with a small planting and observe the cultivar’s characteristics and its interaction with the particular site before planting on a large scale.
- Except for the cultivar “St. Pepin,” all the listed cultivars are self-fruitful.
- Purchase vines and cuttings from licensed nurseries to avoid importing insect and disease problems into South Dakota.
- Several of the cultivars listed are patented. If you purchase vines or cuttings from a licensed nursery the royalties have already been paid. If you are propagating your own materials for use within your vineyard, you are responsible obtaining a vineyard non-distribution license and paying associated fees; contact your horticulture extension specialist or the SDSU Plant Science department for further information.
- If you plan to sell the grapes to a winery, it is highly recommended that you contact the winery or wineries prior to planting, as desired cultivars change over time.