Which White Wine Grapes Grow Best in Virginia?
If you’re starting a vineyard in Virginia and want to produce white wine, some varietals do better in the soil and weather conditions than others. (If you want to produce red wine, we can help with that too! Check out our guide to the best varieties to grow for red wine here.) A lot of new vineyard owners prefer to grow white wine grapes in Virginia because certain varieties produce fruit very soon after first being planted. Red wine grape varieties, on the other hand, can take a couple extra years to produce fruit at their full capacity. Additionally, white certain white wine grapes in Virginia are resistant to disease and fungus, so your harvest will be safe even if something wipes out red wine varieties. Read on for our recommendations on white wine grape varietals to grow in Virginia.
Virginia White Wine Grapes: The Winner
If you’re looking to make white wine, Chardonnay is one of the best growing white wine grapes in Virginia.
Of the two white wine grapes that grow well in Virginia, most farmers tend to stick with Chardonnay because of the name recognition. Chardonnay grapes were first grown in Burgundy, a well-known wine region in France. The grapes nonetheless love Virginia’s altitude and soil conditions. Keep in mind that Chardonnay grapes produce more than just Chardonnay. If you want a more versatile grape to use in multiple varieties, definitely consider planting Chardonnay. Farmers use Virginia Chardonnay grapes in Chablis, Montrachet, and Poully-Fuiss wine to name a few. Wine-makers use Chardonnay so widely because they can create either a crisp mineral wine or a fruity white. These grapes are also incredibly hardy, so they could be a good choice if it’s your first time growing wine grapes.
Virginia White Wine Grapes: The Runner-Up
While not as well-known as Chardonnay, Cayuga White is one of the best wine grapes in Virginia.
Cayuga White is the other, lesser-known variety of white wine grapes that does well in Virginia. While less known than Chardonnay, Cayuga White flourishes in Virginia and can be another great choice for a new farmer. These grapes a re a cross between Schuyler grapes and Seyval Blanc grapes. These grapes grow very quickly, and many new farmers choose them because they produce fruit after only two years. Cayuga White is flexible like Chardonnay grapes, too. These grapes usually make a semisweet and fruity wine, but if you want a drier wine, just age the grapes in oak barrels. Like Chardonnay, these grapes are disease resistant.
If you’re interested in starting a vineyard in Virginia, there are many incredibly properties that are ripe with potential.
If you have more questions about starting a vineyard, read some of our advice about how to get started here. Curious about how well Virginia wine-makers are doing? Check our some market statistics here. If you want to make red wine, check out of post on the best red wine varietals for Virginia here.