NE2220: Multi-state Coordinated Evaluation of Grape Cultivars and Clones

(Multistate Research Project)

Status: Active

NE2220: Multi-state Coordinated Evaluation of Grape Cultivars and Clones

Duration: 10/01/2022 to 09/30/2027

Administrative Advisor(s):

NIFA Reps:

Statement of Issues and Justification

Established in 2004, the NE1020 (and currently NE1720) projects have been critically important with the objective of evaluation of new and emerging grapevine cultivars (and advanced breeding selections) through a period of extensive growth in vineyards and wineries in the United States. The adoption of regionally adapted wine grape varieties has enabled the production of wine in most U.S. states in the 21st century. Grape production was limited to most non-traditional regions due to climate constraints on Vitis vinifera, the European winegrape species that is not suitable to most areas in the U.S. The development of new interspecific hybrids and the testing of rootstocks, cultivars, and clones has expanded wine production.

Winegrape cultivar selection is among the most important components of vineyard and viticulture industry management. Selection of suitable cultivars with cold hardiness and disease resistance, in addition to response to edaphic and climate conditions, is necessary to inform best practices for industry stakeholders [1-4]. Grape breeding programs, clonal selection, and the identification of regionally appropriate materials from germplasm collections and similar global production regions are sources for new cultivars for evaluation. Many of the grape cultivars grown in the emerging regions are only decades old and may not reflect the consumer or market demand, thus creating an impetus for improved grape cultivars for economic success and sustainability. This is especially true in response to climate change, which includes the management of abiotic stress, new and invasive insect pests, and disease. As new winegrape industries experience continued growth, and subsequently the economic impact that comes with it, the winegrape industries are dependent on improving quality and quantity of grapes and wine produced. Continued discovery, development, and evaluation of grape cultivars and clones is critical for maintaining growth within this emerging agricultural sector.

The NE1020 project was structured for coordinated plantings and data collection. The current NE1720 project has focused on a flexible design, allowing researchers opportunities to evaluate materials locally alongside sentinel varieties for direct feedback to state and regional stakeholder audiences. We are writing to renew the NE1720 multistate project for an additional 5 years, with the goal of addressing present and anticipated needs of grape producers in the United States.

1. Needs Identified by Stakeholders

NE1720 (and prior NE1020) project members include research and extension faculty from institutions across the U.S. that regularly solicit stakeholder input for continued development of their programs. In this integrated industry, stakeholders include grape growers (farmers), winemakers, as well as tasting room and event managers. Consistent responses from stakeholders include support not only for continued cultivar development and evaluation, but also for developing best management practices to improve consistency, quantity, and quality of fruit from evaluated winegrape cultivars and clones. For sake of brevity, “cultivars” refers to newly released varieties from breeding programs, varieties introduced from other wine regions, advanced breeding selections (pre-commercial), and clones (bud sports, mutants, etc.) with improved characteristics. There is also a need to evaluate these cultivars across a wide range of environments. For example, in Colorado, intermittent extreme cold temperatures in the past ten years have repeatedly decimated V. vinifera cultivars and caused the industry to realize the need for better-adapted cultivars with improved cold hardiness. Recent major weather events such as polar vortices, rapid temperature swings, and early spring growing conditions with frost events have exacerbated the need to identify cold hardy cultivars in many regions. For cold-climate regions, there is a need for cultivars that mitigate high acidity to produce different wine styles, since the Vitis riparia-based cultivars presently grown in the region have very high titratable acidity that requires significant winemaking effort to reduce acidity [5-14]. In the Dakotas, Colorado, and northern Minnesota realizing survival under extreme low temperature conditions and sustained productivity is an issue.

A national industry survey conducted in 2017 by the National Grape Research Alliance identified stakeholder priorities for genetic improvement of grapevines. Key findings of this survey included the selection of quality, disease and insect resistant cultivars in order to improve vineyard practices for more sustainable production. In 2018, the American Vineyard Foundation, a national grape and wine industry-funded research organization, conducted a survey of the most important research needs for grape and wine producers. Plant material selection including clonal and cultivar selection was ranked third, with 25.1% of respondents ranking it within their top two goals [15]. However, the two higher-rated research areas, “production efficiency & profitability” and “disease & insect control”, were key objectives in NE1020/1720 as they address sustainability initiatives critical for stakeholder success.


  1. Comprehensive evaluation of grapevine cultivars and clones for viticultural, pest susceptibility and fruit and juice quality characteristics, including enological characteristics and local adaptation for sustainable production.
  2. Conduct initial screening evaluations of promising emerging cultivars and advanced breeding lines (pre-commercial) to determine suitability for regional adaptation of viticulture and wine quality attributes.
  3. Explore new germplasm resources including disease resistant cultivars being released in Europe, plant introductions including Asian accessions, and less-known cultivars that may have economic potential for the US grape industry.

2.  Importance of the Work and Consequences If It Is Not Done 

Testing of new cultivars is typically limited to a few areas. Coordinated, multi-state testing is needed to evaluate adaptation in a variety of environments. With changing climate and increased weather variability, cultivar adaptation, including physiological hardiness and robustness to changes in insect and disease pressure will be an increasing issue. This multi-state project will leverage substantial investments made in breeding programs and help evaluate genotype x environment interactions. Sustaining these efforts over several years is a requirement to fully evaluate fully grape cultivars over the life cycle of a typical vineyard and across multiple years of weather occurrences. This is especially important for inland ‘continental climate’ regions, which are more subject to extreme swings in temperature than more maritime-influenced climates. Interestingly, growers are often interested in new varieties due to the environmental plasticity of many modern hybrid grapes and potential economic benefits, despite a breeding program not being able to test multiple environments prior to variety release. This multi-state project aims to reduce this knowledge gap and reduce the risk of advancing varieties.  The NE1020/1720 projects facilitate the breeding timeline by providing descriptions of environmental response characteristics useful for the breeder and stakeholder. These experiments lead to the removal of underperforming selections from the advancement pipeline or help target specific growing regions.  Availability of grapes adapted to these continental climates has greatly increased interest in grape growing, as has growth of farm wineries in most of the U.S. However, planting a poorly-adapted cultivar in the wrong place is a costly mistake. Vineyard managers can face expensive replanting and retraining costs after cold injury. Cultivar selection in specialty crops, especially in grapes, focuses on vine health, yield, but also fruit quality and wine quality attributes.

Cold temperatures; short, cool growing seasons, and humidity that are conducive to disease development limits the production of traditional V. vinifera cultivars in most emerging winegrape regions, and novel cultivars may be more suitable even in regions where V. vinifera cultivars may thrive. Cultivar selection is the primary method for reducing losses from cold injury in vineyards, and the relatively new development of cold-hardy winegrape cultivars suitable for the eastern U.S. and other emerging regions is only beginning to be optimized. Members of the multi-state project routinely conduct cold hardiness, disease resistance and training studies providing the breeders feedback on advanced selections as well as moving our understanding of vine physiology.

Grape breeding programs in NY, MN, and AR, have successfully evaluated and released new cultivars [16-18]. A nascent, yet robust, breeding program in ND expands the northern range for winegrape production. Ongoing research on trait genetics is being adopted rapidly via marker-assisted selection to increase breeding precision in the New York, North Dakota, and Minnesota breeding programs ( Hatterman-Valenti, Reisch, and Clark are actively adopting genetic marker technology to facilitate the development of disease-resistant, cold hardy cultivars with high quality wine potential. Information generated through NE1020/1720 and this proposed product trials will feed back into those breeding programs to either field-validate genetic bases for cold hardiness, disease resistance, and other important traits. Private breeders have also been important in developing cold-climate grape cultivars which require evaluation across diverse regions and climates [19,20]. In addition, novel V. vinifera and other hybrid cultivars from Europe, in particular those developed for disease resistance, are candidates for evaluation in this program. The number of available selections for a vineyard manager to evaluate is daunting and could result in years of lost revenue unless public, long-term evaluation of cultivars is conducted to reduce evaluation time prior to commercial planting.

University and Agriculture Experiment Station (AES) researchers are uniquely and best suited to conduct this research. Among the participants in this project are numerous experienced researchers with land, staff, equipment, and facilities capable of conducting comprehensive and objective field research. The support of the AES received by each cooperator does not represent simply a plot of land on which to plant their vineyard. The support systems and expertise of University and AES researchers include statistical support, computing hardware and software, basic and field laboratories with modern equipment, field research stations with suitable land, equipment, technical staff, and faculty colleagues who may provide ad hoc support and review of projects. Research and intellectual properties protections in-place within the University and AES systems ensures that all parties including breeders, nurseries, growers, wineries, and researchers themselves will be adequately protected, and ensure that research is conducted in a thorough and objective manner.

3. Technical Feasibility

The NE1020/1720 project has developed a network of sustained collaboration of viticulture and enology specialists across multiple states since 2005. Presently, participants from 15 states have active plantings, and partners from several other states who do not have formal plantings contribute expertise to the project. The existing team has the expertise to plan new plantings, apply appropriate viticultural practices, and collect data to evaluate new cultivars and clones. Objectives from the initial phase of this project were intentionally limited so as to develop a trial with maximum applicability across multiple regions with robust statistical design. However, the limitations built into the original methodology, including establishment of a single NE1020 planting design implemented in 2008 on specific rootstocks, training systems, and management programs, was deemed too restrictive by several participants, who dropped out of the project as a result. In NE1720 researchers adopted a more flexible model, allowing for more rapid evaluation and testing and continued planting of new and reducing limitations on individual collaborators to conduct cultivar evaluations that do not fit into a single national model. Successful collaboration over past years provides the foundation for this new model and continued success. While the robust, multi-site evaluation of cultivars within specifically defined climatic regions has not been conducted to date due to unforeseen differences in data sets, loss of collaborators, and vine loss in certain regions due to weather or management-related events, several plantings have resulted in published cultivar comparisons that are establishing performance benchmarks in the literature. 

4. Advantages of a Multi-state Effort

 Multi-state efforts capitalize on university faculty expertise for cultivar and breeding line evaluation where infrastructure exists for grape management. Evaluating cultivars in multiple growing environments in a coordinated and collaborative fashion makes data collection, analysis, and reporting more efficient and useful. Coordinated effort shortens the time to evaluate cold-hardiness and environmental adaptations by having many locations experiencing diverse weather events. The shared professional comradery among NE1020/1720 participants has allowed programs in each state to optimize their effectiveness by identifying gaps in knowledge, infrastructure, and experience, and has facilitated collaborations that address those shortcomings within a particular institution or program. The current project has allowed sharing of winemaking expertise for processing grapes from several plantings (e.g., multiple states have contributed grapes to Cornell and MN winemaking projects conducted through related, leveraged SCRI projects; several states have “outsourced” differential thermal analysis for cold hardiness at other participating universities). This leverages the winemaking and other expertise in states that do not have University winemaking or other specialized facilities.

Project participants cover diverse disciplines and areas of expertise. Faculty associated with the project hold appointments across the land-grant spectrum including teaching, research, and extension, and most faculty hold split appointments among those foci. Expertise includes viticultural management, which is the most common thread among participants, but also: plant pathology and entomology; Integrated Pest Management systems; Clean Plant certification; enology; plant breeding; genetics; enology, plant physiology; biostatistics; and interdisciplinary plant science. A unique attribute to NE1720 was the addition of community college representation from KS.

Collaboration among participants in the NE1020/1720 project has provided an opportunity and tools for securing funding for four Multi-state SCRI projects, Hatch funds available from participating AESs, funds from private foundations, state block grant programs, etc. Other collaborations with team members include Specialty Crop Block Grant (Clark and Hatterman-Valenti), the Vitisgen projects (SCRI), among other pending or non-funded projects and collaborations.

5. Likely Impacts

Notable Impacts of the Current project:  

A key outcome of the current project (NE1720) has been local observation of plant response to extreme environments. The genotype x environment interactions that can be tested by a plant breeder are generally limited and the current project allows for multiple environments for testing. A “test winter” or other extreme weather event is increasingly uncommon (at any one site) but is much more likely to occur across the range of project participant plantings. Extreme weather events within the realm of “cold hardiness” include rapid and devastating temperature swings; extreme cold weather temperatures especially with polar vortex events in midwinter, and late spring frosts. Single weather events with major impacts at one site can inform varietal selection at multiple sites.  The NE region offers a range of USDA Hardiness zones (3-7) for testing grapevines and represents typical growing conditions for cool and cold climate grape growing in the eastern US.

Cold hardy cultivars now account for nearly 20 % of Colorado’s vineyard area compared to about 1 % ten years ago, and approximately one third of that area was planted with cultivars tested in NE1020/1720. Limited comprehensive production statistics are available for the current planting and economic impact of vineyards and wineries since 2017. However, anecdotal evidence supports continued growth of the industries with the addition of new wineries and expanded acreage throughout the participating states. A maturation of the market has become obvious with indicators such as transitions of business to new ownership, slower adaptation of new cultivars, and simultaneously demands for replacement cultivars for a 3rd generation of varieties more suitable to consumer acceptance and production sustainability.

Expected Future Impacts:  

Under our new model, we expect to be able to screen and test more candidate cultivars over a shorter amount of time by conducting efficient evaluations, and by continual establishment of plantings over the course of the project. Continued release of new, 3rd generation cultivars (e.g. Itasca, Verona, and Crimson Pearl released from cold-climate breeding programs in 2016 alone) and pre-release trialing of promising ones. Successful testing and education will result in more informed growers who make better planting decisions and suffer fewer losses from planting a poorly-adapted cultivar in the wrong site. Multi-state, interdisciplinary evaluation will allow for assessment of other attributes (e.g. insect, fungal disease, phytotoxicity of agrochemicals, unique juice characteristics) to maximize potential productivity and quality of this new germplasm. Under this project, we expect that wine industries in our regions will continue to grow, with an average increase in acreage in production and wine value during the project period.

Related, Current and Previous Work

The original experimental design for NE1020 evaluation vineyards was based on a coordinated planting to be completed in 2008 in all states, with an exception for one vineyard that required installation in 2007 to comply with funding availability. During annual meetings of project cooperators from 2005-2007, specific objectives, experimental design, and data collection procedures were developed. Because collaborators had differing land, staffing, and facility resources, plantings were designed to be flexible in terms of the number of cultivars or clones evaluated. However, each planting had the following common characteristics: common two ‘sentinel cultivars’ that would remain consistent in each planting in a similar climate zone; randomized complete block replication; six replicates of each cultivar; cordon and spur pruning; low-wire cordon (VSP) trained vines for V.vinifera, high-wire cordon training for hybrids; grafted to 101-14 rootstock for V. vinifera and tender hybrids unless local conditions prohibited, own-rooted for cold-hardy hybrids; required guard vines or rows; all vines planted within one year of one another (e.g. dead vines were allowed to be replanted in year two only); and consistent targets established for yield and vine growth. Vine orders were centrally coordinated and funded by grants from the (now defunct) CREES Viticulture Consortium or from individual investigator’s own research funds. In total, NE1020 trial vineyards were established in 19 states in 2007 or 2008, however several cooperators left the project prior to completion and two established their plantings after 2008. Twenty plantings in 13 states were active in the project. Additional states joined the group but were not able to install ‘official’ NE1020 vineyards because protocols for inter-state comparisons required all vineyards to be planted at the same time, and those states have maintained membership in a collaborative capacity.

 Restrictive protocols for the original NE1020 plantings, while designed to allow for robust comparisons between sites and cultivars, actually discouraged interstate comparisons because allowances were not made for vineyards that failed completely due to weather or other crop damage. In several states, severe winter cold decimated plantings early in the project; in others, herbicide drift or phytotoxic pest management sprays damaged plantings beyond their ability to provide consistent data. Retirements and other personnel changes among participants, and withdrawal from the program by some AES directors further reduced participation in the formal trials.

In the NE1720 project, we made a strategic change to allow plant materials (breeding lines, new cultivars, etc.) to be submitted at any time as they became available. This new direction provided more flexibility in the experimental design, and ultimate was aimed at getting timely information returned to aid in variety advancement. Our experience in NE1020 demonstrated a key need to describe grapevine survival at test sites as a base line. This is now embedded as part of Obj 1 in the current proposal. Vines that were not cold-hardy or otherwise suitable (at an individual site) became a burden on the labor needs and negatively impacted the experimental design. Advancement into Obj 2 of the current study builds on earlier iterations of this project by advancing selections that have passed the initial survival screening.

Collaborators within the NE1020 project have consistently attended annual meetings where results from project plantings have been discussed. Separate from, but complementary to the initial NE1020, trials have been substantial multi-state collaborations between NE1020 members and other participants that would not have been possible without collaboration and networking derived through this project. Collaborative projects derived from NE1020 participation and often including NE1020 vineyards as primary data sources and educational sites include:


  • Improved grape and wine quality in a challenging environment: An Eastern US model for sustainability and economic vitality. USDA SCRI 2010-51181-21599. PD A. Wolf, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. $3,796,693. resulting publications & outputs, Appendix 1).
  • Northern Grapes: Integrating viticulture, winemaking, and marketing of new cold-hardy cultivars supporting new and growing rural wineries. USDA SCRI 2011-51181-30850. PD T. Martinson, Cornell Univ. $5,139,193. resulting publications & outputs, Appendix 1).
  • Midwest grape production guide. Dami, I., Bordelon, B., Ferree, D., Brown, M., Ellis, M., Williams, R., Doohan, D. The Midwest Grape Production Guide was compiled by Extension specialists at Ohio State University and Purdue University. Its comprehensive topics include: planning your vineyard; grapevine anatomy and propagation; integrated pest management; pruning, training, and canopy management; vineyard maintenance; and harvest and marketing.
  • Accelerating grape cultivar improvement via phenotyping centers and next generation markers. USDA NIFA SCRI 2011-51181-30635. PD B.I. Reisch $4.5 million, 2011-2016. <>
  • VitisGen2:  Application of next generation technologies to accelerate grapevine cultivar development. USDA NIFA SCRI (award pending). PD B.I. Reisch $6.5 million 2017-2021.

The outputs associated with the above projects, in addition to citations listed with the NE1720 annual reports (and subset in Appendix 1) highlight significant effort and progress toward addressing the goals. Continued effort under the NE2220 project will build upon the successful collaborations fostered under the current project and will address shortcomings discovered in the original protocols.  The focus of the project will continue to be on the evaluation of new or emerging grape germplasm with the intention of identifying superior cultivars that meet the needs of regional sites and production systems. The following objectives will support these efforts to improve sustainability of the U.S. winegrape industry:


  1. I. Conduct initial screening evaluations of promising emerging cultivars and advanced breeding lines (pre-commercial) to determine suitability for regional adaptation of viticulture and wine quality attributes.
  2. II. Comprehensive grapevine cultivars and clone evaluation for viticultural, pest susceptibility, fruit and juice quality characteristics, including enological characteristics, and local adaptation for sustainable production.
  3. III. Explore new germplasm resources including disease resistant cultivars being released in Europe, plant introductions including Asian accessions, and less-known cultivars that may have economic potential for the US grape industry.


This multi-state project capitalizes on the varying growing conditions throughout the Eastern United States and the expertise at multiple participating universities and colleges. Grape germplasm evaluation across multiple sites is meant to capture the stability of genotypes across the region and characterize potential genotype x environment interactions. The key aim of this project is to test plant materials so that recommendations can be made to breeders on which lines to advance for cultivar release and to inform stakeholders at the state and regional levels as to which cultivars are suitable for planting. The replicated experiments outlined are designed to gather production, yield, pest tolerance, and fruit and wine quality (where available) to inform recommendations for growers and wineries. Our experience in NE1020 and NE1720 has shown a need for flexibility in entering materials for planting across the project period, identification of appropriate test sites, and quality data collection and reporting. Further, this project aims to catalog and characterize germplasm improvement (including clones) using a global lens to facilitate exchange of plant materials for testing in this project or by individual researchers or stakeholders. Trial vineyards may include Objective 1 and 2 plantings so long as the experimental design is maintained as outlined below. All sites will collect weather data. Phenotypic data will be collected using Field Book, a digital platform that will allow for uniform data acquisition and centralized database management with support from USDA initiative Breeding Insight at Cornell University. Commitments have been made by PIs from Cornell Agritech to host Objectives 1 and Objectives 2 at Geneva, NY and/or the Cornell Lake Erie Research Extension Laboratory in Portland, NY. Additional sites will be based on enrollment by other states in the project, specific environments being targeted by genotype, and plant availability. Consistent participation, planning, and leadership in this project from Vermont, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Maryland demonstrate additional commitment to establish and maintain plantings in the NE region.

Objective 1 Conduct initial screening evaluations of promising emerging cultivars and advanced breeding lines (pre-commercial) to determine suitability for regional adaptation of viticulture and wine quality attributes.

Breeders will submit advanced breeding lines (near commercialization) for entry into limited multi-state screening at a minimum of 4 states including one in the NE region. Each site will evaluate a minimum of 4 vines for each entry. Vines can be part of a randomized design or together in one planting (one panel). This design reduces the burden on the breeder in producing propagules for all locations and can focus on preliminary data collection for submission into Objective 2. This preliminary screening will include up to 3 years of data collection during the establishment period typical for grapes. The evaluation may continue after year three to include fruit evaluation as outlined in Objective 2. Ideally, after the initial screening sufficient data will inform advancement into a new planting with additional replication within sites and more sites added. This project is described for 5 years, but with renewal, the plantings and evaluations can continue as in previous NE1020/1720 project iterations.

Vines will be planted and established using standard training systems and management protocols for the region. New entries may be submitted each year as materials become available from breeders or other sources under testing agreements. Initial evaluations will include plant survival (living/dead) as this has been a critical barrier in NE1020/1720 because of extreme weather events (such as the polar vortex). Data will be collected on cold hardiness (primary and secondary bud survival); disease resistance (powdery mildew, downy mildew, black rot, phomopsis), insect resistance (foliar phylloxera, Japanese beetle), and budbreak phenology (EL5). Data will be collected using Field Book. Results will be reported annually to NE2220 members to guide future replicated trials and data will be reported to the associated breeder.

Objective 2 Comprehensive grapevine cultivar (and elite breeding selections) and clone evaluation for viticultural, pest susceptibility, fruit and juice quality characteristics, including enological characteristics, and local adaptation for sustainable production.

Replicated cultivar evaluation vineyards using promising materials identified in Objective 1 or from researchers’ current trial plots will be established at a minimum of 4 locations with plantings based on plant material availability and proposed market suitability. Each genotype will be planted into a replicated experiment with 4 vine panels and 6 panels (replications). These 24 vines per site will provide sufficient data points for capturing within vineyard variation, estimating yield components, and providing enough juice for enological evaluation (where expertise is available). Vines will be planted and trained onto trellis systems using standard protocols for the region.  It is expected that entries may be submitted in different years at different locations to test materials in additional environmental locations after the first four locations are established. Ideally, vines will be evaluated for 5-10 years. Genotypes will be evaluated yearly as in Objective 1, with additional traits collected during fruiting including yield (g per 30.48 cm linear spacing), 10 cluster weight, 50 berry weight), fruit quality (soluble solids content, total titratable acidity*, pH, yeast assimilable nitrogen*), wine quality* (percent alcohol, total titratable acidity, pH, residual sugars, organic acids, volatile acidity, phenolic compounds, color), phenology (harvest and budbreak), disease and insect resistance, and hardiness.

Results will be reported annually to NE2220 members and published in peer-reviewed journals at completion. Data will be provided to breeders or entities entering germplasm into testing with recommendations for variety release.

*When enology and chemical analysis resources available at the site or in collaboration. Standard wine processes will be followed (red and white wines with separate protocols) across sites.

Objective 3 Explore new germplasm resources including disease resistant cultivars being released in Europe, plant introductions including Asian accessions, and less-known cultivars that may have economic potential for the US grape industry.

A NE2220 subcommittee will be formed to solicit information from grapevine breeding and evaluation programs around the globe in order to identify germplasm resources that could be valued by stakeholders in the NE region and participating states. Public and private grape breeding programs in the U.S. will be invited to submit new introductions for testing (Objectives 1 and 2) and their contact information will be compiled. Additionally, germplasm repositories and other current variety testing projects will be cataloged.  Disease resistance breeding programs across Europe have recently released new varieties. A list of foreign cultivars and advanced selections will be curated and made available to stakeholders. Importation of protected plant materials into the U.S. is difficult, requires sponsorship (financial and otherwise), and is on a timeline that is outside the scope of this project. However, this objective aims to work with Clean Plant Centers (Foundation Plant Services, M. Fuchs Lab, Cornell University among others) to develop a protocol for best practices that can be implemented by interested stakeholders who wish to import materials.

Measurement of Progress and Results


  • New varieties released
  • Comprehensive data provided to breeders and germplasm evaluators
  • Importation of novel cultivars or germplasm
  • Cataloged inventory of new variety development and known importation or distribution plans into the United States.

Outcomes or Projected Impacts

  • NE2220 project recommendations and educational programs will guide the planting or replanting of 1000+ acres of winegrapes in the next 5 years in participants’ states,
  • Grape growers in emerging regions will see increased net income per acre, and more consistent income and yield as a result of adopting regionally-adapted cultivars.
  • NE2220 will help to reduce the time from initial cross to released cultivars.
  • NE2220 collaborations will result in federal research investment through block grant, multi-state, CAP, or other grant programs.


(2021):Project team designed objectives and associated methods to allow new breeding lines or other germplasm to be propagated and planted in Spring/Summer 2022 for Obj 1 and Obj 2. Continued evaluation of germplasm from earlier NE1020/1720 plantings.

(2022):Continue to establish plantings on a rolling basis in accordance with a specific guidelines for Obj 1 and Obj 2.

(2025):Propagate and distribute selections that will move from Obj 1 to Obj 2 at each site to increase the replication.

(2024):First fruit evaluations for new entries as part of Obj 2.

Projected Participation

View Appendix E: Participation

Outreach Plan

NE2220 data will be compiled and provided to the associated breeders and germpalsm evaluators. Some genetic materials and breeding lines may be entered under Material Transfer Agreements that include restrictions on the disclosure of some data related to intellectual property prior to germplasm release. Such data will be handled on a case-by-case basis as to how it is shared with stakeholders. It is expected that the majority of the data collected, especially for Objective 2 on novel varieties, new accessions, and advanced breeding lines will be shared with stakeholders. The website has been established by Dr. Matthew Fidelibus at UC-Davis and could be utilized directly or as a model for sharing NE2220 results. State reports are often shared with individual state stakeholders at annual conferences or annual reports. The aim of this project is to provide information for the recommendation of the advancedment of breeding materials and planting of novel cultivars to stakeholders. Field days hosted by each project participant are another key venue to demonstrate germplasm to stakeholders. The information collected at each site is important for variety adoption within a state or region due to the quality of observations made by the investigators on this project.


The NE22020 project will be governed by a rotating executive committee voted annually at the project meeting by meeting attendees. Although all offices will be elected in each year, it is expected that an officeholder will begin in the Secretary position and rotate through to the chair position. Offices thus include: Secretary, Vice-Chair, and Chair (host). Thus, the Secretary is expected to host the meeting two years following, and the vice-chair the following year. After an annual meeting, the secretary shall submit meeting minutes to the meeting chair within 30 days, and the chair will submit the annual report within 60 days of the annual meeting. Reports will be submitted to the NERA Administrative Advisor who will submit reports to NIMMS. Following the annual meeting, the vice-chair (now chair of the following year’s meeting) will begin preparation for the following meeting and will assist the secretary and chair in compiling the annual report if needed.

Literature Cited

1.Bradshaw, T.L., A. Hazelrigg, and L.P. Berkett, Characteristics of the cold-climate winegrape industry in Vermont, U.S.A. Acta Hort, 2016. Accepted Nov 2016.

  1. Berkett, L.P., et al. 2008 Grape Bud Survival on Eight Winegrape Cultivars in Vermont. in Proceedings of the 2nd Annual National Viticulture Research Conference• July. 2008.
  2. Berkett, L.P., et al. Disease evaluation of selected cold climate wine grape cultivars in Vermont, USA. in IOBC-WPRS Working Group Meeting on "Integrated Protection and Production in Viticulture.". 2013. Ascona, Switzerland: IOBC/WPRS Bulletin 24(5):393-400.
  3. Berkett, L., et al., Disease evaluation of selected cold climate wine grape cultivars in Vermont, USA. IOBC-WPRS Bulletin, 2014. 105: p. 29-33.
  4. Bradshaw, T.L., L.P. Berkett, and S.L. Kingsley-Richards, Horticultural Assessment of Eight Cold-Hardy Table Grape Cultivars in Vermont, 2009-2012 (Abstr). HortScience, 2013. 48(9): p. 2-3.
  5. Del Bel, E., et al. Sensory Characterization of Frontenac and Marquette Berries and Wines by Descriptive Analysis. 2013; Available from:
  6. Domoto, P., et al., Wine grape cultivar trial performance in 2007. Ann. Prog. Rept.–2007 for Hort. Res. Sta., ISRF07-36, 2008: p. 39-45.
  7. Eddy, M., Performance of Cold Hardy Wine Grape Cultivars at Four Commercial Vineyards in the Champlain Valley of Vermont: Yield, Fruit Quality, and Bud Survival, in Plant and Soil Science. 2006, University of Vermont.
  8. Hemstad, P. and J. Luby, La Crescent, a New Cold Hardy, High Quality, White Wine Variety. Acta Hort, 2003. 603: p. 719-722.
  9. Luby, J., Breeding cold-hardy fruit crops in Minnesota. HortScience, 1991. 26(5): p. 507-512.
  10. Nonnecke, G., P. Domoto, and D. Cochran, NE-1020 Cold Hardy Wine Grape Cultivar Trial. Iowa State Research Farm Progress Reports, 2015. 2173.
  11. Pedneault, K., et al., Flavor of Hybrid Grapes for Winemaking: A Survey of the Main Varieties Grown in Quebec fr Red Wine Production (abstr.). American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, 2013. 64(3): p. 421A-422A.
  12. Tarko, T., et al., Chemical composition of cool-climate grapes and enological parameters of cool-climate wines. Fruits, 2014. 69(1): p. 75-86.
  13. University of Minnesota. Frontenac Enology. 2012 [cited 2013 1 May]; Available from:


  1. American Vineyard Foundation. 2015 Viticultural Survey Results. 2015; Available from:
  2. Hemstad, P. and J. Luby, Utilization of Vitis riparia for the development of new wine varieties with resistance to disease and extreme cold. Acta Hort, 2000. 528(VII International Symposium on Grapevine Genetics and Breeding 528): p. 487-496.
  3. Reisch, B.I., C.L. Owens, and P.S. Cousins, Grape, in Fruit breeding. 2012, Springer. p. 225-262.
  4. Clark, J., Grape breeding at the University of Arkansas: Approaching forty years of progress. Acta Hort, 2002. 603: p. 357-360.
  5. Hemstad, P. Grapevine breeding in the Midwest. Grapevine breeding programs for the wine industry: Traditional and molecular techniques. Ed. A Reynolds, 2015: p. 411.
  6. Swenson, E.P., Wild Vitis Riparia from northern US and Canada--breeding source for winter hardiness in cultivated grapes--a background of the Swenson hybrids. Fruit Varieties Journal, 1985. 39: p. 28-31.


Land Grant Participating States/Institutions


Non Land Grant Participating States/Institutions

Highland Community College (Kansas)
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