Get to Know Pennsylvania's Grape Varieties

Pennsylvania is home to more than two dozen grape varieties that flourish throughout the state’s diverse climate and soil conditions.

Because Pennsylvania’s growing conditions vary greatly across the state, many different varieties can be successfully grown. Some varieties you may know well and others might take you on a new tasting adventure. Take a tour through PA Wine Land and get to know some of Pennsylvania’s best grapes.

 

Catawba
Catawba grapes are used to make white or rosé wine. These grapes produce wines that are light and crisp with berry notes and a hint of spice. The Catawba grape grows primarily in the NorthWest region. It pairs well with grilled pork or fish, Cajun fare, cheese, and fruit.

 

Chambourcin
Chambourcin grapes are dark-skinned and have a sour cherry or pie cherry flavor. Grown primarily in the NorthCentral, SouthWest, SouthCentral, and SouthEast wine regions, they pair well with pizza and pasta with red sauce.

 

Chardonnay
Chardonnay grapes produce white wines that can vary in taste. Dry, unoaked styles can be fruity with hints of citrus zest and floral notes, while oaked varieties can have hints of vanilla and caramel. Chardonnay grapes, primarily grown in the SouthCentral and SouthEast regions, pair well with chicken, turkey, salmon in cream sauce, shellfish, risotto, and hearty soups.

 

Concord
Concord grapes are dark-skinned with familiar red grape juice flavors. It is an intense grape with fruitiness on the front, while zesty on the finish. The Concord, which grows well in the North West region, pairs best with pork, corned beef, creamy cheeses like goat, and sweet desserts.

 

Merlot
Merlot grapes produce red wines with savory and earthy flavors with hints of mushrooms. Climate also has an impact, bringing out jammy tastes with dark fruit notes like black cherry or plum in warmer, dryer, or better-ripening years. In Pennsylvania, merlot grapes grow in the SouthCentral and SouthEast wine regions. These wines pair well with pasta, lamb, mild hard cheeses, and burgers.

 

Traminette
Traminette is a white wine grape with notes of mango, pear, melon, and citrus zest. It is crisp and slightly sweet. They are mainly grown in the NorthCentral, SouthWest, and SouthEast regions of Pennsylvania. These wines pair well with shellfish, gorgonzola, ham, and chicken.

For more information about the grape varieties grown throughout Pennsylvania, check out the full PA Wines Grape Guide.

 

The Pennsylvania Winery Association is a trade association representing more than 100 member wineries and an advocate on behalf of the state’s growing multibillion-dollar wine industry. With some of the most fertile grape-growing land on the East Coast, Pennsylvania ranks fifth nationally in the amount of grapes grown, seventh in wine production, and seventh in the number of licensed wineries. To learn more about Pennsylvania wine or to plan a trip, visit PennsylvaniaWine.com.

Ronna Dewey

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