Pennsylvania Wine School: What is a Steuben?

Chambour-huh? Vidal who? Need some help demystifying some of Pennsylvania’s most essential wine words? The PA Wine Land Post is at your service, schooling you on the grapes you need to know.

Varietal: Steuben (pronounced Stew-BEN)

Grown: Across Pennsylvania

Similar to: Concord or White Zinfandel

Steuben is spicy and sweet, with hints of honey — thus its nickname “ambrosia.” Wine Compass describes the varietal as “grape juice with a kick.”

A hybrid grape, Steuben was developed in 1947 by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station by blending Wayne and Sheridan vines. It has become popular in the northeast and midwestern United States, due to the grapes’s ability to thrive in the cold and resistance to disease.

Similar to Concord, the grapes produce mild, grapey reds with a slight “foxy” flavor. Steuben is most commonly employed in sweet and off-dry wines, which accentuates its light, fruity quality. While the black-skinned grape is often used to produce red wine, it is becoming increasingly popular in a rosé or blush style. These pink vintages exhibit berry notes and whiffs of cinnamon. Like Catawba, Steuben is a great option for White Zinfandel/blush lovers seeking something new.

With its sweet, gentle flavor, Steuben pairs well with a wide range of foods. Think briny (clams with linguine and garlic) or rich and spicy (grilled chicken with Thai peanut sauce). It is also a lovely companion to an array of cheeses paired with fruit chutneys — red styles would pair particularly well with a cranberry condiment or zippy orange mostarda.

Below is a sampling of PA Steuben wines for you to try from all across PA Wine Land. Wines listed below were available as of the date of publication [02/15/18]. Contact the winery directly for current inventory.

Deer Creek Winery, Sunset Steuben
Presque Isle Wine Cellars, Creekside Blush

Shade Mountain Vineyards, Witch’s Titmouse Ice Wine: Steuben Ice Wine
Oregon Hill Winery, Steuben

Wood Winery, Barnyard Blush

Germantown Winery, Steuben
B & L Wine Cellars, Steuben

Oak Spring Winery, Steuben
West Hanover Winery, Steuben

Benigna’s Creek Vineyard & Winery, Benigna’s Blush

To learn more about other varietals that are grown across PA Wine Land, visit our Wine School library.

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