Clarion Grape Cultivar

a cluster of clarion grapes on a vine with a text overlay that states "Clarion is a wine grape variety suited for making dry white wines."

About Clarion

This variety has been evaluated as MN1220 for more than 20 years and continually produces top quality wines. The grape bunches are loose which can contribute to reduced disease and insect pressure for conventional production methods. Although marginally hardy in Zone 4 (Minnesota), this selection has tested well in Iowa and Wisconsin (Zone 5). With a less vigorous growth habit than other cold-hardy varieties, it is easier to manage in the vineyard. The upright growth habit and good shoot positions make Clarion a candidate for VSP or high wire cordon training systems. Clarion ripens earlier than many riparia based wine varieties, so it will fit in nicely into established harvest schedules.

Commercialization

Clarion will be released as an “open variety” and nurseries are being solicited to produce this variety. Virus-free stock is available for establishing mother blocks.
Limited vines will be available beginning in 2023 for vineyards.

Nurseries interested in propagating or testing vines for commercialization should contact Technology Commercialization at the University of Minnesota: BJ Haun | haunx003@umn.edu | 612-626-8495

Parentage

VB86-4 (Seyval blanc × Pinot Noir) × Frontenac (Riparia 89 × Landot 4511)

Fruit quality*

  • Cluster weight: 119.8 g
  • Berry weight: 1.65 g
  • Soluble solids content: 23.84 °Brix
  • pH: 3.19
  • Total acidity: 7.73 g/L
  • Malate: 3.7 g/L

*Data based on harvests 2015-2019 at the Horticultural Research Center, Excelsior, MN

Wine quality

  • Flavor: Pear, citrus, melon, apricot, chamomile
  • pH: 3.25
  • Total acidity: 7.27
  • Ethanol: 13.84%

Vine attributes

  • Vigor: Medium
  • Trellis: High wire or VSP
  • Habit: Good upright growth habit
  • Budbreak: Similar to Marquette
  • Bloom: later than Frontenac or Marquette
  • Harvest: Mid-September; before La Crescent
  • Hardiness: USDA zone 5, marginal in zone 4

Disease resistance

Clarion has moderate susceptibility to powdery mildew and black rot. However, downy mildew and gray mold infections have not been recorded.