Cool-cold climate viticulture of the Eastern United States is characterized by reduced heat during the growing season and cold winters. Winters, in particular, are at the edge of survival for many of the classical Vitis vinifera and, consequently, hybrids are often utilized for wine-making production. There are numerous varieties used including classical French Hybrids or, more recently, alternative hybrids released by the breeding programs of the University of Minnesota or Cornell University. These hybrids are derived from simple to complex crosses between indigenous varieties and Vitis vinifera. Hybrid varieties are fundamentally important in states and sites characterized by challenging weather conditions and/or high pest and disease pressure. This manuscript describes the main genetic and viticultural characteristics of the hybrids used in the Eastern U.S., with particular emphasis on climate adaptation (especially resistance to cold), impact of cultivation techniques (pruning and canopy management) on grape and wine composition, and resistance to major pests and diseases.
Keywords: Vitis vinifera, Vitis Labrusca, native american varieties, phylloxera, cold hardiness, pest and disease resistance