GENEVA — Two new members of New York’s growing wine grape family now have names.
After reviewing 1,100 suggestions from people all over the world, Cornell University Professor of Horticulture Bruce Reisch announced the winners at Viticulture 2013 in Rochester Thursday.
Say hello to Arandell and Aromella.
Arandell is an organic, dark-red grape. The name is a construed version of the Spanish word “arandano,” which means blueberry, with the “ell” of Cornell placed at the end. It was suggested by Michael Fleischhauer, a retired computer analyst and wine enthusiast from Juneau, Alaska.
It is the first grape to be released from the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station’s “no-spray” vineyard.
“This variety is grown without pesticides or fungicides and is a strong candidate for wine producers that are seeking an organic grape,” Reisch explained.
Arandell was developed in 1995 and immediately put into production due to its promise. It often takes 30 to 40 years for varieties to be ready for release on the commercial market.
The hint of blueberry is sure to attract wine lovers, Reisch said, and the process of production and resistance to down and powdery mildews could be of interest to those looking to develop sustainable crops.
Aromella is a hearty, white-wine grape with a citrus character that was developed in 1976. The name comes from a California winemaker and songwriter, Michael Borboa. Reisch believes the release of the grape comes just in time for the winter season due to the surging popularity of muscat wines.
According to an Experiment Station press release, grape naming is becoming incredibly challenging because there are more than 7,000 varieties on the market today.
Arandell and Aromella are the 55th and 56th cultivars released by Cornell’s grape-breeding program since its establishment in 1888. The program’s first wine grape, Cayuga White, was released in 1972 and now accounts for more than $20 million of wine production in New York each year.
Arandell and Aromella wines are available at Grafted Grapevine Nursery in Clifton Springs and Double A Vineyards in Fredonia.
Reisch has been with Cornell since 1980 and has been working on grape breeding since his arrival.
“Grapes are so incredibly diverse, between production and the final product,” he said. “The study of breeding new varieties never gets boring.”