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Frisky Fox processes 50,000 to 60,000 pounds of local grapes every year. Iowa and Minnesota growers 



White Varieties


Prairie Star

Source: Iowa & Minnesota Vineyards

Prairie Star has excellent winter hardiness and moderate disease resistance, and is well adapted to a vertical shoot positioning system. This Elmer Swenson selection produces a neutral white wine with good mouth feel and finish. In some years it has a strong floral nose. Prairie Star is also used for blending to help add body to more neutral wines. Fruit matures to excellent sugar content and acidity for winemaking. Prairie Star was named after the town Star Prairie, Wisconsin which was near his home.

Osceola Muscat

Source: Frisky Fox Vineyard

Osceola Muscat (ES 2/8/43) is a white Muscat vine variety. Produces numerous clusters with small-to medium-sized grapes. Aromatic, very highly rated. Recommended variety for a short growing season. Very winter hardy to -35 to -37 °C. Ripens in early September, at 22 brix. Moderate vigour. Excellent wine, similar to a true Muscat. Small clusters may take longer to pick. Well-bodied, acidic, with good length in the mouth.  Bred by Elmer Swensen in Osceola, Wisconsin




Source: Frisky Fox Vineyard, Minnesota Vineyard

La Crescent is a white grape varietal developed by the University of Minnesota's cold hardy grape breeding program. Produced in Germanic style, LaCrescent wine is reminiscent of Vignoles or Riesling. It has an intense nose of apricot, peach and citrus with high acidity that provides good structure for excellent dessert or late-harvest style wines. Fruit ripens late August. This University of Minnesota introduction has survived temps down to -36 degrees F.




Source: Frisky Fox Vineyard, Minnesota Vineyard, Iowa Vineyard

Brianna is a medium to large grape that is greenish gold in colour. The flavour is very fruity with hints of tropical fruit like pineapple and mango. Brianna makes a palate pleasing, semi-sweet white wine with tropical aromas of pineapple, banana and mango. Also makes a nice grape juice and blends well into other wines, adding a fruity taste without being overbearing. The vine is an early producer with good vigour and productivity. It gives medium sized clusters within an orderly growth habit.  Brianna was developed by Elmer Swensen in Osceola, Wisconsin and is an interspecific hybrid of fox grape (Vitis labrusca) and frost grape (Vitis riparia).


Louise Swenson

Source: Frisky Fox Vineyard

Louise Swenson is one of Elmer Swensons grape varieties, named for his wife. The wine has a typically delicate aroma of flowers and honey. This wine's only fault is that it is rather light in body. Blending with a variety such as Prairie Star makes it a more complete wine. Louise Swenson rarely exceeds 20 Brix, but acidity is moderate.


Frontenac Blanc

Source: Frisky Fox Vineyard, Iowa Vineyard, Minnesota Vineyard

Frontenac Blanc, a mutation of Frontenac gris, is the latest member of the Frontenac grape family. Viticulture experts say the variety was first observed in Quebec during 2005 and that the mutation was probably taking place at several Canadian and Minnesota vineyards at roughly the same time.

Frontenac Gris

Source:  Iowa Vineyard

Frontenac gris is a variety of grape (Vitis hybrid) with gray (or gris, in French) colored fruit suitable for white wine production, and is well adapted to the Upper Midwest climate of the United States. ‘Frontenac gris’ has an unusual combination of high wine quality, excellent cold hardiness and disease resistance, and very good productivity.


Source: Iowa Vineyard


Itasca grapes are a crossing made from Frontenac gris and MN1234 (which is a crossing from MN1095 and Seyval). Itasca is also known as MN1825 and was bred by Peter Hemstad at the University of Minnesota in 2002. This variety was selected and tested in 2009. Itasca, named after Itasca State Park, was introduced in 2016 and released in 2017, and has recently been introduced in Canada.


Source: Iowa Vineyard


Edelweiss is a very winter-hardy wine grape variety, pale green in color, derived from crossing the Minnesota 78 and Ontario grapes. It was developed by Elmer Swenson in 1980 in cooperation with the University of Minnesota. The clusters are large and rather loose, weighing a pound or more.


Source: California

Riesling is a white grape variety which originated in the Rhine region of Germany. Riesling is an aromatic grape variety displaying flowery, almost perfumed, aromas as well as high acidity. It is used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet, and sparkling white wines.

Red Varieties



Source: Frisky Fox Vineyard, Minnesota Vineyard

Marquette wine grape is a University of Minnesota release that has superb wine-grape parentage that includes Frontenac and Pinot noir. The berries have a high sugar content and moderate acidity, producing wines with ruby-red color and a bouquet with notes of cherry, berry, black pepper and spice. Resists Downy Mildew, Powdery Mildew and Black Rot. Plants have an open, orderly growth habit. Ripens mid-September.



Petite Pearl

Source: Frisky Fox Vineyard

Petite Pearl wine has a dark garnet color and complexity in aroma and flavor. The grape has abundant soft tannins and excellent balance of tannins and polyphenols. The wine is garnet red with hints of clove, star anise, and mocha. Excellent fullness and tannin structure in the mouth and finish. Has great balance between acid, tannins and alcohol. This variety was developed by Tom Plocher.




Source: Frisky Fox Vineyard, Minnesota Vineyard

Produces a fruity and well balanced wine with vinifera qualities. The lower Brix (20 even when very mature) yields a low alcohol product. Makes a highly aromatic rose if grapes are processed early. Can be used as a dry varietal, but probably is best blended with some higher sugar varieties. Bred by Elmer Swensen in Osceola, Wisconsin and named by Gilles Benoit after the village of Sabrevois near the Richelieu River south of Montreal.



St Croix

Source: Minnesota Vineyard

This hybrid grape cultivar was produced in 1983 by Elmer Swenson.  St. Croix grapes produce medium to full bodied, dry, deep red wines with low tannins, good fruity aromas, and have currant and other dried fruit flavor aspects. Production often employs oak barrel ageing to add even more complexity to the wine’s bouquet and flavors.


Source: Iowa Vineyard

Frontenac is a classic bluish-black grape known for its rich, red wines and high vigor vines. The first of the Frontenac family introduced to the public, it was released in 1996. The introduction of Frontenac marked the start of a major movement in states like Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota as the acreage of cold hardy grapes and public interest in cold hardy wines rapidly grew.


Source: Frisky Fox Vineyard

Verona is a red wine grape developed by Tom Plocher. As a dry red, it is deeply colored and with abundant soft tannins in the middle mouth and finish. The wine made from Verona grapes has great balance between acid, tannins and alcohol. Aroma is complex, with dark chocolate flavors over raspberry. Also makes a good rose’ wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Source: California

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are among the most widely grown, widely known, and widely enjoyed grapes for red wine. The flavors and aromas of Cabernet Sauvignon wines include vanilla, currants, and even green bell pepper if made form underripe Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

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