V. riparia X V. labrusca. White wine grape. Kay Gray is an interspecific hybid cross between Vitis labrusca and V. riparia. Its parents are E.S. 217 (Minn. 78 x ‘Golden Muscat’) X (likely) ‘Onaka’, which is an old South Dakota cultivar. Another of the Elmer Swenson introductions, having its birthplace at Osceola, Wisconsin. Named after the wife of a friend of Swenson, Dick Gray. Dick was the former director of th Minnesota Freshwater Biological Institute.
Fruit – This golden colored grape is juicy, low in acid, and has a fruity and mildly sweet labrusca flavor. Somewhat moderate in texture between crispy and tender with a slipskin. The medium sized berries hang in small clusters (average weight is .21 lbs), which are compact, cylindrical and uniform with one small shoulder. An all purpose grape
. Vine – vigorous growth with typical sprawling habit. No cluster thinning is needed. Grapes ripen unevenly but will fill eventually, however this is another variety, like ‘Edelweiss’ which tastes a bit too foxy for me if it hangs too long. The fruit ripens in Walden in middle to late September. Cold hardy to -35 F, with survival but winter injury occurring at -40 F.
Wine – Makes a neutral white for blending or as a table wine. A nice varietal with a floral nose might be made in a good year, but usually only a fair wine is produced. Grapes should be harvested at 16 – 18 Brix (which is before full ripening) or objectionable tastes will develop. Excess oxidation should also be avoided during the winemaking process for good flavor.
Management – Slightly susceptible to nearly all the grape diseases, however, we have had no problems here at the farm. .
** The following states have import restrictions on grapes : ny, wa, or