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Maine Real Estate News & Notes

The Maine Wine Scene - September 2008

Icon_RENewsDid you know that there are wines produced in Maine?  In fact, although Maine’s wine industry is very young, it appears to be on solid ground and growing. Excellent fruit wineries dominate the industry, making good use of famous Maine produce like blueberries, cranberries, apples and pears. Some grape wines are also produced, using fruit imported from New York, California and the Pacific Northwest.

However, a handful of growers are exploring the possibility of growing grapes locally, from French and American hybrid varieties. Thanks to these viticultural pioneers, Maine-grown grape wines are now a small but growing portion of the wines produced here.

When thinking about something produced locally, below is a list of wineries accross the state.

Maine Wineries & Vineyards




Company Website 

 Maine WinesBar Harbor CellarsBar Harbor 
 Maine WinesBartlett Estate Winery Gouldsboro 
 Maine WinesBlacksmiths WinerySouth Casco
 Maine WinesCellardoor WineryLincolnville
 Maine WinesDayBreak Manor VineyardWiscasset
 Maine WinesMaine Mead WorksPortland
 Maine WinesOyster River WinegrowersWarren
 Maine WinesProspect Hill WineryLebanon
 Maine WinesRoyal River Winery Yarmouth  
 Maine WinesSavage Oakes Vineyard  Union
 Maine WinesShalom Orchard FarmFranklin
 Maine WinesSweetgrass Farm WineryUnion
 Maine WinesUnity WineryUnity
 Maine WinesVintner's Cellar Winery Portland 
 Maine WinesWinterport Winery Winterport 

Maine Grapes Varieties

Maine WinesAlthough growing conditions in the Northeast in general, and Maine in particular are not considered "ideal" for growing grapes, there are several varieties that do well.  Some of the most popular are:

Leon Millot: Its ability to ripen early in short growing seasons keeps it commercially important to wineries in Michigan, Ohio, and along the Atlantic seaboard as far North as Nova Scotia. Leon Millot typically produces structured red wines with rich color and round approachable tannins.

De Chaunac: At one time, it was the most planted hybrid in the cool vineyards of Canada, and the Northeast and Midwest United States. It can be very productive and winter hardy to -15 F (approx. -26 C.). De Chaunac yields a balanced and fruity wine of good quality, with generally low to mild tannin levels.

Marechal Foch: Is a vigorous, early-ripening variety, with good winter hardiness. It is well suited to cold-climate regions in Canada’s Niagara Peninsula and Nova Scotia. Marechal Foch is often considered to possess Burgundian characteristics, having a vibrant, deep purple color, with a light-medium structure and dark berry fruit characteristics
Niagara: Produces small vines and low crops, unless grafted onto a good growth rootstock and planted in soils of optimum fertility. 
Cayuga: This hybrid – a cross between the Seyval Blanc and Schuyler cultivars - has been embraced by winemakers in eastern states and other frost-susceptible parts of North America, like Maine. It is hardy, disease-resistant and produces quality fruit. It is known for its very large, high-yielding clusters. Early picking is important to maintain the grape’s acidity, fruit character and floral bouquet often associated with Riesling. Cayuga has proven to be a versatile varietal, capable of producing off-dry white wines, sparklers and, on occasion, even oak-aged table wines.
Concord: Introduced to the northeastern United States by Ephraim Bull around 1850, Concord is a historically-important and very hardy Native American Vitus labrusca cultivar. In 1869, Dr. Thomas Welch used the grape to process fresh grape juice. Currently, Concord is responsible for over half a million tons of grapes, produced in Washington State, the eastern states and Ontario. Much of Concord’s production is destined for juice, jelly or for table grapes. However, a significant amount is used to make sweet-finished wine – much of which is made kosher. It typically ripens by mid-late October.

Seyval Blanc: Well suited to cool climates, reliably productive and an early ripening (usually mid to late September) Seyval Blanc is made into crisp white wines, with no foxy flavor, or sometimes into off-dry versions where the tart nature of the variety is balanced with residual sugar 



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