Concord Grape and Wine Information
Concord is a grape that falls into the grouping of grapes known as Vitis labrusca. The name literally means "fox grape" because grapes in this category have a very sharp, foxy smell. Many wine drinkers raised on the European Vitus vinifera grapes like chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet are turned off by this sharp aroma in the Concord grapes. It's certainly an acquired taste (or smell!) However, once you get used to it, you can find that wines made from labrusca grapes do offer their own special flavors.
The reason many wineries in the US grow the Vitus labrusca grapes is that they are extremely well adapted for the US climate. Also, they are naturally resistant to phylloxera, the nasty louse that destroys all roots from the vitus vinifera stock. In order for vitus vinifera vines to grow in modern soils, they have to be grafted onto phylloxera-resistant roots. Back in the "old days", phylloxera was not wide spread, but in modern times it has reached most commonly used vineyards.
Concord was actually created in 1849 as part of a breeding project by Ephraim Bull. Guess where he was working? Concord, Massachusetts!
Most concord grapes are eaten as table grapes. There are a few enterprising wineries who turn this into wine. It can be tasty! But again, if the smell turns you off, give it another try. It's like a strong smelling cheese - it can be hard on newbies, but those who take the time can really find it a special treat.
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