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Introducing Aromella and Arandell

Two New Grape Varieties Named at Vit 2013

by Hudson Cattell
aromella arandell
Aromella (left) and Arandell were developed at Cornell University's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, N.Y. Photo: Jason Moore, CCTEC
Geneva, N.Y.—Dr. Bruce I. Reisch, director of the grape-breeding program at Cornell University's New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, announced the naming of two new grape varieties developed at the station. Arandell is a mid-season red winegrape with a high degree of natural disease resistance. Aromella is a winter-hardy white winegrape with excellent aromatic Muscat wine characteristics. Both varieties were formally named and released Feb. 7 at Viticulture 2013 in Rochester, N.Y. The Geneva Station grape-breeding program has always been a cooperative project with the enology program, and Reisch presented the two new releases with enologist Dr. Anna Katharine Mansfield.

Arandell was made in 1995 and was originally called NY95.0301.01. A cross between NY84.0101.03 and NY88.0514.01, it is described as moderately winter hardy. Mid-winter primary bud hardiness tests indicated that 50% bud kill would occur at about -13°F, and limited trunk damage has been observed after winter lows of -15 to -16°F.

The goal of the cross that produced Arandell was to combine disease resistance and wine quality. Arandell is highly resistant to powdery mildew, downy mildew and Botrytis bunch rot, and symptoms are rarely seen—even under heavy disease pressure. Botrytis bunch rot has never exceeded 2% of the fruit harvested. Black rot and Phomopsis have been observed in some years, and Arandell is classified as moderately resistant to them. In some areas where black rot is common, measures must be taken to protect Arandell.

Bud break usually occurs after Concord and before Traminette. At the Geneva Station, Arandell is harvested at the very end of September or early October. The juice composition at harvest averages 19.5° Brix and 3.3 pH, with a TA of 10.5 grams per liter.

Wines produced from Arandell are described as densely colored, have light to moderate tannins and exhibit notes of dark berry fruit (blueberry, dark cherry), tobacco and hints of black pepper or cedar on the finish. In cooler years there is a slight vegetal character.

Arandell is recommended for wine production under either minimal spray or potentially with organic vineyard-management systems. Productivity is improved through the use of vines planted on phylloxera-resistant rootstock.

Aromella is a cross between Traminette and Ravat 34, made in 1976 and was originally called NY76.0844.24. It is highly winter hardy with 50% primary bud kill occurring at approximately -16°F, with a range of -13.5° to -17.7°F. Trunk damage has not been observed, and vines have remained productive after winter lows of -15° to -16°F.

Aromella has medium resistance to downy and powdery mildews. The soft fruit remains in good condition until ripe, but Botrytis bunch rot and sour rots can cause losses if harvest is delayed—and particularly if it rains.

Bud break is between Concord and Traminette, and harvest is usually at the end of September or early October. Juice chemistry is similar to Riesling, averaging 19.5° Brix, 3.0 pH and 12 grams per liter TA. Wines produced from Aromella are described as aromatic and characterized by notes of pineapple, honeysuckle, citrus peel and floral Muscat character.

Aromella is recommended for commercial production of aromatic Muscat white wines and should be suitable for use as a varietal or for blending purposes.

Vines of both Arandell and Aromella may be purchased from licensed nurseries. For a list of licensees, email Jessica Lyga at the Cornell Center for Technology, Enterprise and Commercialization (CCTEC) at Virus-tested cuttings may be obtained from Foundation Plant Services at the University of California.

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