There are essentially two types of vines for planting in small or large vineyards, “grafted rootstock” and “own root”. Grafted rootstock is usually planted dormant while own root may be planted either as dormant or green. The most important aspect of choosing the rootstock is that you ensure you have a source of healthy economical vine.
Grape vine varieties can be divided into three categories: vitis vinifera, labrusca, French hybrids.
1. The vitis vinifera are the classic wine grape like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling they tend to be sensitive to disease and have limited tolerance to winter cold but do produce quality wine.
2. The lubrusca are typically vigorous, cold hardy, disease resistant plants and contain cultivars like Concord and Niagara that are not suitable for quality wine.
3. The French hybrids were bred primarily in France to combine natural hardiness and disease resistance of North American vines with vinifera wine quality.
While most of the wineries and some of the growers have plantings of vinifera varieties Nova Scotia has a substantial part of its vineyard acreage in hybrids.
It is important to spend time researching and deciding what combination of varieties will work best for your site. It is also important to work with the wineries that will be purchasing your grapes to decide together the best varieties for your operation.