The red grape variety is a complex interspecific new variety between Elmer Swenson 193(Minnesota 78 x Seneca) x Elmer Swenson 283 (E. S. 114 x Seyval Blanc). Synonyms are Elmer Swenson 242, ES 242 and Sainte Croix. Genes of Vitis labrusca, Vitis lincecumii, Vitis riparia, Vitis rupestris and Vitis vinifera are included. The hybrid was crossed in 1983 by the breeder Elmer Swenson (1913-2004) near Osceola (Wisconsin). By the way, the new breed Sabrevois was created with the same parents. St. Croix was a crossbreeding partner in the two new breeds Chisago and Pionnier.
The early to medium ripening vine is moderately susceptible to both types of mildew and botrytis, but extremely frost hardy to minus 35 °Celsius. It produces mild, low-tannin red wines without fox tone and aromas of tobacco and smoke, which are mainly used as blends. It is also used for table grapes. The variety is grown in Quebec/Canada, as well as in the US states of Illinois (6 ha), Indiana, Iowa (12 ha), Minnesota (7 ha) and Pennsylvania. In 2010, 25 hectares of vineyards were designated in the USA (Kym Anderson).
Source: Wine Grapes / J. Robinson, J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz / Penguin Books Ltd. 2012
Pictures: Ursula Brühl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)