Cascade is a grape variety which is used in the making of red wine. It has a red complex hybrid structure and it was created by Albert Seibel, a French viticulturist in the earlier part of the 20th century.
This grape variety was bred in the Aubenas region of the Rhone valley of France and has been commercially made available in northern America since 1938. This grape is also exclusively planted in parts of Canada and the United States (especially in the state of New York).
Cascade grape variety grows well in cooler climates; however the warmer climate just makes the grape highly susceptible to number of viruses and fungal infections, causing the vine to rot, leading to the variety being discouraged for plantation.
History and Pedigree of Cascade Grapes
Cascade grape variety is a Seibel grape which was produced by crossing Gloire de Seibel and Siebel 7042 in the early 1930s by the French viticulturist, Albert Seibel.
This grape variety was first produced commercially in the year 1938. Initially, when this grape variant was experimented upon, it was given the name Seibel 13053, only to be later called as Cascade by the Wine growers association of Finger lakes, in the year 1970.
The exact reason as to why this name was chosen is unknown. However, some winegrowers speculate that this name was actually given to the grape because of the high number of fruits which this variant produces causing the vines to cascade like a waterfall.
Cascade grape variant is considered as an inter-specific complex hybrid, because it is produced from several species of grapes belonging to the Vitis Genus.
The pedigree of Cascade variant includes varieties taken from Vitis lincecumii, Vitis rotundifolia, Vitis rupestris, Vitis labrusca and Vitis vinifera species.
Seibel 7042 is a cross between Seibel 6268 and Seibel 5351. Gloire de Seibel is a cross between Seibel 452 and Seibel 867.
Apart from these parents and grandparents, Cascade grape variety is also related in the form of descendants to Chasselas Musqué, Concord and Vitis viniferateinturier variant Alicante Bouschet which is a great grandparent of Siebel 5351.
Cascade grape variant is also an extended relative of another vitis viniferateinturier variant Alicante Ganzin which is grandparent to Seibel 452 and the Munson grape variety which is the great-grand parent to Seibel 452. Cascade is also related to Rupestris du Lot, a phylloxera resistant rootstock variety which is a grandparent to Seibel 452
In Canada at the University Of Guelph Horticultural Research Institute Of Ontario, Cascade grape variety was crossed with Seyve Villard, a white Villard grape variety to produce a white wine grape variant L’Acadieblanc.
Cascade Grape Regions
In the year 1975 there were around 74 hectares of land (183 acres) under Cascade cultivation in the New York state of United States.
However, due to the inferior quality of wine produced from this grape, and the susceptibility of this variant to some of the fungal infections caused the growers to uproot it.
Today, this variant is typically grown in the state of Virginia and some pacific northwestern regions of United States.
Characteristics of Cascade Grape
Cascade grape variety is a very productive and a high yielding variety having a very early ripening quality.
The colour of this grape appears purple to bright blue with the grape vine being moderately winter hardy, able to sustain winter temperatures of below -10 degrees Fahrenheit or -23 degrees Celsius.
Cascade grape variety gives a bumper crop to the tune of almost 50 lbs per vine and according to the growers it does not over-crop, i.e. it does not lose its character, aroma and taste despite the higher yield, unlike other varieties like Pinot Noir.
This grape produces large triangular bunches having berries which are loosely packed offering a good resistance to most of the fungal infections like downy and powdery mildew.
However, in some climates, Cascade vine is prone to a number of infections such as tomato ringspot virus, which is soil borne and which causes the veins of the leaves to yellow and stunts the growth of the shoots, causing the fruit clusters to set improperly.
Flavours and Aroma of Cascade wines
Cascade grapes tend to produce wines which are light bodied and which have a very low acid content.
While it is rarely used for making a varietal wine, it is often used for blending with hybrid grape varieties like Baco noir and Maréchal Foch.
This grape distinctly gives aromas and flavours of strawberry fruit.
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