March 24, 2013

Wine and Dine with Arandell and Aromella

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There are over four thousand distinct varieties of grapes in the world. Some of their names are easily recognizable, like Merlot or Chardonnay, while others remain obscure. In the United States, wines are often labeled under the name of their primary grape variety, so having a marketable name is important.

After deciding from over 1,000 different names, Cornell University christened two new grape varieties: Arandell and Aromella on February 7 at Viticulture 2013, the premier grape and wine industry conference in Rochester, NY.

Prof. Bruce Reisch, horticulture, and his team opened the naming process to the general public and let them decide on names. Contestants sent Reisch potential names until the end of summer 2012, and, after a screening process, Reisch narrowed it down to two names.

Both the Arandell and Aromella varieties were created through standard hybridization. Hybridization is the process of crossing the genes of two parent plants. The seedlings of those plants are grown and evaluated in the field and in the lab for certain characteristics.

“Growers expect vineyards to remain productive for 25 years or more. We need multiple years of field testing to provide some assurance,” Reisch said.

Arandell, previously known as NY-95.0301.01, is a red wine grape variety that has a hint of blueberry taste. It is the first grape released from the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station’s “no-spray” vineyard, where neither fungicide nor insecticide sprays are used. Arandell’s high resistance to mildews makes it attractive to sustainable and organic growers, since the traditional way to keep grapes safe is by using pesticide sprays.

Arandell’s name was provided by Michael Fleischhauer, a wine enthusiast from Alaska, as a mash up of arándano azul, the Spanish word for blueberry, and “ell” from Cornell. Arandell took 18 years to develop.

Aromella, previously known as NY-76.0844.24, is a white wine grape, named by Michael Borboa, a California wine grower and songwriter. The grape is highly ranked in winter hardiness and productivity. It took 37 years to develop Aromella.

“Wine can be enjoyed in any way that you wish — it’s a strictly personal decision and not something that is up to an expert to dictate. Enjoy wine as you wish, when you wish and with whatever food you wish — and enjoy everything in moderation,“ Reisch said.

Original Author: Moyouri bhattacharjee