Wine Importing and Marketing Services

Meet Traminette, Indiana’s Signature Grape

Illustration by Andressa Meissner

Three must be something special about a grape if a state declares it as its own. Meet Traminette, Indiana’s signature wine grape. This white hybrid is a cross between Gewürztraminer and Joannes Seyve 23.416 (itself already a hybrid—making Traminette a true mashup), bred in 1965 by Herb C. Barrett, whose original intent was to create a table grape that incorporated the classic floral perfume and white pepper spice innate to Gewürztraminer.

“It’s a grape we can grow from north to south,” says Jill Blume, enology specialist at Purdue University, explaining that the state, which sees all four seasons—from extremely cold winters through to hot, even humid summers—is much cooler in the north than it is in the south. Thus, finding a grape that is both winter-hardy and disease resistant is key for growers throughout Indiana to produce healthy grapes and high-quality wines.

“In the north, tmhe growing season can be as little as 150 to 160 days…and winter temperatures can reach minus 15–20°F,” explains Jeff Hill, proprietor of Rettig Hill Winery in Milan, Indiana. “The northern part of the state can fully ripen Traminette, but their harvest dates occur about 10 to 14 days after southern Indiana and the total Brix and pH are lower.” Conversely, in the southern part of the state, the growing season can exceed 200 days, and winter low temperatures are much more moderate, resulting in an overall riper fruit profile.

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