Lake Champlain Grape Growers Association

January 14, 2010

Due to travel plans, I was fortunate to be able to change my schedule and attend the monthly meeting of the LCGGA.  These are normally held on Thursdays which are tough for me, but once and a while it works out.  These are a group of folks I originally met through volunteering at the Cornell University Baker Farm trial vineyard in Willsboro, NY just across the lake from Burlington.  My family is located in Willsboro, and so this five year old project is in a place that is very close to my heart.  Ever since a trip to the finger lakes as a kid, I have wondered why we don’t have grapes in the Champlain Valley…since then I have learned about the sensitivity of vitis vinifera, and the reason why is clear…however, with the advent of a number of cold hardy cultivars, that childhood (or child-like) dream is coming to fruition.
This group is at the bleeding edge of viticulture in the valley, and is taking on the task of spreading the word, and aggregating knowledge regarding wine grapes that can grow in our latitude and climate.  There is a significant amount of practical knowledge in this group, and they are finally formally organizing to share it.  The web site is just getting started, but if you are at all interested in cold hardy wine grape cultivars, it is worth following up.
http://www.lakechamplainwines.com

The brochure website will provide basic information but they hope to provide more helpful and relevant stuff for those interested in growing grapes in the north country.   There is a forum site dedicated to vineyard management and winemaking topics as well.

We’ve already made a few batches of wine from the Champlain Valley, and it’s good enough that we are carefully guarding the stockpile.
We even have a bubbly that is in process right now:
“de la pointe”
blanc de blancs
moussant en Vermont.

Rich Lamoy during the harvest at Willsboro Point

Rich Lamoy during the harvest at Willsboro Point

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