Marquette is a promising new red wine variety that combines high levels of cold hardiness and disease resistance with excellent wine quality.
Marquette originated from a cross made in 1989 between MN 1094 and the French Hybrid cultivar Ravat 262. MN 1094 was derived from a complex parentage including V. riparia, V. vinifera, and lesser amounts of several other Vitis species. Ravat 262 likewise has a complex background, but has the renowned variety Pinot noir as one parent. Marquette was selected in 1994 and tested as MN 1211.
Viticulturally, Marquette has proven to be an outstanding vine. In terms of cold hardiness, it has been consistently hardy in well managed vineyards on good sites in USDA zone 4. Resistance to common grape diseases (downy mildew, powdery mildew and black rot), has been very good and the vine requires only a minimal spray program under Minnesota conditions. Resistance to infestation by foliar phylloxera has been moderate. The open and orderly growth habit of Marquette is considered highly desirable for efficient vineyard management and fruit exposure to the sun conducive to maximizing wine quality. Shoots typically have two small to medium clusters per shoot, thus avoiding the need for cluster thinning. Bud break is somewhat early, slightly before Frontenac. Marquette ripens in early mid-season (Sept. 19 in east central Minnesota), a few days before the standard cultivar Frontenac. Marquette yields have been moderate, averaging 4.78 Kg/ vine or 3.42 tons/acre.
The clusters of Marquette are small to medium in size, averaging 89 g/cluster and 10.6 cm (4.2 in) in length. Berries are small to medium averaging 1.1 g/ berry and 12 mm (0.5 in) in diameter. Sugar levels have been high, averaging 25.9° brix. Acid levels have also been higher than most cultivars (12.0 g/l) although substantially lower than that of Frontenac (15.1 g/l). This level of titratable acidity has been found to be quite manageable by experienced winemakers. Marquette's average juice pH value has been 3.00.
Marquette appears to have considerable promise not only in the Upper Midwest, but also in Eastern grape growing regions such as Michigan, New York, New England, and Quebec.