Grape Production through the Growing Season

Grape vines are a beautiful feature for your landscape that provide both aesthetic and edible benefits. Grapes can be grown in Illinois if you choose a variety that is hardy enough to survive the cold winter temperatures. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Hardiness Zone Map, Illinois has spans zones 5a through 6b. In addition to selecting for cold hardiness, select varieties for flavor, sugar content, use, maturity, and disease resistance. The first five years of establishment are critical for a long, productive life for your grapevines.

Two categories of grapes are cold hardy for Illinois: American and French-American varieties. American varieties (Concord, Catawba, Niagara, etc.) have the most cold hardiness and better disease resistance than French-American or French varieties. French-American varieties (Edelweiss, Frontenac, St. Croix, etc.) are French varieties of grapes on American rootstocks. American rootstocks allow for increased disease resistance and increased cold hardiness.

Extension's Elizabeth Wahle offers a series of videos to help throughout the growing season.