Red Wine Grape Varieties To Grow For National Red Wine Day

Two glasses of red wine and grapes sit on a barrel with grapevines in the background
(Image credit: Rostislav_Sedlacek)

Those gardeners who love orange juice might plant citrus trees. Those who love red wine – like merlot, pinot noir, shiraz, or cabernet sauvignon – can install red wine grapes. That also allows you special celebration rights on National Red Wine Day.

National Red Wine Day

You don’t need an excuse for lifting a glass of red wine with friends. However, there’s one day when it’s particularly appropriate: National Red Wine Day. It’s truly a thing, a national day to celebrate this delightful drink.

When is National Red Wine Day? It’s right at the end of summer, on August 28th. There’s no better way to fete this holiday than drinking a little wine made from your own grapes.

Grapes for Red Wine

Did you know that more grapes are grown in the world than any other perennial fruit crop? Some are for table grapes, others destined for raisins, and a fair amount intended for wine. There are many different types of red wine grapes, usually called varieties. As is the case with other fruit crops, each red wine grape variety does best in particular conditions. Selecting grape varieties that will grow well in your climate and soil is critical. 

Note that grapes don’t do well in locations above 6,000 feet (1,829 m.) in elevation, and even lower elevations can be problematic if there is the risk of frost injury. The winter hardiness of a grape variety depends on its genetic makeup.

Red Wine Varieties

You can think of red wine varieties as falling into one of four general categories which include European grapes, American grapes, and hybrid red wine grapes from America and France. European grapes need a Mediterranean climate, with dry, hot summers and mild winters. They make up most commercial wine production as well as table grape production.

American grapes are grapevine species native to North America and the Caribbean. They are more cold-hardy and tougher when it comes to fighting off disease but are used mostly for juice. Some American hybrid grapes are used for wine including Seneca

French hybrids cross American and European varieties to create disease resistant, cold tolerant wine grapes. Resulting red wine grapes include Baco Noir, Chambourcin, Regent, Leon Millot, and Noiret.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.