Frontenac WINE

Frontenac (fron-ta-nac) has passed on the genetics that many North Country varietals owe their winter survival to. Frontenac produces a higher acidity, deeply colorful red wine with strawberry and cherry aromas. The skins of the Frontenac grape are rich in color and aromatics, with notes of berries and spice. It especially lends itself well to styles such as rosé and sparkling wine, that make wonderful use of its higher acidity.

Photo provided by Rolling Hills Estate Winery, Champlain Valley of New York

“Frontenac is the grandfather of all cold climate cultivars and it is the genetics of this cultivar, that give most cold climate varietals their winter survivability. I really like to use this varietal to produce sparkling wine or rosé.

Dan Faber, Head Winemaker at Rolling Hills Estate Winery


Dating back to 1983, Frontenac is one of the oldest of cold climate cultivars. A cross between the French Vitis viniferia species, Landot Noir and the Native American Vitis riparia species, Frontenac’s cold hardiness allows this grape to be grown as far north as Quebec, Canada. It is thriving in many Northern United States, New York, Michigan, Vermont and Minnesota.  

frontenac Food Pairings

With its higher acidity and fruit forward flavors, Frontenac pairs well with a variety of dishes – seared duck, pork with a cherry sauce, lamb or beef dishes. You can also pair with pasta with meat or red sauce, as well as roasted root vegetables. For dessert, Frontenac complements chocolatey desserts such as lava cake or rich chocolate fudge.

Rolling Hills Estate Winery
Photo provided by Rolling Hills Estate Winery

What are french-American hybrids?

French-American Hybrids are the crossing of the European Vitis vinifera species with one or more Native American Vitis species. Early on, many of these grapes were grafted – aka spliced together – in France.  The goal was to combine the superior traits of both vines to produce grapes, with excellent wine quality that have a higher resistance to diseases and pests.

Research began on grafting Vitis vinifera species to American rootstock in the 1860’s to combat the phylloxera epidemic that nearly decimated wine regions around the world. Research continues today at the University of Minnesota and Cornell University in New York due to the rise in climate change. More on French American hybrids.


Looking for recommendations on Frontenac wines? Here are a few we suggest.

Frontenac Rosé

Rolling Hills Estate Winery

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Elaine Schoch

Elaine N. Schoch

Elaine Schoch (pronounced the German way – Shock) is the editor and founder of Carpe Travel as well as an award-winning travel writer, wine judge, certified by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 2 and certified American Wine Expert. She is married to The Husband and has two kids, Princess One and Two – who’s interest and knowledge in wine is quite extensive. Not to mention the stamps in their passports.