Wild Grape Vineyards on KVRR News! 10-09-17

The Only Wild Grape Vineyard in the Country is Right Here in North Dakota


KINDRED, ND — It is harvest season in North Dakota and there are tons of corn and soybeans ready to eat.

But those are not the only crops that are ripe for the picking.

“Get a clippers in their hand, it’s really simple,” said Jason Kesselring, who is the vineyard manager. “You know, you just go one plant, in the bucket.”

We heard through the grapevine that farmers and volunteers are hard at work in Kindred.

“These are grapes that are not only local to North Dakota, but this area right from the river here, that’s probably 100 yards away,” said Curt Kesselring, owner of the vineyard.

This is the only wild grape vineyard in America, and it’s right here in North Dakota.

But that’s not the only thing that makes it special.

“A lot of it is just the interest in what’s local,” Jason said. “A lot of wineries will import their wine, even from another state or whatever, where we’re kind of keen on making wine from native grapes.”

“We’re interested in having the local wine that truly is local,” Curt said. “It is native to this area and no one else can really say that. We like being unique.”

They are taking something that is considered wild and hoping to bring it to dinner tables across the country.

“We’re just doing a classical technique of what everybody does from France to Italy,” Jason said.

This grape was grown and raised in the Peace Garden State and has adapted to a lifestyle with harsh winters.

“North Dakota is a very difficult, hard climate to live in and this is a hearty grape and a hearty vine just like the people of North Dakota,” Curt said.

“Really resilient grape,” Jason said. “It’s hearty, it can withstand negative temperatures really well and you can make wine out of it, most importantly.”

The wild grape is unlike any others.

The owner said the color isn’t its only unique feature.

The taste is one of a kind as well.

“It’s a very unique flavor,” Curt said. “It’s a very dark red, dark purple. It’s probably the most beautiful color of any wine that you’ll ever see.”

Their goal is to combine that taste and color and take their farm to the next level.

“Our plan is to build a winery on this site here and make our own wine beginning next year,” Curt said.

Which also has them hoping for a bountiful and “grape–ful” harvest.

Organizers at the vineyard are still looking for volunteers to help harvest the grapes.

If you are interested contact Jason Kesselring at (612) 741-5691.




June, 2015- Vines recover from Spring frost (secondary buds show fruit)

A series of freezing temps occurred during the night this spring which in turn froze out our primary fruiting buds. Now after a month new leaves and fruit have come forth from the secondary bud. Looking good but unfortunately we will probably get a third of the fruit we would normally get.

Shot of vineyard 1 showing its recovery as of June 29th

Picture of secondary fruit clusters. Sparse.. But at least we are getting something!

A shot of wild grape clusters in the wild.

May 17-18, 2015 Frost Damage

The beginning of this saw almost 2 inches of rain but unfortunately we saw night time temps dip below 32 degrees which unfortunately damaged the vines. (See pics below)  What this means is that the new shoots from the primary buds will dry up and fall off. What should occur next the secondary buds will produce new shoots which will give about 30 to 50% of what we would have had. Barring any other problems of course!


May 11-12, 2015 Rain and Cold

The last few days have seen close to 2 inches of rain which was much needed since we were really dry. Unfortunately I saw that both Saturday and Sunday saw cold temps that dipped below 32 degrees both nights. ( 31 degrees Saturday and 30 degrees Sunday ) From what I see from the leaves they look like they may have some damage. Leaves are looking slightly wrinkly. See pics below





April 20th, 2015- buds begin to swell slightly in Vineyard while in the wild they are still dormant. 

The past week saw high temperatures in the 70’s. There has been no rain until this week which was a paltry 1/4 inch on Sunday. No rain predicted for the next week although temps will be 32 degrees F and under at the beginning with it warming up to lows in the 40s. Buds seem to beginning to swell in vineyards but nothing is occurring on the wild.

Buds in vineyard are beginning to swell.



Buds in wild are still hard unlike those in vineyard.