Where Can I Find Trebbiano or Lambrusco Grapes?
I am wanting to find Trebbiano or Lambrusco grapes in Washington or Oregon. I would like to make balsamic vinegar, and apparently, I need those specific grapes. If you have any other information about other types of grapes I could use instead, I'd be happy to learn about alternatives that would work also.
Unfortunately, there are not any nurseries that I know of that are carrying Trebbiano or Lambrusco in Washington, mostly due to the fact that they are not an in-demand wine grape variety. There are some nurseries in California that carry the varieties, but Washington has very strict plant quarantine rules, so they plants would have to be "Certified". It looks like Vintage Nurseries (http://www.vintagenurseries.com) has carried the varieties in the past as certified (and thus, legally allowed to be shipped to WA); but I am not sure if they have a minimum order size.
On a bright note, I have noticed that both varieties are in the clean-up process at the Clean Plant Center Northwest-Grapes (the Washington location for "importing" plants to be sold in the state), but they likely won't be released to WA nurseries for propagation for a few more years.
One of the challenges you will find in Clark County is sufficient heat to ripen most of the vinifera varieties (European wine, table and raisin grapes) in most years. Depending on where you are at, the typical growing degree day (heat) accumulation in Clark County is around 1800-2100 units, and Modena is closer to 2700 units (similar to areas in eastern WA for a general comparison). Without adequately ripened fruit, you may not get sufficient sugar (and you might get too much acid) which won't give you the characteristically-sweet reduction.
You can technically make an aged syrup reduction to vinegar from any type of wine grape; Trebbiano (white grape) and Lambrusco (red grape) just happen to be abundant varieties in Modena, Italy (birthplace of balsamic). So the locals made use of the excess grapes. I recommend trying some of the different, local varieties grown with some success in western WA to see if they make a vinegar you enjoy. Siegerrebe and Madeleine Angevine are varieties that perform well and are fairly aromatic (fruity characteristics), and more importantly, can actually ripen to a sugar level that would allow for a decent syrup reduction. Cloud Mountain Farm in Everett, WA carries these varieties.
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Thank you so much for all of the information. I will look into having them shipped from California, or I might try one of the other locally grown grapes that you mentioned. I have spent months trying to find out information, and you have been the most helpful! This will be my first attempt at making vinegar, and I just want to make sure I do everything right. Thanks so much!