Trollhaugen Grape Vine- Zone 4
Characteristics of the tree
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Trollhaugen grapes are medium-sized and dark blue-black, and grow in medium-sized, compact clusters. The grape is soft and juicy in texture, and although it is not quite ‘seedless’ as some claim, its seeds are very small and not much perceptible. It has a very good sweet and floral flavour, with aromas of peach and blueberry. The skin of the grape is of medium thickness, slip-skin (does not adhere to the grape). We like these grapes best for fresh eating, but some also recommend them for drying. The grape ripens early (in late August or early September for us in zone 4) and should be harvested as soon as it is observed to be ripe, as the grapes can deteriorate quickly if the stalk is not in good condition.
The Trollhaugen grape vine is classed as cold- hardy in zone 4. It is also late to open its buds, making it less likely to be damaged by late frosts. It is very vigorous and while it can produce fruit alone, its production is considerably improved with pollination from another variety of grape nearby. It has good resistance to most grape diseases and a slight susceptibility to phylloxera.
Trollhaugen was developed by Elmer Swenson, from a cross between MN 78 and Venus. It was selected in 1985, and introduced for propagation in 2000. It was given its name by David McGregor, a breeder and vineyard-owner (who, rather curiously, named it after a ski resort and adventure park in Wisconsin.) It is sometimes nicknamed ‘Troll.’
Like all vines, grape vines are of the nature to climb on a nearby support, gripping onto it by their tendrils. The support you provide will, to a great degree, determine the growth of your grape vine (i.e., it will not grow any taller than its supporting structure). This illustration shows a grape vine growing horizontally along a fence. You could also choose a pergola or another form of support.
Bear in mind also that you should not allow your vine to grow unrestrained as much as it pleases, if you wish to harvest a good amount of fruit. It should be properly pruned each year after it begins to produce.
All our grape vines are sold bare-root, without pots. They have been cultivated directly in our soil. Bare-root trees must be taken out of the ground and shipped during their period of dormancy, which is why we only ship trees in the spring. A big advantage with these kinds of trees is that they take up very little space, and can therefore be easily shipped by mail all over Canada!
This photograph shows a 1-2-foot grape vine, just like one that you might receive. It’s worth noting that grape vines are among the plants that are the latest to open their buds – so don’t panic if your vine seems to take longer than normal to break dormancy after you plant it.
When planning where to plant your grapevines and what kind of supporting structure to use, you might want to consider the possibility of laying down the vines under the snow for the winter. While all the cultivars we offer are hardy to at least zone 4, and therefore should not need extra protection for winter, we prefer to be on the safe side. Therefore, after we have pruned our grapevines in fall, we lay down the branches on the ground so that they will be insulated by the snow during the winter. We designed our fence with this in mind: you can see how we made it here. This might not be necessary in warmer zones, but is something you should consider if you are in zone 4a or colder.