Country of origin: France
Berry color: Blue-black
Common synonyms: Gamay, Valdiguer, Cahors, Gros Auxerrois, Jean-Pierrou at Sauzet, Quercy, Noir de Chartres
Comments: The TTB-approved prime name is Valdiguie
Valdiguié’s French origin is unclear due to conflicting claims of its first cultivation. It was first commercially propagated in 1874. Plantings became fairly widespread throughout southwestern France, largely because of its high yield and powdery mildew tolerance. It is still grown in Languedoc and Provence, but as a minor variety. In California the variety gained popularity during Prohibition because of its high productivity, with acreage scattered throughout Northern California after Repeal. Areas of later expansion included the Central Coast and Central Valley, as well as the North Coast. Following the wine grape planting boom of the 1970s, total plantings peaked at 6,118 total acres in 1977. Total acreage has since declined to below 1,000 acres.
Vines are moderately vigorous to vigorous, unless depressed with heavy cropping. With moderate growth, shoots will remain upright and the canopy will spread with non-shoot-positioned vines. Vigorous vines will grow upright during the early season, but the shoots will trail by late season. Valdiguié is suited to a fairly wide range of soil types. It is adapted to the warmer districts of the North and Central Coast. The vines leaf out fairly late, tending to escape early spring frosts.
Valdiguié is used for the production of fruity red or rosé table wines under a varietal label. Fruit anthocyanin content is adequate for light- to medium-bodied red wines in coastal districts but may be insufficient in the Central Valley. “Nouveau” wines of Valdiguié have used carbonic maceration, a fermentation method using uncrushed grapes in closed fermenters to produce light-bodied wines to be sold when young.
Foundation Plant Services at UC Davis is the source of Foundation grapevine material for the nursery industry, and the staff can provide information about possible sources for obtaining this stock.
The National Grape Registry (NGR) contains information about varieties of wine, juice, and table grapes, raisins, and grape rootstocks available in the United States. Growers, nurseries, winemakers and researchers can find background information and source contacts for those grape varieties in this single convenient location.