Vidal Blanc is often used in late-harvest dessert wine styles but must be watched carefully in the vineyard. If left to ripen too long into a damp, early winter, mildew and bunch rot are quite likely to develop.
A white hybrid grape variety produced from the Vitis vinifera variety Ugni blanc (also known as Trebbiano Toscano) and another hybrid variety, Rayon d'Or (Seibel 4986). It is a very winter-hardy variety that manages to produce high sugar levels in cold climates with moderate to high acidity.
The grape was developed in the 1930s by French wine grape breeder Jean Louis Vidal; his primary goal in developing the variety was for the production of Cognac in the Charente-Maritime region of western France. However, due to its winter hardiness this grape variety is cultivated most extensively in the Canadian wine regions of Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia where it is often used for ice wine production as a permitted grape of the Vintners Quality Alliance. It is also grown widely throughout the United States where it is used to produce both dry and sweet wines in the Finger Lakes AVA of New York, Yadkin Valley AVA of North Carolina, Michigan, Virginia, Missouri and other states. The grape is also grown just 500 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Sweden where it is also used to make ice wine.