Isabella is a black grape from USA, where more than half of the world wide planted area now is in Brazil.

Characteristics
Isabella is, as many inter­spe­cific cross­ings, a sturdy vine that can take on tough climates, such as a very warm climate.

Typical flavours are light red berries, such as straw­berries and wild straw­berries. However, its Vitis Labrusca heritage also brings the “foxiness” that charac­terises this species, a kind of flavour that persons who are used to the Vitis Vini­fera might find a bit difficult at first.

Wines
The typical Isabella varietal wine will be a light red wine, with fruitiness from light red berry, medium acidity and not too much of tannins.

Food pairing
Nice pairing for a dry Isabella varietal is white or red bird, or a not too heavily seasoned pork dish. Serve the wine at 12-14°C/54-57°F to allow of the fruitiness to display.

Where is it grown?
Isabella is a grape that has increased in worldwide acreage with almost twenty percent in ten years. With 32.494 ha/80,294 ac it is the thirty-first most planted grape in the world.

  • Brazil: 18.279 ha/45,168 ac. Mpg rank 1
  • Moldavia 11.401 ha/28,172 ac. Mpg rank 3
  • Ukraine 2.396 ha/5,921 ac. Mpg rank 9

There are also plantings of 259 ha/640 ac reported from Uruguay. Outside of the official reporting, Isabella is said to be grown in several other countries, such as Italy, India, Japan and Portugal.

History
Isabella’s exact origin is unknown, but it was discovered in South Carolina, USA, in the early nineteenth century. It is recognised as a natural crossing between a Vitis Labrusca and a Vitis Vinifera variety. So far, no DNA testing has been done to establish which those varieties were.