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Apple enthusiasts welcome WineCrisp

URBANA, ILIt's been a long road, but the results are receiving rave reviews from apple lovers. Following more than 25 years of breeding and research, a new apple cultivar has been introduced by scientists from the cooperative apple breeding program of the Illinois, New Jersey, and Indiana experiment stations. This high-quality dessert apple will be sold under the name 'WineCrisp'. Schuyler S. Korban, of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois, premiered the new apple in a recent issue of the American Society for Horticultural Science's journal HortScience.

'Co-op 31', or WineCrisp, is a highly productive, late-season red apple that ripens in mid-October, about two weeks after 'Delicious'. Korban describes Winecrisp as "not too sweet or too sour". He noted that the tree is extremely productive and the fruit is firm and dark red in color. "The apples are the color of a deep red wine, so we wanted to include 'wine' in the name. They resemble an older apple variety that consumers are familiar with called Winesap. When you pick it up and squeeze it, it's very firm. We also wanted that characteristic in the name so we added 'crisp' and named it WineCrisp", he added.

Korban thinks the new apple will appeal to consumers because of its taste and to growers because of its resistance to the fungal disease apple scab, a primary nemesis of apple growers. Not having to use chemical fungicides to spray for apple scab will lowers costs for growers and is a significant benefit for the environment. Korban added that WineCrisp apples can continue hanging on the tree even after ripening, making it important for growers to pick the fruit at maturity when the background has turned greenish yellow in color. Over the course of over 20 years of field observations, the tree appears to be cold-hardy for winter temperatures in Illinois and Indiana.

A U.S. patent for WineCrisp is pending. The apple is available now to nurseries who apply for a license to propagate trees and make them available to apple growers nationwide. Although it takes time for growers to incorporate new apple varieties into their orchards, Korban noted that when WineCrisp cuttings are grafted into a fast-growing root stock, growers could see fruit on the tree in as little as 3 years.


Contact: Michael W. Neff
American Society for Horticultural Science

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