‘Fay Rouge’ is named after Fay Triplett, a wine grape grower from Ceres, Calif., who conducted a private wine grape breeding program over a period of 25 years.
‘Fay Rouge’ has completed indexing and is in ‘Provisional Status’ at Foundation Plant Services (FPS).
‘Triplett blanc,’ a white variety, was released in 2004; two red wine varieties, ‘Maxine Rouge’ and ‘Rougett,’ were released in 2007. These varieties had shown promise in preliminary testing by Fay at Ceres and were subsequently transferred to the UC Kearney Agricultural Center in the late 1980s and early 1990s where they were evaluated with 29 other Triplett selections. Background information on Fay Triplett’s breeding program and the first variety release, ‘Triplett blanc,’ can be found in FPS Grape Program Newsletters, October 2002 and October 2004 at: fps.ucdavis.edu; an article describing ‘Maxine Rouge’ and ‘Rougett’ is in the October 2007 newsletter.
‘Fay Rouge’ was tested as F101‐4 and is a complex cross of F1‐2 [T213‐13 x T42‐36 (Ruby Cabernet x Barbera)] x T793‐20 (Grenache x Ravat noir). The parentage of T213 ‐13 is: T61‐9 (Grenache x Gros Manzenc) x T74‐21 (Zinfandel x Cabernet Sauvignon). It is of the same parentage and a sister variety to ‘Maxine Rouge.’
The shoots are of medium diameter, semi‐erect and trailing. Shoot tips are glabrous and medium green. Leaves are cordiform in shape, small to medium in size, dark green on upper surface and medium green on lower surface.
They are slightly bullate and wavy at the margins, with a narrow U-shaped petiolar sinus; the superior lateral sinus is of medium depth and the inferior lateral sinus is absent to shallow. They are glabrous on the upper and lower surfaces and with sparse cobwebby hairs on the lower surface veins; the teeth are of medium size with slightly convex sides. The clusters are of medium size, conical, slightly shouldered, loose to well‐filled, and with a medium‐length peduncle.
There was no occurrence of bunch rot during the trial. The berries are short oval, small‐medium in size, of dark purple‐black color, and with a gray bloom. The skin is tough and of good anthocyanin content. The canopy is moderately open due to relatively small leaves.
The vines are very fruitful. The fruit ripens in mid season (mid September in Fresno County) and with good compositional balance, making the variety well suited to a warm climate district. A three-year summary of the harvest data from the UC Kearney Agricultural Center (Fresno County) is given in Table 1.
The test vines at Kearney were planted at 8-by-10 feet vine and row spacing and trained to a bilateral cordon at 54 inches and with a foliar catch wire at 65 inches.
They were pruned to 22 2‐node spurs per vine. The fairly open canopy minimizes the need for canopy manipulation.
Table wines made from the variety have been described as medium bodied with good color and mouth feel and of good acidity.
The flavor profile is fresh red to dark fruits, and it can have some herbaceous flavor as well. It has been described as similar to Cabernet Sauvignon or Ruby Cabernet if the fruit is fully ripe.