At one time Baco noir was commonly grown in France, but by European Union regulation, the commercial use of hybrid grape varieties is restricted. In 1951 the variety was brought to the cooler viticulture regions of the United States, such as New York, Michigan, Mississippi, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Oregon. In New York there are an estimated 240 hectares of Baco noir currently grown. In 1955 the variety was brought to Canada, where the "George" clonal variety is commonly used. Within Canada, Baco Noir is far more commonly grown in Ontario than in British Columbia.
Baco Noir was the victim of a vine-pull program in Canada in the early 1980s, which means that there are few older plots of this varietal left in Canada. Despite this, Baco Noir (single varietal or in blends) remains a commonly produced wine in many Canadian wineries; notable current examples of finely made Canadian Baco Noir include Henry of Pelham Winery Family Estate Winery's and Lakeview Cellars' "Baco Noir Reserve".
Baco noir produces a medium body, deeply tinted, acidic red wine which is fruit forward and often carries aromas of black fruits and caramel. Ageing potential is 5-8 years on average for good examples of this wine.
In warmer climates, say as in the Atlantic Piedmont, Baco noir produces wines with leather and berry flavors if the fruit is allowed to hang until just before the berries start to shell. The acid is not overbearing. Baco noir has the potential in the hands of a skilled winemaker of producing a fine port. This variety does not have tannins like those of the Cabernets or Merlot.
The grape is fairly resistant to the common ills of grapes in the eastern U.S., including black rot, powdery mildew, and downy mildew, and tends to be vigorous. It grows well on 6-8 foot cordons, with vertical shoot positioning. The vines can carry up to 3 clusters per shoot without overcropping. The vine tolerates highly acid soil (pH 4.9) and does not exhibit phyloxera. The vine is not particularly atttractive to Japanese beetles. In droughty years, the vine is balanced. In wet years, there is no couloir; however, the vines produce more vine than needed and may need to be hedged many times. Do not plant this vine in good soil.
Synonyms: Baco 1, Baco N°1, Baco # 1, Bacoi, Bago, Bakon, Bako Speiskii