Harsh winter conditions prevented the growth of traditional grape varieties in the Thousand Islands Region. Then, in 1996, the University of Minnesota introduced a high-quality, cold-hardy, and disease-resistant wine grape cultivar, Frontenac. Cold-hardy grapes have with the ability to withstand temperatures of up to 35˚ below zero and still bear fruit which makes them ideal for north country vineyards. With the expanded development of cold-hardy hybrid grape varieties, the possibility of growing fine wines has expanded into cool and cold areas that were previously thought to be inaccessible. Wine production in Northern New York now includes wines produced from Marquette, Frontenac, La Crescent, Frontenac Gris, La Crosse, and Brianna.
The Thousand Islands-Seaway Wine Trail wineries also hosts multiple public and private events throughout the year.