Grapes

originated in central Asia south of the Black and Caspian seas

important food source for the Stone Age hunter-gathers

planting a vineyard and drinking too much win mentioned in the bible

Columbus took grapevines to the Americas

until 1860 European vines were relatively disease free  then the phylloxera vine disease caught hold carried by the insect Phylloxera vastatrix (1800s) the american cross pollinated  stock was resistant .  European vines were grafted onto this stock saving the wine industry.

 

Growing:

 

control excess foliage and good winter pruning will give the developing bunches access to the sun

soil is friable and well drained with high limestone content.

like good air movement.but not chill drafts and cold winds\north facing spot is ideal

plenty of sunshine

hot summers and wet winters

copper can be used to control fungus/

vines need a framework

new growth is fragile and eaily broken.

stick to two or three main leaders as you train the new vine.

prune long stems back to two or three shoots from the leader.

grapes fruit on current sdeasons growth

prune to allow in light and air

use bird netting to prtect vines .

Pruning:

Winter/Early Spring- Plant, prune back to three good buds.

First summer – select stongest shoot and train upright, remove other shoots

Second winter – Cut back to three healthy buds on new growth

Summer – support new shoots that grow up.  Remove growth from lower down main stem

Third winter – bend last shoot at end and tie down to wire creating a T shape.  Cut ends back to pencil thickness.  Cut out any weak or spindly shoots

Summer – Train new growth as before into Y

Following winters – Prune back previous seasons shoots.  Remove weak shoots

New growth carries fruit

Grapes

Have been grown/cultivated since 3500 BC.

Like a hot summer and cool, wet winter.  North facing sites are best.  Do not like strong winds but need air movement.  Like plenty of calcium – add lime or crushed egg shells.  Good drainage is essential.

Try to maintain 4-6 good strong leaders

Grapes fruit on the current seasons growth

When fruit is set – prune back any leaves that shade the fruit

Pests – birds (bird netting)

Wasps – only travel about 200m from nests so find the nest

Good grapes for home.  Albany Surprise, Himrod, Iono, Kyoho, Niagara, Steuben

Name Colour Harvest Description
Albany Surprise Black Mid-March – April Sweet flavour.  Medium to large fruit.  Disease resistant.
Autumn Muscat Green-Gold March – April  Sweet and spicy muscatel flavour.  Good for making dessert wine.
Black Hamburg Blue-Black March-April Sweet muscatel flavour.
Buffalo Red-black April-May Tender and juicy green flesh.  Disease resistant.
Canadice Red Mid-March – Early April Seedless.  Delicate flavour.  Disease resistant.
Cardinal Dark Red February – March Sweet.  Great for making Raisins
Himrod Green February Seedless.  Honey flavour.
Iona Pink March – April Sweet.  Hardy.
Italia Golden Yellow Mid-March – Early April Delicate musky flavour.  Vigorous.
Lakemont Green March – Early April Seedless.  Crisp and Sweet. Vigorous.
Niagara Green Late February – Mid-March Mildly sweet.  Very Hardy.
Schuyler Black Late February – Mid-March Sweet with currant flavour.  Disease resistant.
Steuben Red-Black March – April Sweet.  Easy to grow.  Disease resistant
Thompson Seedless Green-Gold April-May Sweet.  Large bunches of small grapes.