Earlier this year Jim Kamas from Texas A&M sent me a few vines of ‘Victoria Red’ to try here in Poplarville. To my knowledge this variety has not been grown in this area before, so I was intrigued to see how it would do. Below you can see a photo of what it looks like on May 15, 2013.
So far it has grown well. They are on a rootstock. I did notice some black rot on the leaves and another symptom that could be early black rot, although it resembles rupestris speckle. The variety is difficult to find in the trade, as various setbacks to propagation have occurred in the last couple of years (i.e. the major drought in Texas). Jim Kamas did a nice write up of the variety here: http://pd.tamu.edu/news/newsletter/2010-10.pdf
Some of the interesting things about ‘Victoria Red’ as stated by Jim Kamas:
“The most significant characteristic of ‘Victoria Red’ is its sustained health, vigor and productivity in Coastal Texas, an area of the United States with extremely high Pierce’s disease pressure. It is a seeded grape with bright red skin color and large, attractive clusters. The skin is tender and resists cracking at maturity due to rainfall. It has a primarily neutral flavor.”
“Both cluster size and berry size were outstanding in Victoria with clusters averaging 477 grams and berries averaging 8 grams. At the Victoria evaluation site, ‘Victoria Red’ averaged 9.1kg per vine on 8’ spacing in the row (20 lbs per vine or roughly 6 tons per acre). Average budbreak date was March 13th (about one day behind ‘Champanel’), average bloom date was April 20th, and typical harvest(using table grape parameters at 18ºBrix) was early July.”
“Victoria Red’ is recommended primarily as a fresh-fruit cultivar for on-farm and local-market sales in USDA hardiness zones 7b or warmer. It has however ripened in excess of 24ºBrix, making it a potentially valuable neutral blending wine grape for high PD risk areas.”
Thus, I am giving it a shot here in South Mississippi. We certainly need another option for bunch grapes here. My plan this year is to get it trained onto the wire and observe what happens to the vine — disease, insects, etc. Next year a spray regimen will be followed and some hopefully some fruit to taste.