A Few Early Grape Clusters

This morning I was out in the vineyard to harvest a few grape clusters for a study on Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD) egg laying habits conducted by Dr. Blair Sampson.  These cultivars are unusual in that they are rarely grown outside of the southern U.S.  I harvested one or two clusters (depending on the number of berries available per cluster) from ‘Victoria Red’ (Ark 1123 x Exotic), ‘Cimarron’ (V. cinerea var. canescens x Seneca), ‘MidSouth’ (De Grasset x Galibert 255-5), ‘FAMU 99’ (unknown to me), and ‘Champanel’ (V. champinii x Worden).  These are not fully ripe in the eating or processing sense, but they are close enough for this study to work.  Below is a photo of ‘Champanel’, ‘Cimarron’, and ‘MidSouth’.

Champanel, MidSouth, and Cimarron (Top to Bottom)

Champanel, MidSouth, and Cimarron (Top to Bottom)

So, even though I have these in my vineyard it doesn’t mean they do well.  This is the first year I’ve had Champanel grapes, but overall it looks decent.  The vine looks healthy, not a lot of rot (which is really saying something this year), no PD symptoms, and a good bit of fruit.  I had trouble establishing the vine for whatever reason, but it looks good now.

MidSouth is an intriguing vine that I have written about before.  It has a moderate vigor and moderate yield.  The vine is suffering from a nutrient deficiency (that I believe is Mg) that some vines in the vineyard show symptoms of as well.  However, overall the vine looks okay.  The flavor is what I like — it reminds me of raspberry.  It isn’t quite ripe yet though and acid levels are high.  It was never recommended as a wine grape although it could be useful in blending (maybe).

Cimarron is a cultivar released from Oklahoma State University in the 1970s.  A strong Concord-like flavor and aroma.  It does not do well in south Mississippi.  Vines have PD symptoms and have only produced a small amount of fruit.  Terminal portions of the cordons are dying back now and some clusters along with it (from PD).  I suspect they may die back to the ground over the winter and come back, but it is no way to get a viable amount of grapes.  Too bad too, as the clusters don’t have any rot and they look nice.  Other OSU cultivars, Rubaiyat and Sunset are also in the vineyard but have little to no fruit and exhibit PD symptoms.  They are non-starters too.

In the coming weeks I will be harvesting more fruit — even hope to crush some of the Blanc du bois, Miss blanc, and Villard blanc (and perhaps a couple others).

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