How do grapes grow?Click here to view USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.
Grapes are vigorous long-season growers and with the proper care will produce fruit with ease and can live more than 30 years.
Spring: Planting after there is no danger of frost
Summer: Vine growth and fruit production
Fall: Fruit development/ Propagation of new plants (depending on region)
Winter: Dormant/ sprouting of new plants
How are grapes propagated?
Grapes are cultivated mainly by cutting a section of a dormant vine and replanting to create a new vine.
Grapes grown from seed do not resemble the parent vine, so are not used for propagation.
How are grapes harvested?
The harvest of grapes depends on the region in which they are being grown. Some harvests start in the beginning of September and others stay on the vine until the final days before frosts set in.
The signs of ripeness are different among varieties.
Grapes change color long before they mature. They are harvested based on taste, not color.
Grapes do not improve in quality once they are off the vine. They do not continue to ripen after they are picked.
What is the best way to store grapes?
Always store fresh grapes in the refrigerator, if they are left out at room temperature, they will spoil and ferment.
When storing in the refrigerator, wrap the grapes in a paper towel and store in an air tight container or bag. They should keep for around 5 to 6 days.
Freezing grapes is also a great method of preservation. Frozen grapes are a great snack and maintain the majority of the fruits sweetness.
Where do grapes come from?
Grapes are one of the earliest domesticated fruits. There is evidence of cultivation in Asia as far back as 5000 BC. They are native to Western Asia and Central Europe.The Bible also references the grape throughout the Old and New testaments.
During the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, grapes were revered for the wine they produced.
In the 2nd century A.D, 90 varieties of grapes were already identified.
Grapes were planted in the U.S in the 17th century along the Southwest coast. California proved to be a perfect climate for grape vines to grow and many different species of grape are now cultivated there - for consumption and wine production.
Who are the top grape producers?
Cultivated on every continent on earth, grapes are the most valuable and widely produced horticultural crop in the world.
Worldwide there is an annual production of 150 trillion pounds of grapes.
The top 5 producing countries are, China, Italy, the U.S, Spain, and France.
Other major producers include Turkey, Chile, Argentina, India, and Iran.
California grape production dominates the commercial marketplace in the U.S
Presently, well over 90% of all commercially grown table grapes come from California, where 700,000 acres of land are dedicated to growing grapes.
How many variety of grape are there?
There are around 10,000 documented grape cultivars used throughout the world.Each variety has a principle use, and are grown specifically to produce a single product.
Basically, there are three different varieties:
American V.labrusca: Very cold hardy
European V. viniferia: Do well in warm, dry climates. Good for wine making.
Muscadine V. rotundifolia: Thick-skinned grape that thrives in the South.
The varieties are also broken down into three main color groups; red, green, and black/purple.
What are some common uses for grapes?
Grapes are most commonly eaten raw, used to make wine, in jam, jelly, vinegar, raisins, and juice.
A large amount of wine is produced throughout the world using fermented grape juice.
What are some of the health benefits of grapes?
Classified as a low glycemic index(GI) food, grapes help to balance blood sugar and aid with insulin regulation.
They have been shown to contain the hormone and antioxidant- melotonin.
They benefit the cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous, and inflammatory systems.
The skins of grapes are high in antioxidants that help fight disease.
They have been known to lower our risk of excessive inflammation.
Grapes have cardiovascular benefits,
- better blood pressure
- reduce high cholesterol
- prevent the clumping of platelet cells
- increase levels of glutathione in the blood
- contain anti-cancer benefits.