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Grapes
Fruit of the Vine

Grapes have been cultivated by humans for at least 5000 years and are used to produce raisins, vinegar and wine. They are mainly grown by the home orchardist for delicious, fresh eating, Table or Dessert Grapes. The 2 species grown are known botanically as Vitis vinifera from Europe and Vitis labrusca from North America.

Grapes are highly ornamental as well as productive and if grown in the right conditions they will be relatively pest and disease free. In wet humid conditions grapes are susceptible to a fungal disease called Botrytis. This is not always seen as a negative thing as Botrytis, AKA `Noble Rot` causes the grapes to have highly concentrated sugar levels. These grapes are used to produce delicious dessert wines. Being a tendril climbing plant your Grape vine will need a good support system such as a fence, trellis or pergola so make sure you have that sorted prior to planting.
Situation
Grapes grow best in a warm, sunny, sheltered position; they are best suited to areas that are not too wet. Grapes, when dormant in winter are tolerant of frost and winter cold. However in spring the emerging buds can be easily damaged even by light frost so choose your planting position with this in mind.
Soil
Grapes are tolerant of most soil types except very heavy soils – such as sticky clay. Free draining soil is best as Grape plants have a root system that needs to burrow deeply into the soil.
Water
As with most fruit crops it is important that the vine does not completely dry out during the summer growing season when the fruit is developing. However a dry period is acceptable or even preferred just prior to harvest as this helps the fruit produce maximum sugar levels.
Feeding
In any reasonable soil Grapes seldom need extra feeding. It is important that Grapes do not get an over abundance of nutrients especially Nitrogen so if you are tempted to apply fertilizer use the “less is more” philosophy.
Cultivation
Be aware that Grapes are sensitive to soil and climate – more so than many other fruit, this can affect the sugar levels and therefore the flavour of the crop. This is why you get a regional difference in the taste of varietal wine. Grapes are wind pollinated or self pollinated and do not need a pollination partner. Sometimes heavy rain fall can affect pollination as it prevents the pollen spores from drifting naturally.
Pruning
The main pruning of Grapes is done in early winter. If you prune heavily in the spring you will find that the cuts will continuously ‘weep’ – as with most weeping this is not a good thing! In the home orchard the usual method of pruning is called Spur Pruning.
After planting in winter reduce the stem to down to two buds. The spring growth that is produced from this cut is trained upwards to start forming the trunk. In the second winter prune this main stem back to the required height of the trunk and train one or two side growths (laterals) horizontally to form a fruiting arm. The following season’s growth will see shoots growing upwards from the fruiting arm. In the third winter these shoots should be spaced 15cm-20cm apart, cut out anything in-between and cut back the remaining upward shoots to two or three buds. This sequence is followed for each season thereafter. These buds develop into your main fruiting spurs and will become large and quite knobbly.

In summer wayward lateral growth can be snipped off just beyond a developing bunch of grapes. Leaves that are shading developing bunches can also be clipped away. If the vine looks over laden with bunches some of these can be thinned out but this is not absolutely necessary.
Harvesting
Depending on the variety planted Grapes are usually ripe from February through to May. Grapes do not ripen after harvesting so they should remain on the vine until sweet enough to eat. You may have to protect them from greedy birds that have a taste for `Vin du Jour`. Clip bunches off with sharp clean secateurs try our ARS Secateurs - V8Z or specially designed Fruit Pruners ARS SE-45. Enjoy!

Cultivar
Albany Surprise
Colour
Black
EML
Mid
Ripe
March-April
Size/Flavour
Large, juicy, aromatic and spicy

Cultivar
Alphonse
Colour
Black
EML
Late
Ripe
April-May
Size/Flavour
Very large, crisp, outstanding quality

Cultivar
Black Hamburgh
Colour
Black
EML
Early
Ripe
February-March
Size/Flavour
Large, round, sweet

Cultivar
Buffalo
Colour
Red-Black
EML
Early
Ripe
February-March
Size/Flavour
Medium size,tender,juicy,high quality

Cultivar
Candice
Colour
Red-Black
EML
Early
Ripe
February-March
Size/Flavour
Seedless, medium size, delicate flavour

Cultivar
Flame
Colour
Red
EML
Early
Ripe
February-March
Size/Flavour
Seedless, medium size, firm, crisp

Cultivar
Hamburgh Muscat
Colour
Black
EML
Mid
Ripe
March-April
Size/Flavour
Large, oval, sweet dessert grape

Cultivar
Himrod
Colour
Green
EML
Early
Ripe
February-March
Size/Flavour
Seedless, medium size, honey flavour

Cultivar
Interlaken Seedless
Colour
Green
EML
Early
Ripe
February-March
Size/Flavour
Seedless, juicy

Cultivar
Iona
Colour
Pink-Red
EML
Mid
Ripe
March-April
Size/Flavour
Round,luscious and sweet

Cultivar
July Muscat
Colour
Gold-Green
EML
Early-Mid
Ripe
February-April
Size/Flavour
Intense sweet flavour

Cultivar
Kyoho
Colour
Black-Purple
EML
Mid
Ripe
March-April
Size/Flavour
Large with sweet flavour

Cultivar
Matakana Gold
Colour
Gold
EML
Mid
Ripe
March-April
Size/Flavour
Juicy and delicious heritage Grape

Cultivar
Moores Diamond
Colour
Green
EML
Mid
Ripe
March-April
Size/Flavour
Medium size, sweet and tangy

Cultivar
Muscatel Black
Colour
Black
EML
Mid
Ripe
March-April
Size/Flavour
Medium size, firm, rich flavour

Cultivar
New York Muscat
Colour
Red-Black
EML
Early
Ripe
February-March
Size/Flavour
Aromatic, intense rich flavour

Cultivar
Niagra
Colour
Green-Gold
EML
Mid
Ripe
March-April
Size/Flavour
Medium,sharp and tangy

Cultivar
Pinot Gris
Colour
Grey-Pink
EML
Mid-Late
Ripe
April-May
Size/Flavour
Wine Grape

Cultivar
Pinot Noir
Colour
Red
EML
Mid-Late
Ripe
April-May
Size/Flavour
Wine Grape

Cultivar
Riesling
Colour
Gold-Green
EML
Mid-Late
Ripe
April-May
Size/Flavour
Aromatic Wine Grape

Cultivar
Robinson
Colour
Black
EML
Mid
Ripe
March-April
Size/Flavour
Medium size, mild flavour

Cultivar
Ruby Seedless
Colour
Red-Black
EML
Mid-Late
Ripe
April-May
Size/Flavour
Seedless, medium, sweet

Cultivar
Sauvignon Blanc
Colour
Green
EML
Mid-Late
Ripe
April-May
Size/Flavour
Wine or fresh eating

Cultivar
Schuyler
Colour
Black
EML
Early-Mid
Ripe
February-April
Size/Flavour
Medium, sweet and juicy

Cultivar
Steubens
Colour
Red-Black
EML
Mid
Ripe
March-April
Size/Flavour
Medium,sweet with spicy tang

Cultivar
Thompson's Seedless
Colour
Green-Gold
EML
Late
Ripe
April-May
Size/Flavour
Seedless, small, very sweet

Cultivar
Urbana
Colour
Red
EML
Mid-Late
Ripe
March-May
Size/Flavour
Oval, small, very sweet

Wairere Nursery
826 Gordonton Road, R D 1, Hamilton Ph: (07) 824 3430 Email:     Open 7 days 8:30am-5pm