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. Commercially approximately 80 percent of Grape production is turned into wine or brandy. The 2 species grown for both purposes are known botanically as Vitis vinifera from Europe and Vitis labrusca from North America and there are many hybrids thereof.
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.
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In the home orchard Table, Dessert and Wine Grapes are cultivated in the same manner. 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. 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. For further information on growing Grapes and Grape varieties see our How To pages.