American / hybrid grapes

I need information about the basic taste of Zone 5 or lower grapes so I can avoid buying too many tart varieties. If they have any other interesting qualities, like how Frontenac Gris has soft seeds, please share.

This is what I have personally experienced, or at least the ones I remember:

Concord (seedless): strong flavor, possibly more tart than sweet. it took me a couple years to get used to them but now I’m starting to enjoy them.

2015- like Concord (seedless) except with large, firm seeds and an inconsistent flavor. some were mildly fruity while others were kind of watered down.
2016- still inferior to Concord.

Vanessa (seedless):
2015- I didn’t have very many of them but I remember them being sweet.
2016- still having trouble with this guy. sweet when it wasn’t fully ripe.

St. Croix:
2015 and 2016- sweet but a very, very mild grape. I prefer more flavor. noticed that most of the sweetness is in the skin.

Frontenac Gris:
2105- a nice balance of sweet and tart. its seeds were soft and pleasant to eat which I believe is unlike most other varieties. favorite of the year.
2016- sampled a few times per week until they disappeared. it was more tart this year, I did not enjoy them this time. possibly due to being exposed to more shade than the previous year.

Pink Reliance (does this variety really exist or is it the same as Reliance?):
2016- sweet.
2017- a lot more productive than Vanessa this year even though Vanessa is a year or two older. Both get a good amount of sunlight. they aren’t ripe yet.

I haven’t had Valiant in awhile but I believe it’s tart. it is also a disease magnet. none of the other varieties I have mentioned have had any significant disease problems. Vanessa has had some minor issues though and 2017 isn’t looking too good for this variety atm.

Seedless concord are not seedless in Kansas. They are very tart unless dead ripe but they do not ripen at the same time so they are a lot of work for that reason. Seedless concord are very tough skinned and not as sweet as a true concord. Red canadice is a very good grape with no tartness and very sweet with out the tough skin concord are known for Red canadice are a disease magnet in my experience so plan on spraying them regularly. They are still technically a slip skin though in my area the skin is edible and not tough at all. Glenora is balanced but has the tough skin though a good grape. Mars are more tart than sweet though a good grape with a tough skin aka slip skin.

There are so many varieties you can choose, seeded or seedless; blue, red, yellow or green color. A good source is Double A Vineyard.

I grow Concord for juice, Glenora, Himrod, Reliance, Vanessa and Venus as table grapes. And Marquette for red wine grape. Many more choices.

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A visit to Lon Rombough’s site about grapes is always educational.
take care, doug

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Niagara is the green version of Concord. Similarly foxy taste, but less tannin. Makes a nice sweet white wine. But Niagara’s great attribute is its aroma. A bunch of Niagara picked in August or September will fill a small room with an incredible fragrance. They always win the blue ribbon for disease-free looks at the county fair. Golden green grapes with a waxy bloom on the surface. Flavor explodes in your mouth like Concord. After sucking on several grapes - and the accompanying seeds and slipskin - you quickly risk developing canker sores on your tongue. But if you’re a sugarhead like me, you don’t stop eating there. You eat more!

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I try to stay away from the old grape varieties. Other than Concord for grape juice, other old grapes, as far as I know, do not have much market. There are so many new and improved varieties.

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I’ve been happy with a grape I bought a few years ago called King of the North. Very hardy, produces well, and pretty sweet

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Matt, another use for the Niagra would be to make white grape juice. All the flavor without the stains. :smile:

If nothing goes drastically wrong, they are one thing that looks like will be coming out of our ears here this year. :grapes:

I’ll second King of the North. Based on some descriptions, I was expecting it to be really tart, but I found it to be very pleasant tasting. I think the skin is thinner than Concord, but the fruit is smaller. If you are in Wisconsin, it is possible that Concord doesn’t get to fully ripen before frost. King of the North ripens much earlier. The only problem I had was with birds. I just got a second one in the mail today from Jung’s and it was a decent size with nice roots. Maybe not as big as some monster grape plants I’ve got from other places, but it was easier to plant. They grow pretty fast.