This year’s grape harvest certainly doesn’t have bragging rights, hardly worth mentioning in fact. Lot of winterkil so early on figured they were a bust (lesson learned - never underestimate your plants!). But to my surprise, late but significant, a good number of buds grew. Hope! Then the first May freezes (teens-20’s) hit. Oh well, maybe next year. But they felt different. Secondary buds grew! Scattered throughout the vines but enough. When the second hard freezes came (we had record cold May) I decided to cover. But when I was done covering the garden the second night I forgot the grapes. Obviously lost again. Darn! And considering the record heat this summer it could have been a decent ripe. But the vines didn’t give up - thirdiary buds grew and these never-give-up vines set a small crop. These late comers did their best but just not enough time. When an early hard freeze was forecast a few days ago (24 deg) I decided there weren’t enough near ripe to cover so I harvested what I could find. Picked out the ripest grapes and juiced with plenty of sugar and some apples. Got 4 1/2 pints which was OK for such a rough year.
Marquette was the winner with the most ripe and near ripe berries. It thankfully has recovered from the vole damage a few winters ago. Sommerset tied with Marquette. I’m SO thankful to Jesse and others who recommended this variety. It’s low vigor and small vine but the grapes sweeten early. I ate all the ripe ones off the vine but still had some for the pot. I’m going to plant another Sommerset.
Prairie Star was close and is still a keeper for me even though I didn’t get much. It came through the difficult winter in good shape. Bluebell just had a handful of barely ripe but I still think its worth it for the good years. Brianna is coming out this fall (to be replaced with a second Sommerset). It was with Bluebell with very few even close but mainly it is just too vigorous for my spot and my vine continues with some leaf issues. In a warmer location I’d still recommend those two though, both for berry size and flavor.
So not a great or even good grape year but it did give me a better appreciation for the vine’s persistence and desire to grow and produce. On to next year! Sue