Does anyone have personal experience with both Somerset and Petite Jewel grapes?
I have both planted but my “Petite Jewel” seedless grapes which I bought from Whiffletree turned out to be small purple grapes with 50% mass made up by seeds. Obviously mislabelled. Petite Jewel is supposed to be a bit less hardy than Somerset. I want to know if it is worth it to try with another “Petite Jewel” or if I should just plant another amazing Somerset vine.
My Somerset grapes were amazing. Here in zone 4 I started harvesting August 8th and finished with the last bunch from the vine today September 4. Early they are a paler red with a slightly spicy flavour with definite strawberry flavours. Early brix of 20-21. Later they turn darker red and become more aromatic. Sugar increased to a peak brix of 23. Acidity decreased and strawberry flavour was more prominent. My wife and I probably had a slight preference for the earlier taste but they were still winners later. They are a non-slipskin grape with a slightly crunchy texture. As of Sept 4 some grapes in the last hanging bunch were starting to shrivel. An absoluty wonderful grape and one that every cold weather gardener should have in their yard. I took samples to work and there were 100% unanimous amazement at the flavour and texture. Several people asked how they could buy vines for their backyard.
Early - August 8
Later - August 25
Wow, you’re in 4b and growing grapes. That is amazing and they look fantastic, what a beautiful grape.
Did they have seeds? My somerset seedless always have seeds, which makes me wonder if they’re mislabeled.
I think some had some soft seed remnants but no predominant hard seeds though. You can see with the sun behind them that they are pretty translucent, no seeds visible.
Those look really nice! I decided not to grow that one but it was so long ago I don’t remember why. I had a Petite Jewel but it died a few years ago.
Right now I am harvesting Hope and Joy, they are both excellent grapes. They also have a long picking window, I prefer them in the later period (now). They are probably not hardy in 4b though.
Are you still finding hard seeds in your Somersets, or are they really just blank cavities? Do yours exhibit the strawberry flavor others describe?
Interesting thread. I can’t answer the OP, but I’m happy about their positive take on Somerset since I just planted a vine this spring. I’m only zone 3a though, so not sure if they will survive, even with protection. The small purple grape made up of 50% seeds sounds a lot like Valiant, which has a strong Concord-like taste and is hardy without protection for me. Tough to eat them fresh because they are so seedy, but they make killer jelly.
There were definitely hard seeds last year. But I’m already seeing lots of tiny clusters this year, so we’ll see if there’s any improvement. I’ll post an update when they’re ripe.
Do your Somersets have the strawberry flavor others describe?
Take a look at my rooting bin… Anything here look familiar?
Yeah, mine does have the strawberry flavor, it’s just the seed thing that throws me off. There are lots of baby clusters on the vine right now, so I’ll update later this summer.