Grape Bunch -Vitis spp. hybrids
Red Bunch Grapes
Fig. 1 
Red bunch grapes

Purple bunch grapes
Fig. 2
Purple bunch grapes

Grape plant
Fig. 3
Grape plant

Grape vine
Fig. 4
Grape vine

Grape foliage
Fig. 5
Grape foliage

Grape fruit
Fig. 6
Grape fruit


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Scientific name
Vitis spp.
Common name
American Bunch grape
Family
Vitacaea
Origin
North America
Uses
Fresh eaten out of hand, used for juice making, jams and jellies.
Plant habit
Vine
Pruning requirement
Done during the dormant season
Leaves
Usually large, roundish to heart-shaped, often lobed, with serrate margins
Flower
Inconspicuous; self fertile
Fruit
May be green, red, purple, or yellow when ripe, round or oval, thin-skinned and juicy; produced on new shoots developing from the previous year's growth
Season
Late June to Late July
USDA Nutrient Content pdf
Light requirement
Full sun
Soil tolerances
Adapts to a wide range of soils including most of those suited to citrus
PH preference
6.0
Drought tolerance
Needs water for growth
Plant spacing
10 ft (3 m) between rows and 8 ft (2.4 m) between plants
Roots
Shallow root system
Pest resistance
Need regular spraying

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Reading Material

The Bunch Grape  from the University of  Florida pdf 4 pages
Home Garden Bunch Grapes from the University of Georgia Extension pdf 8 pages
Bunch Grape from Florida Plant Identification, Florida University ext. link
Bunch Grapes from Clemson University Extension pdf 5 pages
Bunch Grapes in the Home Garden from North Carolina State University Extension pdf 5 pages



Bunch grapes were raised in Florida many years ago, but the industry was devastated by Pierce's disease. Pierce's disease is caused by the xylem limited bacterium, Xylella fastidiosa. Leafhoppers that feed on xylem fluid spread the disease from plant to plant. Only with the recent development of Pierce's disease-resistant varieties adapted to Florida's warm humid climate have bunch grapes been grown successfully in Florida. 1
The primary species of bunch grapes are grown in the United States the European bunch grape (Vitis vinifera), the American bunch grape (V. labrusca) and the Summer grape (V. aestivalis). 2
Among the characteristics of this vine species in contrast to the European wine grape V. vinifera are its "slip-skin" that allows the skin of the grape berries to easily slip off when squeezed, instead of crushing the pulp, and the presence of tendrils on every node of the cane. Another contrast with European vinifera is the characteristic "foxy" musk of V. labrusca, best known to most people through the Concord grape. 3
Unlike vinifera, hybrids and V. labrusca varieties can better withstand the severe continental conditions of eastern North America with severely cold winters and hot, humid summers. (However, labrusca doesn't do quite as well as varieties like V. rotundifolia in the humidity of southeastern US). 3

Botanical Diagram of the Grape
Grape Berry Growth and Development from the University of California pdf 8 pages

Varieties
The University of Florida's Agricultural Research Center at Leesburg and Apopka has had a breeding program for bunch grapes, resulting in the development of several bunch grape varieties. Resistance to Pierce's disease has been the major selection criterion.
The principal cause of poor results with bunch grapes in Florida is the prevalence of fungal diseases during hot humid growing conditions during the summer. There are only 9 varieties currently recommended that have Pierce's disease resistance to do well in Florida. 1

Bunch Grape Varieties from the Florida University

Pollination
All the varieties are self-fertile so will bear full crops without another variety as pollenizer. 'Conquistador', 'Orlando Seedless', 'Black Spanish', and 'Stover' require grafting on 'Tampa' or 'Dog Ridge' rootstocks for satisfactory growth and yields. The other varieties do not require grafting except in areas where the soil pH normally exceeds 7.0. 'Dog Ridge' is the best rootstock to graft them on under alkaline soil conditions. 1

Propagation
Rooted grape nursery stock is customarily produced from cuttings made in January from 9- or 10-month-old wood. Canes used for hardwood cuttings should be about 12 inches long, with two or more buds, pencil-sized or a little larger in diameter, fairly straight, with green wood throughout their length. Some bunch grape varieties such as ‘Stover’ are more productive when grafted on a rootstock. Although several methods of grafting or budding are possible, the cleft graft on one-year-old rootstocks made either in the nursery or in the field is recommended. 1

Diagram for Grape Propagation from the University of Florida MREC/IFAS pdf
Grafting Bunch Grapes from the University of Florida MREC/IFAS pdf

Growing

Grapes can adapt to a wide range of soils including most of those suited to citrus culture. Fine sands and upland soils, especially those with underlying clay at about 3 feet, are ideal. Soils less adapted to viticulture are the white sands, e.g., St. Lucie, Leon, St. Johns, and Immokalee. Poorly drained soils such as marl, peat, muck, and peaty muck are not recommended.
Many first-year grape plants have died in Florida vineyards from lack of soil moisture. Water should be provided when needed; even older plants will respond to irrigation. Applications of 1 to 1.5 inches every week during April and May will be sufficient for old vines, but young vines planted in sandy soil may need irrigation every two or three days. 1

Schedule for grape Production Practices in Florida from the University of Florida MREC/IFAS pdf
How to Judge Grape Ripeness Before Harvest from Texas A&M University pdf 7 pages

Training/Trellis
The first year, set a 6.5-foot stake by each plant and tie the stake to the top wire of the trellis. As shoots begin to grow from the plant, select the healthiest shoot and secure it to the stake with string or tape. Remove all other shoots. As the selected shoot grows, it eventually becomes the trunk of the vine. It is important to keep it growing straight up the stake by (a) tying with string as needed for support and (b) removing lateral and base sprouts while they are small. Be sure to leave at least one lateral shoot to grow each way along each wire. 1

Training Young Vines from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension
Trellis Systems and Trellis Construction from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension
Vineyard Trellis Construction from the University of Florida MREC/IFAS pdf
Vineyard Trellis Materials from the University of Florida MREC/IFAS pdf
Constructing a Vineyard Trellis from Iowa State University pdf 67 pages
Trellis Selection and Canopy Management from the University of California Extension pdf 8 pages
Wine Grape Trellis and Training Systems for the San Joaquin Valley from the University of California pdf 5 pages

Pruning
Pruning is done in Florida during the following dormant periods: (a) south Florida-January; (b) central Florida-January 1 to February 15; and (c) north Florida-January 1 to March 10.
If vines are not pruned at all, the number of clusters will increase, but the size of both clusters and berries will decrease so that only stems and cull berries are produced. Further, the length and width of the vines will make them more difficult to harvest or cultivate. 1

Pruning Diagram for Florida Hybrid Bunch Grape Vines from the University of Florida MREC/IFAS pdf
Pruning the Bearing Vine from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension
Prune Grape Vines for Maximum Yield from the University of Florida pdf

Fertilizing
The first year, soon after spring growth begins, apply ¼ pound of 6-6-6 or 8-8-8 with 20 to 30% of the nitrogen from natural organic sources, in two lateral bands 1 foot away from the plant. Repeat this application in May, June, and early September. The second year apply 1 pound of the same mixture in February, May, and just after harvest. Rates can be increased in future years but should not exceed 4 pounds per vine per year. 1

Irrigation
Many first-year grape plants have died in Florida vineyards from lack of soil moisture. Water should be provided when needed; even older plants will respond to irrigation. Applications of 1 to 1.5 inches every week during April and May will be sufficient for old vines, but young vines planted in sandy soil may need irrigation every two or three days. 1

Pest Page

Diseases Page

Food Uses
Out of hand as they come off the vine. They can be made into jelly, jam, wine, raisins, fruit leather; the seeds can be pressed for oil and the young leaves boiled and eaten. The leaves of the hybrids are preferred to the muscadines. Muscadines can be high in acid so when crushing to make jelly don’t use your hand. Oh, and the seeds can be used to make grappa. 5
Winemaking at Home from the University of Georgia Extension pdf 24 pages
Home Preservation of Grapes from the University of Florida via the Florida Grape Growers Association pdf 7 pages
Home Wine Making from the University of Florida via the Florida Grape Growers Association pdf 8 pages

General
According to University of California, Davis viticulture expert A. J. Winkler, outside of the vinifera Muscat family of grapes, V. labrusca varieties have the most pronounced aromas among wine grape varieties. The description of "foxy", not derived from the animal, serves as a catch-all term to describe the unique, earthy and sweet muskiness that can be perceived in fresh Concord grapes as well as grape juice made from Concord and other labrusca varieties like Niagara. In the 1920s, scientists were able to isolate the aroma compound responsible for the "foxy" musk as methyl anthranilate. 4

Further Reading
History of Grapes in Florida and Grape Pioneers from the University of Florida pdf 169 pages
TimeLine: Grapes in Florida from the University of Florida pdf 60 pages
2015 Organic Production Guide and IPM for Grapes from Cornell University Extension pdf 70 pages
Grapes of Path by Green Dean of eattheweeds.com
The Tropical Grape by Joseph L. Fennell 1945 pdf
Grape Botanical Art

Resources
Florida Grape Growers Association ext. link
South West Florida Wineries ext. link
Floridagrapes.com ext. link
Grapes from extension.org ext. link
Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research (FAMU) Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University ext. link



List of Growers and Vendors

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Bibliography

1 Andersen, P.C., Crocker, T.E. and Mortensen, J.A. "The Bunch Grape". edis.ifas.ufl.edu. Fact Sheet HS-17A, a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Publication Aug. 2001. Revised April 2014. Web. 8 Nov. 2014.
2 Krewer. Gerard. "Home Gaden Series: Bunch Grapes." extension.uga.edu. University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Extension Service. Reviewed Jan. 2011. Web. 16 july 2016.
3 Robinson, Jancis. " The Oxford Companion to Wine." wikipedia.org. Oxford University Press, third edition. 2006. Web. 15 July 2016.
Winkler A J, Cook J A, Kliere W M and Lider L A. "General Viticulture." wikipedia.org. University of California Press, 2nd edition. 1974, Web. 15 July 2016.
5 Deane, Green . "Grapes of Path." eattheweeds.com.  Web. 19 July 2016.

Photographs

Fig. 1,2,3,4,5,6 Grape, Bunch. N.d. gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu. Florida Plant Identification. Web. 8 Nov. 2014.

Published Feb. 2013 LR. Last Update 15 July 2016 LR
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