grape balls of fire

Dear Readers,

Grape vines have adorable little tendrils that curl around anything they touch. The tendrils pull the vines up towards the sun, supporting broad, intricate grape leaves.

On Monday, I tied a thin rope to the trellises to give the heavy vines more support. Our grapes are seedless; they’re American cultivars, which tolerate cold better than the European cultivars. I worked on Petite Jewel, a small, red table grape that has an incredible burst of flavor. We also grow Jupiter, Thunder, and Vanessa. At this stage in their growth, the grapes are tiny green clusters, hidden within their leafy protection.

our grapes

Grapes are thought to originate in the Black Sea area and the Middle East, and were cultivated in Mesopotamia as early as 6,000 BC.(!) The earliest civilization of grape enthusiasts that we know of was Greece; although Greeks diluted their wine with water, herbs and sometimes even cheese, which leads historians to believe that their wine, er, wasn’t very good. The Romans did better; they advanced storage and pruning techniques. Throughout the Medieval era, churches kept grape growing and wine making alive, and from there, the European grape spread all over the world. Grapes are grown in all continents except for Antarctica.

Viticulture is the science behind, and the growing of, grapes. Viniculture is the science of wine production. In the States, many farmers grow American cultivars, which are better suited to certain climates. California, where grapes were first introduced and where the grape-growing climate is ideal, grows the most grapes in the States– mostly Thompson Seedless. Some stats list China is the biggest world grape producer, with Turkey next in line; others list Spain and then France (see comment below).

At North Star, we grow table grapes– cultivated specifically to be delicious, instead of fermented for wine or dried for raisins. We planted a bunch of new baby grape vines in the tree nursery back in April. The vines are big enough now that we have to tie them to stakes; eventually, their tendrils will develop and wrap around a wire that runs parallel above the rows of grape babies.

Thanks to Lisa for the help and the picture. I hope you all have an absolutely beautiful week, filled with veggies from the June harvest– greens, greens, greens!

Laura Beth


6 thoughts on “grape balls of fire

  1. Pingback: Blog • North Star Orchard

  2. I had absolutely no idea that China and Turkey produced so many grapes! I assumed France would be way up there due to wine production, guess I need to do some more research 🙂

    • Hi Jessica,
      Thanks for you post! There’s conflicting info about who the top producers are– some stats list Spain first, then France, and Turkey fourth. I think the confusion might have to do with ambiguous phrasing– it seems likely that France is up there when it comes to producing grapes for wine, but maybe Turkey is higher up on the list for producing grapes for juice, table grapes, etc. Just a guess!

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