Wine Grapes – Your Yard

Educational, relaxing, scenic and tasteful all describe a trip California’s Napa Valley to enjoy some wine tasting.

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It’s all in the grapes, true?

Do you have a large backyard?

Have you ever thought about growing grapes there, especially the kind ideal for making wine?

Grapes do have differing qualities.

Let’s explore the type ideal for wine making and perfect for nurturing in your back yard.

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Vitis rotundifolia, or muscadine, is a grapevine species native to the southeastern and south-central United States from Florida to Delaware, west to eastern Texas and Oklahoma.

It has been extensively cultivated since the 16th century. The plants are well adapted to their native warm and humid climate; they need fewer chilling hours than better known varieties and they thrive on summer heat.

Muscadine berries range from bronze to dark purple to black in color when ripe.

However, many wild varieties stay green through maturity. They have skin sufficiently tough that eating the raw fruit often involves biting a small hole in the skin to suck out the pulp inside. Muscadines are not only eaten fresh, but also are used in making wine, juice, and jelly.

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Muscadines have been used for making commercial fine wines and port wines dating back to the 16th century in and around St. Augustine, Florida. Today, vineyards throughout the Southeast produce muscadine wines of various qualities.

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So now that we have the basics, let’s turn our attention to a guest writer that help you practically grow grapes on the vine in the comfort of your back yard.

Growing Muscadine Grapes In The Backyard Of Your Southeast American Home
 by: Charles Perkins

Living in Southeast America will make it easier for you to grow Muscadine grapes. Muscadine grapes naturally thrive in southeastern America states such as Florida. If you live in any of these states, then growing Muscadines should be second nature to you. If you live anywhere which has a good deal of sunlight and warmth, growing Muscadine grapes in your backyard is a big possibility. The cheapest way to grow Muscadines is to grow them out of seeds.

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Muscadine grapes are highly versatile. Right after being harvested and picked from their grape vines, they can be washed and served fresh for raw eating. They can even be used to make grape juice and jelly, and are used to make sweet wines that are best paired with desserts. Nevertheless, before you can begin growing Muscadine grapes in your backyard, you should be aware that there are different Muscadine cultivars for you to choose from.

Black Beauty will have to be the most popular Muscadine variety. It has a black color that grows in large clusters. Its distinctively sweet taste makes it one of the sweetest grapes ever, with 24 percent of each grape made up of sugar. Another Muscadine grape is the Black Fry, which also has a black color. They have slightly lower sugar content than the Black Beauty but are still sweet enough to make grape jellies. Yet another Muscadine grape variety is the Fry, which unlike the Black Fry, has a bronze skin. They are best eaten off the vine.

Then, there is Darlene, a bronze Muscadine variety which is only slightly smaller than the Fry; the pinkish Higgins which only have 17 percent sugar content; Granny Val, large bronze Muscadines that are best used for home-growing in making grape juice and wine; Nesbit, black Muscadines with varying sizes that can be both used for home-made grape products and fresh eating; the Cowart, which also serves multiple purposes; and Southern Home, another black Muscadine grape that is used to make wines and juices. After carefully taking into consideration which Muscadine cultivar you are going to grow, purchase one or two bunches of them from a local grocery store. Serve the grapes to your family for eating and tell them to remove the seeds and not to swallow them. Collect the seeds because you will be ultimately using them for growing grapes in your garden.

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Using lukewarm water, rinse off the remaining pulp that’s attached to the seeds. To allow them to dry, set them aside on a paper plate for a full 24 hours. After an entire day of drying, place the Muscadine grape seeds in a plastic bag that is half-filled with peat moss. Seal this plastic bag and place it in your fridge for three months. Following the third month, prepare 4-inch pots and fill them up to three fourths full with potting soil. Place the grape seeds from the plastic bag in the potting soil and push them a quarter of an inch down. Only three seeds should be placed in each pot.

After planting the seeds in the potting soil, mist the soil with lukewarm water. Place these pots in an area that receives a good amount of sun exposure for two to three weeks. By then, the growing grapes in these pots will be too large, so you should transfer them to 6-inch pots. When they outgrow these pots, you can then transfer the seedlings outdoors to your garden.

Growing Muscadine grapes in your backyard is really easy and it is more practical than having to purchase them from the grocery store. If they naturally flourish in your area, growing them would not be a problem at all.

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Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, fciwomenswrestling2.com, FCI Elite Competitor, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.

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