Two methods of control have been developed to keep this pest under. The vines should be sprayed with three pounds of arsenate of lead in fifty gallons of water when the larvae are feeding on the foliage; or the beetles when feeding may be knocked into a pan containing a shallow layer of kerosene. The former is the cheaper and more effective method provided the grape-grower has the foresight to discover the larvae, since the larvae of this summer produce the beetles that will destroy the buds next spring. When the adults migrate from wild vines, or the larvae were not destroyed in the vineyard, collecting the adults is the only practical method. The destruction of wild vines near a vineyard helps to give immunity from this pest.
The rose-chafer (Macrodactylus subspinosus), a long-legged beetle of a yellowish-brown color, about a third of an inch in length, often appears in vineyards in vast swarms toward the middle of June in northern states and about two weeks earlier in southern states east of the Rocky Mountains. Often they overrun gardens, orchards, vineyards and nurseries, and usually, after having done a vast amount of damage in the month of their devastating presence, the beetles disappear as suddenly as they came. Vineyards on or near sandy soils are most often infested, the larvae of the beetle seeming to live in considerable numbers only in these light soils. The chief damage to the grape is done to the blossom; in fact the insects, after feeding on the blossoms during the blossoming period, usually migrate to blossoms of any one of several shrubs. The larvae feed on the roots of grasses, having particular liking for the roots of foxtail, timothy and blue-grass.
Some knowledge of the life history of these beetles is essential to effective control. The beetles emerge as adults in June and after feeding a short time begin to mate, although egg-laying does not take place until the insects have been out for a fortnight or more. The females burrow into the soil and deposit their eggs, seldom more than twenty-five in number, which begin to hatch in about ten days. The young larvae feed during the remainder of the summer on roots of grasses. They are seldom found deeper than six inches while feeding, but as cold weather approaches they burrow deeper to avoid sudden changes of temperature. The following spring they again come near the surface to feed. The grubs form cells from which the pupae emerge, as we have seen, about the middle of June, timing their appearance very closely to the blossoming of Concord grapes.
The methods of control are three, namely: destruction of the larvae; cultivation to kill the pupae; and spraying to kill the beetles. Since the larvae feed on the roots of grasses in sandy soils, it is easy to locate the feeding ground of the pest and plant it to cultivated crops which destroy the grasses and therefore the larvae. The second method of destruction is similar, consisting of cultivation to kill the pupae. This is accomplished by thorough cultivation during the pupating stage to break the cells and crush the pupae, thus preventing the emergence of the beetles. The third method, however, is the most effective and consists of spraying the vineyard with a sweetened arsenical spray. The spraying should be done as soon as the beetles appear, using arsenate of lead six pounds, molasses one gallon and water one hundred gallons. It is often necessary to make a second application a week later. If rain occurs within thirty-six hours after spraying, the application should be repeated as soon as the weather clears.
The grape leaf-hopper.
From Canada to the Gulf and from the Atlantic to the Pacific, wherever the grape is grown, the small leaf-hopper (Typhlocyba comes) infests the grape in greater or less numbers, feeding on the lower surface of the leaf. Grape-growers commonly call these insects "thrips," a name, however, which really belongs to a very different class of insects. The injury done by this pest varies greatly with the season and the locality, in some regions it being comparatively harmless and in others exceedingly destructive in seasons when it occurs in abundance. There is great variation also in individual vineyards, those near favorable hibernating places and early spring food plants often being injured seriously season after season in succession. These leaf-hoppers obtain their food by piercing the epidermis on the under side of the leaf surface and sucking the sap, and add further injury by inserting their eggs underneath the skin of the leaf. The punctures greatly decrease the starch-producing area of the leaf with the result that the vigor of the plant is lowered, and the quality of the fruit decreased.
The life history of the leaf-hopper is very well known. The eggs are deposited in June or early July, and hatch from June 15 to July 10 in New York, the season being earlier or later as one goes south or north. The young leaf-hoppers are wingless, the nymph stage, but reach the adult stage in late July and August, at which time many of them mate, and eggs are laid from which a second brood may develop, although usually only one full brood is produced in a season in the northern states. Figures 41 and 42 show the several life stages of the leaf-hopper. Insects which become adults in the latter part of July feed on the foliage until autumn and then seek winter quarters, passing the winter in the adult stage under fallen leaves, in dead grass or other similar protection. The hibernating place must be dry and for this reason sandy knolls are most favored by the insects. The adults emerge in the warm days of spring and then seek food first on the strawberry, then migrate to red and black raspberries or blackberries, if raspberries are not present. They remain upon these hosts until the grape leaves expand and then migrate to these to feed, lay their eggs and die.
Three methods of control are in use to prevent the ravages of the leaf-hopper: avoiding the planting of raspberries near grapes; spraying with contact insecticides; and the destruction of hibernating places. Since the leaf-hoppers feed especially on the raspberry before the leaves of the grape have expanded in the spring, avoiding planting these two plants near each other is a very effective method of control. The contact spray must touch the body of the insect and must, therefore, be applied before the nymphs develop wings. The best spray is a half pint of Black Leaf 40 to a hundred gallons of water or bordeaux mixture. It is applied to the under side of the foliage by a trailing hose or by an automatic grape leaf-hopper spray devised by F. Z. Hartzell and described in bulletin 344 of the New York Experiment Station. The destruction of hibernating places is almost as effective a method of control as spraying. All weeds and strong-stalked grasses which die in the fall and all rubbish in the vineyard should be destroyed. It is quite worth while, also, to burn leaves and rubbish in fence rows and waste places near infested vineyards in the autumn or early winter. Cover-crops which remain green during the winter do not harbor the leaf-hoppers.
The grape-berry moth.
This pest is widely distributed, attacking the grape wherever grown in North America. The insect feeds on all varieties but is especially destructive to grapes with tender skins and such as grow in compact bunches. Its work is detected usually in compact grape clusters where a number of berries are injured by a "worm." The "worm" is a dark-colored caterpillar, the larva of the grape-berry moth (Polychrosis viteana.) There are two broods of this caterpillar, the first of which feeds on the stems and external portions of the young berries, while the second attacks the berries. The loss to the fruit-grower is of two kinds, the loss of the fruit and the marring of clusters which entails the cost of picking out worthless berries. Figure 43 shows the work of the grape-berry moth. The damage is usually greatest near woodlands since the trees cause more snow to lodge in the adjoining vineyards, this protection permitting a greater percentage of pupae to survive.
The moth passes the winter in the pupal state on leaves underneath the vine, emerging about the time grapes are blossoming. The sexes then mate and the eggs are laid on the stems, blossom clusters and newly set fruit. After reaching full growth, the caterpillars cut out a portion of the leaf from which they make a pupal case by means of silken threads, and here pupate for the second brood which emerges in late July and August. Eggs are laid at once and from these come the caterpillars which live entirely in the berry. The larvae leave the berries about the time the fruit is ripe, form cocoons on the leaves and hibernate. The moths are small, brown in color, mottled with gray and so much the color of the grape cane that they can hardly be detected when resting on the wood.
The grape-berry moth is difficult to control but much can be done to curtail its ravages. Spraying after the fruit sets is the most effective preventive. Bordeaux mixture should be used (4-4-50) to which has been added one and one-half pounds of resin-fish-oil soap and three pounds arsenate of lead. A second application of the same spray is advisable in early August. In a small vineyard or with a slight infestation, it often pays to pick and destroy the berries infested by the spring brood. Plowing infested vineyards in late fall or early spring to bury all leaves prevents the emergence of many of the moths. To be effective, this practice must cover the leaves deeply directly under the vines and this earth must remain until after the time for the adults to emerge. Plowing under leaves is not as effective on sandy as on heavy soils, since sandy soils do not become sufficiently compact to prevent the escape of moths.
Insect pests of minor importance.
Of the 200 species of insects that feed more or less on the grape, entomologists mention several others than those described that in occasional years or localities become abundant and cause serious injury. Thus, there are several species of cut-worms which sometimes feed on the expanding buds of the young leaves of grapes. The damage of these cut-worms to the grape is greater in California than in other parts of the United States, but nevertheless they occasionally feed on the vines in eastern regions to the detriment of the crop. The most satisfactory control measure for cut-worms is the application of poisoned bait placed on the ground at the base of the vines.
In California there is a grape root-worm (Adoxus obscurus) quite distinct from the grape root-worm of eastern America which injures both the roots and the parts of the vine above ground. As in the eastern species, the best evidence of infestation of this pest is the narrow chain-like strips eaten out of the leaves, though the insect also gouges out part of the petioles, pedicels, berries and shoots and works under ground, eating the rootlets and bark of the larger roots. Infested vines show a stunted condition, the canes fail to attain a normal growth and often the vines are killed outright. As in the case of the eastern species, this root-worm is the larva of a beetle, the life history of the insect not being greatly different from that of the eastern beetle. Two methods of control are fairly effective: the adult beetles may be jarred from the vine and captured on a screen when the infestation is restricted to small areas; or the beetles may be poisoned with the arsenical spray recommended for the eastern species. Both jarring and spraying often have to be repeated as new infestations appear.
The grape leaf-folder (Desmia funeralis) is another insect pest of vineyards in California, and occasionally in the East, which works, however, only in restricted localities and in occasional years. In California, the insects are detected in a vineyard by the characteristic rolling of the leaves in which a tube rather less than the diameter of a lead pencil is formed for the home of the larvae. The larvae feed on the free edge of the leaf in the interior of the roll and are thus protected by the outer layers. In the East the caterpillar merely folds the edges of the leaves together. This leaf-folder hibernates as a chrysalis, coming forth in early spring to lay eggs on the vine shortly after the foliage has appeared. There are two broods in California and the northern states and three broods in the southern states. The leaf-folder is easily disposed of by spraying with an arsenical spray just after the eggs hatch and before the larva is protected by its roll of leaves.
Still another pest found throughout the United States and especially destructive in California is the hawk-moth (Pholus achemon), the larvae of which occasionally do serious damage to small areas of vines. These larvae are very similar to the large worms, familiar to all, which attack the tomato and tobacco. The insect hibernates in the pupal state in the ground where it may be distinguished as a large cylindrical object of dark brown color. The moths emerge about the middle of May and deposit their eggs on the leaves of the grape, upon which the larvae when hatched immediately begin to feed. There are several species of these hawk-moths, all of which have essentially the same life history. It is not a difficult pest to control since the larvae are easily killed with arsenical sprays; or if there are but occasional specimens they may be picked by hand. There are several species of the hawk-moth which attack the grape but this is the common one.
In eastern grape-growing regions, there are two other destructive grape insects widely distributed, but each noteworthy as pests only in the Appalachian region of West Virginia and neighboring states. One is the grape-curculio (Craponius inaequalis), not essentially different from the familiar curculio of the plum and cherry. This snout-beetle feeds freely on the upper surface of the leaves and the bark of fruit stems, and the female in laying eggs devours the tissues of the grapes in excavating her egg chamber. The grape-curculio is effectively destroyed by spraying with an arsenical spray in the spring as the beetles appear on the vines and before egg-laying begins.
Another insect pest of this region is the grape-vine root-borer (Memythrus polistiformis) closely allied to the peach-borer, known by all fruit-growers and the squash-vine borer known to the growers of vegetables. This borer is the larva of a moth and is a whitish grub with a brown head which, when fully grown, is about one and three-quarters inches in length. The body is slender, distinctly segmented and has a sparse covering of short, stiff hairs. These larvae burrow into the grape-root, at first confining themselves to the softer portions of the bark, often encircling the root several times, but later bore with the grain of the wood and by the end of the season so destroy the roots as to leave only the thin membrane of the outer bark intact. This pest is difficult to deal with. The borers cannot be removed by "worming" as in the peach, and neither can the roots be protected by sprays or washes. No one variety of the grape seems more immune than another. Thorough cultivation in the months of June and July to destroy the insects while in their cocoons at the surface of the ground seems to be the only method of stopping their ravages, and this is not always effective.
FUNGOUS DISEASES OF THE GRAPE
The grape is ravaged by four or five fungous diseases in America, unless the utmost vigilance is exercised to keep the parasites in check. Happily for commercial viticulture, there are regions, as we have seen in the description of grape regions in Chapter I, so fortunate in their freedom from fungous diseases that there is little uncertainty in grape-growing and but small expense in controlling diseases. Also modern science has discovered the life history of all the important diseases and devised fairly effective means of combating them.
All of the fungous parasites of the grape in America are indigenous, having long subsisted on wild vines. They are, therefore, all widely distributed, and as cultivation has presented to them great numbers of grape plants in continuous areas, the diseases have increased rapidly in intensity, at times have swept like wildfire through grape regions devastating and utterly ruining great areas of vines. Means, however, are now at hand in remedial and preventive treatment, which, while because of cost may not permit the grapes to be grown profitably in all parts of America, do permit their culture for home use in practically all agricultural districts in the country.
This is the most widely distributed and the most destructive fungous disease of the grape in the region east of the Rocky Mountains. Fortunately, it is unknown on the Pacific coast. The disease is caused by a parasitic fungus (Guignardia Bidwellii) which gains entrance to the grape plant by means of minute spores distributed chiefly by wind and rain. Black-rot passes the winter in mummied grapes, on dead tendrils or on small, dead areas on the canes. In the spring, the fungus spreads from these spots to the leaves and forms brown leaf spots about a fourth of an inch in diameter, or oblong, black spots on the shoots, leaves, petioles and tendrils. Later the disease spreads to the fruits, not usually attracting attention until the berries are at least half grown. Soon after the ravages of the fungus become apparent on the berries, the fruits turn black, shrivel and become covered with minute black pustules which contain the summer-spores. Figure 44 shows the work of black-rot. In the winter and spring, another form called the winter- or resting-spore is produced upon these old, shriveled, mummied berries, and these carry the disease over from one season to another.
Since the disease is carried through the winter in mummied fruits and diseased wood, the desirability of destroying these mummied grapes and the leaves and prunings of infected vines as soon as possible is apparent. This treatment, however, is not sufficient, and the disease can be effectually controlled only by thorough spraying with bordeaux mixture (4-4-50). The first application should be made just before the grape blossoms; the second, shortly after blossoming. The amount of material applied matters less than evenness in distribution and fineness of the spray as applied. In rainy seasons, perhaps a third or a fourth application should be made in regions where the disease is serious; the third is made when the berries are the size of a pea; the fourth, as the berries become large enough to touch each other.
Downy-mildew (Plasmopara viticola) rivals black-rot for first place among fungous diseases of the grape. It is found in all grape regions east of the Rocky Mountains but does most harm in northern localities. Like black-rot, downy-mildew attacks all the tender growing parts of the vine, but is chiefly found on the foliage and is usually less destructive than black-rot. As first seen on the foliage, the work of the fungus appears as greenish-yellow, irregular spots upon the upper surface which later become reddish-brown. At the same time on the under surface of the leaf, a thin, white downy growth puts forth. The spores of the fungus are produced on this downy growth, and under favorable conditions are distributed by wind and water to all tender parts of the vine, where they germinate and begin their work of destruction. The fruit is attacked when partly grown, as shown in Fig. 45, becoming covered with the gray down of the fungus, the "gray-rot" of the grape-grower. If the berries escape the disease until half grown, the fungus causes a brownish-purple spot that soon covers the whole grape, giving the disease at this stage the name of "brown-rot." Besides the summer-spores, another form of reproductive bodies is produced in the winter to carry the fungus through the resting period.
Downy-mildew, like black-rot, spreads most rapidly and does most injury in hot, wet weather. As with practically all diseases of the grape, much can be accomplished in the way of control of the disease by destroying infested leaves, shoots and berries which contain the winter spores, but these sanitary measures are not sufficiently effective and vineyards must be sprayed as recommended for black-rot, except that the first application should be made before the blossom-buds appear.
Less troublesome than downy-mildew in the East, powdery-mildew (Uncinula necator), unless checked, is capable of destroying the entire crop of European grapes on the Pacific slope. In the East it sometimes causes great loss on the several varieties known as "Rogers hybrids" and, curiously enough, is often a rather serious disease of the Concord. The disease is caused by a superficial fungus which passes the winter on fallen leaves and also on the canes. The spores begin to germinate a few weeks after the grape blossoms, but the disease is not often found until the grapes are nearly half grown. The fine white filaments of the fungus, which constitute the vegetative portion of the parasite, then attack the leaves, shoots and fruit, sending up short irregular branches on which great numbers of spores are borne. These give the upper surface of the leaf a gray, powdery appearance, hence the name. Eventually the diseased leaves become light brown and if the disease is severe, soon fall. Infected berries take on a gray, scurfy appearance, speckled with brown, are checked in growth and often burst on one side, exposing the seeds. The berries, however, do not become soft and shrunken as when attacked by the downy-mildew. The disease passes the winter in resting-spores produced late in the growing season. Powdery-mildew differs from other fungous diseases of the grape in being more prevalent in hot, dry seasons than in cold, wet ones.
In eastern America powdery-mildew is controlled by the treatment recommended for black-rot. When black-rot is not prevalent, two sprays with bordeaux mixture are recommended; the first in early July and the second about two weeks later. On the Pacific coast, however, powdery-mildew or "oidium" as it is often called there, the name coming from Europe, is more cheaply and more successfully combated by dusting with flowers of sulfur. Dusting is often done by hand or with perforated cans but this is wasteful and uncertain, and any one of several sulfur-sprayers may be used which does the work better.
Another widespread disease is anthracnose (Sphaceloma ampelinum), called "birds-eye-rot" because of the peculiar spots produced on the affected fruits, which attacks leaves, shoots and fruits of the vine. It first appears on the leaves in small, irregular, dark brown sunken spots with a dark margin. Later it appears on the fruits, having much the same appearance though the spots are usually larger and more sunken, the disease being most characteristic on the fruit, however. Frequently two or more spots unite and so cover the greater part of the berry. The fruits become hard, more or less wrinkled, and the diseased area often ruptures, exposing the seed, much as with powdery-mildew. The spores of the fungus are produced in great numbers on diseased areas during the growing season and are borne on thread-like filaments which live throughout the winter in the tissues of the vine and are ready for new growth in the spring. Winter-spores have not yet been discovered.
Anthracnose is widely distributed in eastern America but seldom causes great or general loss, most of the commercial grapes being relatively immune to the disease. A few sorts rather commonly grown in home vineyards, as Diamond, Brighton and Agawam, suffer most from anthracnose. Spraying with bordeaux mixture, as recommended for black-rot, is usually sufficient to keep the disease in check.
A troublesome disease of recent appearance is now doing considerable damage in the Chautauqua grape-belt along the shores of Lake Erie, being most common on the Concord. From the fact that it is usually found on one arm of the vine it is called "dead-arm disease" (Cryptosporella viticola.) The disease is caused by a fungus which passes the winter in small, black fruiting bodies in the dead parts of the vine. Early in the spring the fungus spreads by means of spores to the young shoots and later in the season attacks mature berries, producing small, black, oblong spots of black-rot. Sooner or later, if the diseased shoot is not cut off, the fungus spreads to the arms or trunk of the vine, producing a slow, dry rot which eventually kills the affected part. Fortunately, the presence of the disease is quickly detected by small yellowish leaves, much crimped about the margin.
The fungus is easily controlled by marking the diseased arms when the first symptoms appear and cutting these off at pruning time. If the vine is much mutilated by such pruning, usually suckers can be brought up from beneath the surface of the ground to renew the vine. The applications of bordeaux mixture recommended for black-rot are valuable in preventing the dead-arm disease. The disease is largely prevented by renewing the old wood of the vine as soon as the trunk begins to show a gnarled appearance.
In eastern America, especially in the Chautauqua grape-belt, grape-growers not infrequently lose a large part of the crop by the premature falling of the grapes from the stems. The trouble is an ancient one and is designated as "shelling" or "rattling." This premature dropping usually begins at the end of a cluster, and clusters farthest from the trunk are earliest affected. When vineyards suffer badly from this shelling, the vines often take on a sickly appearance, the foliage falling off in color and the outer margins of the leaves drying up more or less. The fallen fruit has an insipid taste and is, of course, worthless even if it could be harvested.
The cause of the trouble is not known. Grapes may "rattle" on high land or low land, on poor soil or rich soil, on heavy or light soil. A vineyard may be affected one year and not the next. Grape-growers usually attribute the trouble to faulty nutrition, but applications of fertilizers have not proved a preventive. Old and well-established vineyards seem freer from the trouble than new and poorly established plantings. The most reasonable theory as to the cause of shelling is that it comes from faulty nutrition of the vine, but the conditions so affecting the nutrition are not yet satisfactorily determined.
Diseases of minor importance.
Ripe-rot or bitter-rot (Glomerella rufomaculans) is a disease due to the same fungus causing the bitter-rot of the apple. As the name indicates, the disease usually appears on the fruit at ripening time and under favorable conditions continues after the grapes are picked. It may also attack the leaves and stems. The first indication of the fungus is the appearance of reddish-brown spots which spread and eventually cover the whole fruit. The berries do not shrivel, but the rotted surface becomes dotted with pustules in which the spores are borne. It is hard to tell how much damage this disease does, but it is not usually great and the late applications of bordeaux mixture for black-rot or powdery-mildew are very effective in controlling it.
Crown-gall, now known to be a bacterial disease which causes knots or galls on the roots of various wild and cultivated plants, sometimes attacks grape roots or even the vines above ground. Occasionally, the disease is rather serious, but it is not often to be reckoned with in the vineyard regions of America. Fungicides are useless in combating the disease and all that can be done is to exercise great care in planting infected stock. It is doubtful whether crown-gall ever seriously injures vines in northern regions, although it may occasionally do so in the South.
In California there is a somewhat mysterious disease known as "Anaheim disease," because of its having first made its appearance in the vicinity of Anaheim. As near as can be learned, the disease first appeared in 1884 and then spread rapidly from forty to fifty miles from the point where it began its ravages, causing direct and indirect loss of many millions of dollars, and leading to the abandonment of grape-growing in some parts of southern California. Fortunately, in recent years the Anaheim disease is less aggressive but still does more or less damage. The nature and the treatment of this disease are not as yet fully determined, although several experimenters are studying the trouble. Californians whose vineyards suffer from this disease should apply to the experiment station at Berkeley for the latest information in regard to it.
Coulure is another trouble of the vine in California of which little is yet known, either as to cause or treatment. The term signifies the failure of the fruit to set or to remain on the clusters. The trouble occurs in varying degrees from the loss of a few berries to the complete shelling of the fruit from the stem. It is worse in some localities than others and in some varieties than others. Various causes have been assigned to the disease, chief of which, and most probable, are unfavorable climatic conditions.
CONTROL OF INSECTS AND DISEASES
From the number of insects and diseases found on the grape, it would seem that, literally, "pestilence walketh in darkness and destruction wasteth at noonday" in the vineyards of the country. But not many of the ills that grape-flesh is heir to are ever found in one region, and the vineyard is seldom attacked by many diseases or insects in a single season. There was a time, as we have said before, when grape-growers were so beset by pests which they could not control, that viticulture was one of the most uncertain fields in agriculture. But one brilliant discovery after another has brought the pests of the grape under the hand of man until now there are but few that need cause much expense in treatment or worry as to the outcome.
Plants cannot be attacked by diseases unless infection is permitted. It follows that by proper sanitation most of the insect pests of the vine can be kept out of the vineyard.
By changing or modifying environment, immunity can be secured from many of the pests of the grape and damage may be reduced with most if not all. Cultivation, as has been noted under several insect pests and one or two of the diseases of the grape, is an effective method of eliminating grape pests. In the case of insects, it destroys the insects themselves and the hibernating places as well. The vineyard should never be kept in sod, but always under thorough and frequent cultivation. Vineyard sanitation is greatly improved, also, if cover-crops which remain green during the winter are planted after the last cultivation. Cultivation should usually be preceded by deep plowing in the fall or spring to turn under fallen leaves and weeds or grass in which hibernating insects may pass the winter.
The surroundings of the vineyard should be looked after. Fence-rows and waste lands which cannot be cultivated may often be burned over to destroy the hibernating places of grape insects. As a rule, it is unwise to plant the bramble berries or even strawberries in vineyards, or adjoining vineyards, since these plants afford hibernating places and food plants for some of the grape insects, especially the destructive leaf-hopper. Lastly, precaution should be taken by destroying all wild grape-vines near vineyards, as these frequently harbor insects and diseases, the flea-beetle finding the wild grape-vine almost a necessity to its existence.
Definite rules cannot be laid down for spraying vineyards the country over. The literature on this subject is plentiful in any state in which grapes are largely grown, within the reach of the grape-grower, and is not difficult to understand once it is in hand. Every grape-grower should secure and study the publications of the state experiment stations having to do with the control of insects and diseases.
The number of applications and the sprays to be used vary greatly in different parts of America. On the Pacific slope the only application yearly required in most vineyard regions is dusting with flowers of sulfur for powdery-mildew. Several other pests may, however, from year to year, or in one locality or another, require special treatment. In the grape regions of New York, many grape-growers do not spray at all, but these are usually slovens or procrastinators whose profits are small and uncertain. In the grape regions of the northeastern states, orderly vineyardists spray at least once with bordeaux mixture (4-4-50) in which is put three pounds of arsenate of lead, no matter how few insects and fungi are present. This treatment is given soon after the blossoms fall. In more southern regions it may be necessary to make a similar treatment soon after the first leaves appear, again after the blossoms fall and every two weeks thereafter until the grapes begin to turn in color, making as many as four, five or even six applications in all. To these regular applications of bordeaux mixture and arsenate of lead, contact insecticides, as some of the nicotine preparations, may have to be added; or, for special purposes as specified in discussing the several pests, cheap molasses is added. It is doubtful, however, whether the grape can be grown with commercial success where insects and fungi prevail and are so pestiferous as to require annually more than two or three applications of spraying mixtures.
MARKETING THE CROPS AND VINEYARD RETURNS
Viticulture, as all divisions of agriculture, is made up of two quite distinct phases of activity: growing the crop and marketing the crop. The subjects to be treated in this and the next chapter belong rather more to marketing than to cultural activities. Treated in detail, these operations constitute matter sufficient for a separate treatise, and only an outline of present practices is in place in a text such as this devoted to the culture of the fruit. The several operations to be discussed are picking, packing, storing, shipping and marketing.
HARVESTING IN THE EAST AND NORTH
As the consummation of the care of the vine, the in-gathering of the crop is celebrated in all European countries with rejoicings in song, dance and mirth. In America the vintage is less of an event than in Europe, but it is more picturesque and diverting than the harvest of most other crops. It is work in which youth and old age, as well as those in the prime of life in both sexes, can take part and is reputed as a most healthful occupation. For these reasons, the grape harvest in America, as in Europe, has somewhat the air of a holiday, so that workers are usually readily found for the several operations of harvesting. Laborers come as grapes begin to ripen from near-by cities and towns and neighboring country-sides in such numbers that the care of the crop is speedily accomplished.
As a rule, pickers are hired by the piece rather than by the day, experience having demonstrated that so paid they do more and better work. There is usually much diversity in race, age and condition of life of pickers so that harmonious and efficient work is scarcely possible without a competent foreman in charge who must often be assisted by a sub-foreman. Efficient supervision doubles the picking capacity of a gang of workers, and, moreover, is necessary to see that the fruit is picked and packed with proper care. In hiring pickers, it is usually stipulated that a part of the pay is to be reserved until the close of the season; otherwise those disposed to have a holiday leave when the weather becomes unpleasant or seek greener pastures when the grapes become scarce.
Time to pick.
Unlike some fruits, grapes must not be picked until they are fully ripe, as unripe grapes do not mature after picking. Grapes not matured lack the necessary percentage of sugar and solids to keep well and have not developed their full flavor. Many growers make the mistake of sending grapes to the market before fully ripe, a mistake easily made with some varieties because they acquire full color before full maturity. Color, therefore, is not a good guide as to the time to pick. In the northern and eastern states, late varieties of grapes may be allowed to hang on the vines for some little time after maturity, the late autumn suns giving them a higher degree of sweetness and perfection. Some growers run the risks of light frosts to further maturity and to secure the added advantage of the removal of many leaves from the vines. Ripeness is indicated by a combination of signs difficult to describe but easily learned by experience. These signs are: first, a characteristic color; second, full development of flavor and aroma; third, a softer texture of the pulp and a slight thickening of the juice so that it is more or less sticky; fourth, the ends of the stems turn from green to brown; fifth, the berries pull more readily from their stems; sixth, the seeds are free or more nearly free from the pulp and usually turn from green to brown.
But few appliances are needed in picking grapes. Shears are a necessity. These are of special make and can be bought from dealers in horticultural supplies, costing from 75 cents to $1. Some growers, after picking, pack the fruit in the field in the receptacles in which it is to go to market. The greater number, however, pick in trays which are taken to the packing-house and allowed to stand until the fruit is wilted before packing for shipment. Trays may be of several sizes and shapes, but are usually shallow flats holding from twenty-five to thirty-five pounds. The picked fruit is taken from the vineyard to the packing-shed in a wagon with flexible springs to prevent jarring and jolting. Large growers usually have specially built one-horse platform wagons, the front wheels of which pass under the platform.
It is no small matter to keep a picking account with pickers. Business-like growers use one of several kinds of tickets or tags in keeping accounts. Probably the most common method is to give a ticket to the picker when the receptacle of grapes is delivered, the grower either keeping half of the original or a duplicate of it. Objections to ticket systems are that the pickers often lose the tickets, are irregular in returning them, or exchange them with other pickers. To obviate the disadvantages of tickets, some growers use tags which bear the picker's name and are attached to his person. These tags have marginal numbers or divisions which are canceled by a punch as pickers deliver the grapes. Still another method is to keep book accounts with each picker in which case payment is made by the pound, each receptacle being put on the scales as brought in from the field, credit being given for the number of pounds. It is the duty of those in charge to see that each picker finishes the row or the part of the row to which he is assigned, and that he does not wander over the vineyard in search of the best picking.
Packing-houses and their appliances.
The commercial grape-grower must have a house for packing and storing. Houses differ in design and fitting for almost every vineyard. Sometimes the house is a combination one for packing and storing. Often the packing-house is a halfway place between the vineyard and the shipping station, in which case it is an open shed or a lightly constructed building. In these field packing-houses there are usually no provisions for storing. The better types of combined houses are provided with a cellar for the storage of grapes, the first floor is used for packing, and the attic provides a place for the storage of baskets and crates. In all such houses provision must be made for thorough ventilation, especially for the storage cellar if the grapes are to be kept for any length of time. Properly ventilated, the temperature of the grape cellar can be kept as low as 50 deg. F. during September and October. The cellar floor in these houses is usually of dirt better to regulate the moisture-content of the room. Often the first floor is divided into two rooms, one to be used for packing and the other as a shipping room. A good combination packing-and-storage-house of this type can be built for $1000 to $2000. Now that cold storage facilities can be secured in most grape-growing regions, and the rates of storage are becoming more reasonable, there is less need of storage-houses.
Packing-houses are so simple in construction and may be so different in design that it is neither possible nor necessary to describe them in detail. A building that protects the workers from the elements and affords conveniences in packing serves the purpose. Such a packing-house, which is often located in the vineyard, should be well lighted, should be connected with the storage-room for baskets and should have advantages for delivering the packages from the storage-room to the packing-room and from the packing-room to the shipping-room. Its size will depend on the quantities of grapes to be packed. The house must be built so that it can be kept clean and sweet.
Every packing-house, whatever the design, must be furnished with tables for holding the trays while the fruit is being packed. Usually these tables are so made that the picking trays are set before the packers on an inclined table. The packer transfers the grapes from the trays into the baskets in which the fruit is to be sold. The trays of grapes as they come from the field are set before the worker, who then packs the fruit into the basket from the left. As the baskets are filled, they are placed on a flat ledge or shelf in front of the packer and are then taken off by an attendant. Empty baskets are usually held in store on a higher shelf convenient to the packer and from time to time are replenished by the attendant. Figure 46 shows a packing-table of the kind just described. Sometimes the packing-table is circular and revolves, the packers sitting about the table. The baskets are held on the lap and the packer takes the grapes off the table which is turned as fresh fruit is brought in. This circular table is not in general use; its only advantage is that it permits the packer to select from a larger quantity of fruit.
Grapes are more easily graded than most other fruits; for usually there are but two grades, firsts and culls. It is difficult to specify exactly what firsts are, since a number of factors must be considered which bring in play the judgment of the grader. At least, firsts must have the following qualities: The bunches must be approximately uniform in size; there must be few or no berries missing from the stems; the grapes must be fully ripe, of a uniform degree of ripeness and uniformly colored; and the fruit must be free from insect and fungous injuries. It is easier to give specifications for culls, since all grapes not firsts are culls.
In large vineyards, only good fruit or the best fruit is worth grading. It is more advisable to sell poor fruit by the ton with little or no grading. It follows, also, that the higher the price, the more special the market, and the more carefully the crop is picked, the more profitable it is to grade. The work of grading is done in the packing-shed when the fruit is transferred from the trays into the selling receptacles. A pair of slender scissors made for the purpose, to be purchased from dealers in horticultural supplies, is used to trim out diseased and crushed berries. The fruit must be permitted to wilt for a few hours, a half day or overnight, before it can be graded to advantage. In this work of grading, the greatest care should be taken to keep the fruit clean and fresh, to sort out broken bunches and to preserve the bloom. The less handling, the more finely finished is the product.
Grape packages in eastern grape regions.
Packages for grapes are less varied than those for any other fruit, selling receptacles in the states east of the Rocky Mountains being much the same for all regions. Dessert grapes are universally packed in gift packages—that is, packages which are given away when the fruit is sold—and this insures a clean dainty package. It seems imperative that a uniform style of package should be used the country over for the general market, but up until this time, although there have been both national and state laws passed, uniformity has not been secured. A national law is needed establishing standard commercial packages so that the grower may safely ship from one state to another without being a law-breaker. Such a package should be based on cubic-measure and not on weight as is often advocated; for grapes cannot be shipped without some loss from sampling in transit; and there are also losses in weight by evaporation so that the grower, although trying to comply with the law, may become technically a law-breaker if the standard is based on weight.
The most popular package for the grape in eastern grape regions is the Climax basket made in various styles and sizes. These are cheap, easily packed and handled, nest well in shipment and are durable. Three sizes are commonest in use, the five-pound, the ten-pound and the twenty-pound basket. The five-pound basket usually holds only a little over four pounds; the ten-pound about eight pounds; and the twenty-pound rather less than twenty pounds. Two sizes of Climax baskets are shown in Fig. 47. It is commonly understood, however, that the packages are short in weight, and as grapes are retailed by the basket and not by the pound, short weight does not really deceive.
These baskets are made of thin wood veneer with a light wood binding at the top and bottom. The cover is of wood and is usually fastened on with staples. The handle is either of wood or of wire. When well made, the baskets are firm and symmetrical, without splinters and are clean and white. Packages carried over from year to year become dingy in color, but the wood may be whitened by fumigating in the storage-room with sulfur. The baskets also become yellow and discolored if left in the sun and must, therefore, be stored in clean, dark, dry rooms.
When grapes are sold by weight to manufacturers of wine or grape-juice, they are usually delivered in the picking trays which, if the market is near at hand, are always returned. If they are to be shipped far, they go to market in twenty-pound baskets or bushel baskets, although the latter are not regarded with favor by consumers.
Grapes packed indoors, as has been said, are allowed to stand from a few to twenty-four hours after being picked to permit them to wilt. When thus wilted they are much more easily packed and do not shrink in transportation, so that the basket usually reaches the market well filled with fruit. Each bunch of grapes is placed separately in the basket after all unmarketable berries have been removed. The bunches are arranged in concentric tiers, the top layer being placed with special care. When the basket is filled, the grapes rise a little above the level of the basket, care being taken not to have the fruit project too much so that the grapes will be crushed when putting on the cover. In all this work, the berries are handled as little as possible, so as not to destroy the bloom. Care is taken, also, that the fruit is free from spraying material and is otherwise clean and fresh. Much less pains need be taken when the grapes are packed in trays to be sold by weight, but even in this there must be method in filling the trays, otherwise there will be many open spaces and corners between bunches.
Practically all commercial grape-growers now use labels on their packages. These not only add to the attractiveness of the packages, but are a guarantee of the contents, both as to name of the variety and the quality of the fruit. These labels are, also, a sign by which a grower's fruit may be distinguished and are, therefore, a valuable advertising medium. Some growers have registered their labels in the United States Patent Office in order to prevent others from using them. Obviously, it is not desirable or worth while to label a poor grade of grapes.
The commercial grape-grower now stores his grapes in cold storage warehouses if he keeps them any length of time after harvesting. There is no question but that keeping a part of the crop in artificially cooled houses is a great benefit to the grape-grower, since it prolongs the season for selling by some three or four months. Formerly, native grapes could be secured in general markets only until Thanksgiving time or thereabouts, but now American grapes are very generally offered for sale in January and February, while the European grapes from California are in the market nearly the year around. The grape-grower need make little or no preparation of his product in putting it in cold storage except to make sure that the product is first class in every respect. It would be a waste of money and effort to attempt to store any but clean, sound, well-matured, well-packed grapes. The grape-grower, however, seldom need concern himself with storing, since the crop is usually stored by the buyers.
Few small growers seem to have learned the art of keeping grapes in common storage, There are but few difficulties in keeping European grapes for several months after picking if they are stored under favorable conditions. Not all, but several of the native grapes may also be kept practically throughout the winter if proper precautions are taken. Among these varieties Catawba is the standard winter sort, but Diana, Iona, Isabella, Rogers' hybrids and Vergennes, all rather commonly grown, may be kept by the small grower.
To insure keeping, these native grapes must be handled most carefully. The fruit is picked a few days before it is dead ripe and the bunches placed in trays holding forty or fifty pounds. It is important that the temperature be reduced gradually so that there are no sudden changes. If the nights are cool, a valuable aid is to leave the grapes out-of-doors in crates the night after they are picked, placing them in a cool building or dry cellar early the next morning. The cellar or store-room should be well ventilated and should be such that the temperature is not variable, care being taken that the air in every part of the storage room is changed. Draughts, however, should be avoided or stems and berries will shrivel. If a temperature from 40 deg. to 50 deg. can be maintained, the varieties named may be kept until March or April. An expensive store-room is not necessary and ice to cool the room is not only unnecessary but undesirable.
If the storage-room is too dry, the grapes wilt and lose flavor; if, on the other hand, the atmosphere is too damp, the grapes mold. It is essential, therefore, to strike a medium between an atmosphere too dry and one too wet. It is possible that a light fumigation with sulfur or formaldehyde might help to keep down molds in these common storage grape-rooms, but as to the value of fumigation there seems to be no experimental evidence.
Grapes grown on clay lands are said to be firmer and to keep better than those grown on gravel or lighter soils. Some years ago there was an association in Ohio known as The Clay-Growers Association which handled only grapes grown on clay lands. The members of this association believed that their grapes were much more desirable for storage than grapes from regions where the soil was lighter.
HARVESTING AND HANDLING MUSCADINE GRAPES
The Muscadine grapes of the South Atlantic and Gulf states are unique in vine and fruit, are used for different purposes and go to different markets from the grapes of the North, so that they may be considered almost a distinct fruit. Not only are cultural requirements peculiar to this fruit, as we have seen, but the methods of harvesting and marketing are quite distinct. These are well set forth by Husmann and Dearing as follows:
"Rotundifolia vines have been almost entirely grown on overhead arbors in the past, the fruit being made into wine, and under such conditions the general practice of jarring the grapes from the vines is perhaps the most practical method of harvesting. If the vines are trained to upright trellises or if the fruit is intended for shipping or table use the grapes should be picked by hand in order to be sound and clean. On account of the presence of leaves, twigs, etc., mixed with the grapes jarred from the vines, wine and grape-juice manufacturers will pay 5 to 15 cents a bushel more for hand-picked grapes. The growers who make a practice of hand picking claim that the work can be done at practically no greater expense than is necessary to shake off and clean a crop, and the increased price obtained for the fruit will more than pay the difference.
"A description of the harvesting of the Rotundifolia grapes by the jarring method will be interesting to those not familiar with it. Poles are attached to sheets of canvas measuring 6 by 12 feet and having leather handles. A man is placed at each end of the sheets and four men with two sheets work together. The wide sides of the two sheets are brought close together under each vine, with the trunk of the vine in the middle. The vines are then jarred, the berries falling into the sheets. Those not caught by the sheets or that have fallen to the ground by the shaking of the trellis when the fruit of the adjoining vines was harvested, etc., and which are usually of the best quality, are picked by hand. The writers are informed that it costs approximately 15 cents a bushel to harvest the fruit on the ground and 12 cents to harvest that which falls on the sheets.
"The fruit is put in boxes or barrels, and if the quantity is not large the leaves, sticks, etc., which become mixed with the fruit are removed by hand. If there is a considerable quantity of fruit some mechanical means, such as ordinary grain fan mills, are used to clean it. After cleaning, the fruit is hauled or shipped to the winery. In wineries with modern equipment there are blowers which thoroughly clean the fruit. These are located near the end of the elevators that carry the fruit to the crusher.
"A common and very objectionable practice followed in harvesting Rotundifolia grapes, especially by the jarring method, is that of gathering the fruit all at once, whereas there should be at least three periods of harvesting. When harvested at one time the best quality of fruit ripens, falls to the ground, and is lost before the harvest is commenced and the last part of the crop is thrashed from the vines in a half-ripe condition along with the ripe fruit. In this manner not only is the first and best fruit entirely lost, but the harvested fruit is inferior in quality, which necessarily results in a poor product from the entire yield."
Returns from Muscadine grapes.
"Great variations occur in the yields from Rotundifolia vines. At times there are record-breaking yields and, again, small yields are reported, the small yields resulting from black-rot, coulure, wet weather, self-sterility, lack of cultivation, fertilization, lack of pruning, age of vines, and various other causes. In spite of this, Rotundifolia vines are said to be among the safest and most prolific of fruit-bearing plants. While in one of the largest Rotundifolia vineyards there has been only a partial crop during the last three years, owing to various causes, another grower reports a yield of 177 bushels of grapes from 4-year-old James vines, in addition to a bale of cotton to the acre. A Florida grower estimated his crop of white Rotundifolia and Thomas grapes for the season of 1911 at 280 bushels to the acre. An average yield of 27 bushels an acre from 4-year-old vines, 100 bushels from 5-year-old vines, and 150 bushels to the acre when the vines are in full bearing should be obtained.
"The prices paid for Rotundifolia grapes depend on the season, the quality of fruit, and the market. In years when the crop is short better prices are usually paid than when there is a heavy crop. Aside from the grapes sold and shipped to wineries, grapes as a rule sell for more in the cities and larger towns than in smaller places, the local demand being somewhat in proportion to the population. In such localities fruit of good quality will bring a much better price than inferior fruit. Hand-picked fruit in half-bushel peach baskets or in berry boxes usually brings from $1 to $2 per bushel. Grapes harvested by jarring are usually sent to the wineries and bring an average of 75 cents per bushel of 60 pounds. The highest price paid for this quality of fruit was reached in 1910, when $2.25 per bushel (f.o.b. shipping point) was paid for white Rotundifolia.
"In many localities certain growers have built up quite a reputation for themselves in choice, hand-picked fruit, which they ship to special customers in distant markets. For this purpose the James variety is usually grown because the berries adhere well and are of good size and flavor. Several growers ship as far north as New York and Boston, getting from $2.00 to $2.50 gross per bushel crate. In shipping, three styles of carriers are used—the 24-box strawberry crate, the 6-basket peach crate, and the 8-pound basket. More attention should be given to this phase of the industry. The varieties best suited for shipping are the James, Memory, Flowers, and Mish.
"In the fall of 1910 shipments of the James, Thomas, and Eden varieties were sent from the Rotundifolia experiment vineyard at Willard, N. C., to Washington D. C., part of the consignment being in strawberry boxes and the remainder in bushel baskets. No important difference could be noted in the two lots on their arrival in Washington. The James variety arrived in perfect condition in both packages; of the Eden 30 per cent and of the Thomas 35 per cent had shelled. More extensive experiments along this line are contemplated."
HANDLING THE GRAPE IN CALIFORNIA
Grapes are grown in California for three purposes, wine, raisins and the table. The handling of the crop for raisins and wine is best taken up in a discussion of these products in the chapter on by-products of the grape, leaving only table grapes to be discussed at this place.
The table-grape industry of the Pacific slope is dependent on the wide distribution of the product in eastern markets for a profitable sale of the crop, since production is so great that but a small part of the crop is consumed in the markets of the Pacific slope. The growers in this region, therefore, have special problems, chief of which are those of successful shipment over long distances. California annually ships in the neighborhood of 10,000 carloads of table grapes, all of which must be handled within a period of about two months. As competition increases, it becomes more and more necessary to extend the area over which the fruit is to be sold; to lengthen the marketing season through cold storage; and for both of these purposes to devise new or to improve present methods of handling the fruit. The two requisites for the successful shipment of this great bulk of grapes are: The fruit must reach the markets in sound condition; and it must have sufficient market-holding quality to remain sound for a considerable length of time after it arrives in the markets. Experience has thoroughly demonstrated to grape-growers in California that decay in grapes is largely dependent on the presence of injuries to the grape berries, to the pedicels or to the stems of the bunches. Methods of handling grapes, therefore, and the type of package used, must be such that the product is injured as little as possible.
In the shipment of European grapes from California, it has been found that it pays to go to much extra trouble in handling the crop. The bunches are picked with care to avoid bruising or crushing berries, and as far as possible they are lifted only by the main stems. They are then laid with care in the picking trays which are filled only one layer deep. In moving the trays to the packing-house, they are handled carefully, the trays being moved only on wagons with springs. In sorting, special care is taken to remove all injured and unsound berries and not to injure others in the bunch, here again handling the clusters by the stems. In packing, the bunches are placed firmly in the baskets with care not to crush or bruise the stems or to injure the pedicels of the berries. A slight injury of either berry or pedicel permits the spores of the fungus causing decay to gain entrance into the fruit.
The most common package for table-grapes in California is a square basket holding about five pounds. These baskets are placed for shipment in fours in crates. The bunches of some varieties may be too large for these small baskets, and these extra large-clustered grapes are packed in oblong baskets holding in the neighborhood of eight pounds, two baskets filling a crate. No good filler seems yet to have been devised for packing grapes in California. The cork dust in which grapes from the Mediterranean are received is not available and a good substitute has not yet been found. Sawdust is sometimes used but has not proved satisfactory in holding the decay and the fruit absorbs disagreeable flavors from the wood. Occasionally, however, grapes from California are sent to eastern markets packed in dry redwood sawdust and these seem to come through in good condition and not to have absorbed a disagreeable flavor. Reports seem to indicate that this specially selected redwood sawdust is proving much better than the ordinary sawdust experimented with some years ago.
Considerable work has been done by the United States Department of Agriculture to determine how table-grapes could best be shipped from the far West and reach the eastern markets in good condition. The crop is, of course, shipped in refrigerator cars and much depends on the cooling of these cars and especially on the temperature at which the grapes are kept while in transit. To carry well over the 3000 miles of mountain and desert, heat and cold, the best type of refrigerator car must be used. It does not appear that the pre-cooling so advantageous to citrous and other tree-fruits is worth the trouble and expense with table-grapes, as it does not seem to prevent decay. Cooling cannot be substituted for careful handling, which seems as yet the most necessary precaution to be taken in the preparation of these grapes for eastern shipment.
Table-grapes from both eastern and western grape regions are now almost entirely shipped in carload lots. Since few grape-growers are prepared to load a car quickly with grapes, some kind of cooeperation is required, or the crop must be handled by large buyers. Cooeperative methods are becoming more and more popular, although a large part of the grape crop, both East and West, is now handled by buyers.
There are several important advantages in selling through a cooeperative organization. Thus, in selling cooeperatively, the grapes are graded and packed in accordance with one standard; more favorable transportation rates can be secured by a cooeperative association; and, most important of all, the output can be distributed to the grape markets of the country without the disastrous competition that attends individual marketing. In some of these organizations, also, supplies needed by the grape-grower in producing a crop are purchased more economically than by individuals; in particular, grape packages can be purchased better by an organization than by an individual.
As the grape industry and competition grow in the different regions of the country, the necessity of forming marketing organizations becomes greater. Such organizations must be founded on the principles which many experiments have shown best govern fruit-marketing associations. It is not possible to discuss these principles at length, but the following fundamentals will suffice:
An ideal cooeperative association is one in which there are no profits nor dividends. Every member of the whole organized association is a producer. All of the product grown by a member is sold through the association. The association is democratic, all members having an equal voice in its management and all sharing alike in its successes and failures. When profits arise of necessity, they are distributed to the members of the association in proportion to the amount of business each has done. The work of the organization is conducted at as near cost as possible and profits are declared only after expenses, depreciation, interest on capital for future operations are deducted. Thus it is seen that the plan of the organization is to give each member as nearly as possible the exact price his fruit has brought in the markets.
Grape-growing as a business is a comparatively new industry in America. It is true that the first attempts at growing this fruit were made to found an industry, but these were complete and dismal failures, and the start in growing grapes in America eventually came as a pleasing hobby. In evolving from a hobby into vineyard culture on a large scale, the business side of the industry long lagged. At present, with increasing competition, manifold uncertainties in vineyard conditions, and much unbusinesslike administration, interest in cultural operations, with which pioneers in the industry were chiefly concerned, is eclipsed by the conception that grape-growing is a highly developed commercial enterprise requiring for success careful business management.
Unfortunately there is nowhere a substantial body of figures from which growers can obtain a fair conception of what the outgo and income of average vineyards in grape regions are. The value of such data to investors or to those making an effort to keep track of the finances of their business is obvious, and an attempt is made here to put the reader in possession of figures that ought to be helpful. The data given, although scant and fragmentary, show fairly accurately the cost of producing grapes, selling prices and profits in the culture of this fruit in one of the great grape regions.
The New York Agricultural Experiment Station is carrying on experiments to determine the outgo and income from vineyards in the Chautauqua grape-belt. The work is not yet finished, nor could the findings be published in detail before being sent out by the Station, but F. E. Gladwin, in charge of the work, has consented to set down summaries of costs and returns taken from vineyards at Fredonia, which will serve as a guide to planters of grapes in this region at least:
Interest on value of land @ $200 per acre $12.00 Preparation of land 8.00 Cost of vines per acre 12.00 Planting 4.00 Cultivating 6.00 ——— Total expenditure for first year $42.00
Interest on value of vineyard @ $225 per acre $13.50 Cultivating, hand hoeing, etc. 9.25 Pruning 1.00 ——— Total expenditure for second year $23.75
Interest on value of vineyard @ $250 per acre $15.00 Pruning 2.50 Posts (cost of) @ .10 240 24.00 Setting and driving 6.50 Wire and wiring, staples, etc. 11.65 Tying and twine 1.45 Cultivating, plowing, harrowing 9.25 Spraying 4.00 No. baskets sold @ .16 per basket 500 $80.00 Cost of baskets @ $20 per thousand 10.00 Picking @ .01 per basket 5.00 Packing @ .01 per basket 5.00 Hauling .003 1.50 ——— Outgo for third year $95.85 ——— Income $80.00
Interest on value of vineyard @ $300 per acre $18.00 Pruning 2.50 Tying 2.90 Spraying and materials 4.00 Cultivating, plowing, harrowing, hand-hoeing and plowing back one furrow 9.25 Trellis upkeep, driving posts, tightening wires, etc. 2.50 Pulling and poling out brush 1.69 No. baskets sold @ .16 per basket 1000 $160.00 Cost of baskets @ $20 per thousand 20.00 Picking @ .01 per basket 10.00 Packing @ .01 per basket 10.00 Hauling .003 3.00 ——— Outgo for fourth year $83.84 ———- Income $160.00
Outgo for four years $245.44 Income for four years 240.00
Estimates for Succeeding Years
Gross income $125-200 Outgo 75- 85
Over-production, with the attendant losses caused by glutted markets, is a factor which, like frosts and freezes, is ever in the mind of the grape-grower. No season passes but that some of the grape regions of the country suffer from over-production. Not uncommonly the grape industry in a region is better off in a season when the crop is small and prices high, than when the crop is large and prices low. In every part of the country where grapes are grown, over-production has been a great deterrent to viticulture; this, in spite of the fact that grape-growers have availed themselves of the opportunity to manufacture products from this fruit. Thus, wine and raisins are made from the grape in California, and a large part of the harvest in the East goes into wine, champagne and grape-juice. But the growth of prohibition now threatens the wine and champagne industries of the country, in fact may be said to have driven them to the wall, making the need of new outlets in manufactured products a greater necessity.
Under these conditions, grape-growers must seek in every way to enlarge the sale of the crop to manufacturers with the hope that thus, together with more perfect distribution of his commodities, the inroads made by prohibition on the industry may be offset and the over-production of table-grapes be better prevented. With this brief emphasis on the importance of manufactured products of the grape, we approach the discussion of the several possible outlets to over-production in this fruit.
The manufacture and use of wine in America, as has been intimated, is likely to cease through prohibition. Therefore, whatever may be said of this product of the grape is of less and less interest to grape-growers. However, a few years of grace probably remain for the making of wines in America, and since wine-making yet offers the greatest outlet for the grape crop, next to table-grapes, wine must be considered as a factor in the grape industry.
Since the demand and price for grapes depend very largely on the kind of wine to be made, it is necessary to characterize the wines made in America. Wine, it should be said, is the product of alcoholic fermentation of the grape. Alcoholic fermentations made from other fruits are not, strictly speaking, wines. Natural wines are divided into three broad groups; dry, sweet and sparkling wines. Dry wines are those in which sugar has been eliminated by fermentation; sweet wines those in which sufficient sugar remains to give a sweet taste; and sparkling wines are those which contain sufficient carbonic acid gas to give a pressure of several atmospheres in the bottle. The carbonic acid gas is produced in sparkling wines by fermentation in the bottle of a dry wine.
The color in these three classes of wine may be red or white, depending on whether or not the color is extracted from the skins in the process of fermentation. To make red wine, of course, the grapes to be fermented must have red coloring matter in skin or juice or both. Each of these groups of wine includes a very large number of kinds distinguished by the name of the region, the locality or the name of the vineyard in which a wine is made. Wines are still further distinguished according to the year of the vintage.
There are four distinct stages in the making of wine after the grapes are grown. The first is the harvesting of the grapes when they have reached the proper stage of maturity, which is known as "wine-making ripeness." This stage of ripeness is determined by means of a must-scale or saccharometer. The wine-maker squeezes the juice from a number of bunches of grapes into a receptacle into which he drops the must-scale, whereupon the sugar-content of the juice is indicated on the scale, determining whether the proper stage of ripeness has been reached. Suitable varieties of grapes having been grown, it is necessary that they be permitted to hang on the vine until the proper degree of ripeness is developed, after which they are delivered at the winery as free as possible from injury or decay.
The second stage is the preparation of the grapes for fermentation. The grapes are weighed on arriving at the winery and are then conveyed either by hand or more often by a mechanical conveyor to the hopper or crusher. The ancient method of crushing, which still prevails in some parts of Europe, was to tramp the grapes with bare feet or wooden shoes. Tramping has been superseded by mechanical crushers which break the skin but do not crush the seeds. The best mechanical crushers consist of two-grooved revolving cylinders. As the grapes pass through the crusher, they fall into the stemmer, a machine which tears off the stems, discharging them at one end, while the seeds, skins, pulp and juice pass through the bottom to the presses usually on the floor below. There are several types of wine-presses, all of which, however, are modifications of screw, hydraulic or knuckle-joint power. In large wineries, the hydraulic press has almost driven out the other two forms of power and when great quantities of grapes must be handled a number of hydraulic presses are usually in operation. The grape pomace is built up into a "cheese" by the use of cloths and racks variously arranged. The "cheese" is then put under heavy pressure from which the juice or "must" is quickly extracted.
The third stage is fermentation. The "must" is carried from the press into open tanks or vats which hold from 500 to 5000 gallons or even more. The yeast cells which cause fermentation may be introduced naturally on the skins of the grapes; or in many modern wineries the "must" is sterilized to rid it of undesirable micro-organisms and a "starter" of "wine-yeast" is added to start the fermentation. Yeast organisms attack the sugar and must, breaking it up into alcohol and carbonic acid gas, the latter passing off as it is formed. When active fermentation ceases, the new wine is drawn from the pomace and is put into closed casks or tanks where it undergoes a secondary fermentation, much sediment settling at the bottom of the cask. To rid the new wine of this sediment, it must be drawn off into clean casks, an operation called "racking." The first racking usually takes place within a month or six weeks. A second racking is necessary at the end of the winter and a third is desirable in the summer or fall.
The fourth stage is the aging of the wine. Before aging begins, however, the wine usually must be rendered perfectly clear and bright by "fining." The materials used in fining are isinglass, white of egg or gelatine. These, introduced into the wine, cause undissolved matters to precipitate. The wine is now ready for bottling or consumption. Most wines acquire a more desirable flavor through "aging," a slow oxidation in the bottles.
When champagne wines have gone through their first fermentation, they are racked off into casks to age until their quality can be ascertained, after which a blend of several different wines is made. This blend is called the "cuvee." The cuvee is bottled and a second fermentation starts. The bottles are now put in cool cellars, corded in horizontal layers with thin strips of wood between each layer of bottles. The champagne in this stage is said to be in "tirage." The carbonic acid gas generated at this second fermentation is confined in the bottles and absorbed by the wine. When the bottle is uncorked, the gas, seeking to escape, produces the sparkling effect desirable in sparkling wines. After the wine has been in tirage for one or two years, the bottles are placed in A-shaped racks, the neck of the bottle pointing downward so that the sediment formed during fermentation drops to the cork. To further the settling of the sediment, workmen turn or shake each bottle daily for a period of one to three months. The bottles are then taken to the finishing room, cork down and the wine is "disgorged." Disgorging is accomplished by freezing a small quantity of wine in the neck of the bottle containing the sediment, after which the cork is removed and with it the frozen sediment. The bottle is refilled, recorked, wired, capped, and the champagne is ready for shipment.
The wine-making season the world over is known as the "vintage." The time at which the vintage begins depends, of course, on the region, the variety of grapes, the growing season and the location of the vineyard. Its duration, also, depends on these same factors. The season is usually lengthened by the fact that wine-makers require for their purposes a number of varieties of grapes which ripen at different times. Before or during the vintage, representatives of wine cellars usually make contracts for the number of tons of grapes required at a certain price a ton.
The notion prevails that grapes for wine and grape-juice need not be first-class. This is far from the truth. To make good wine the grapes must be carefully harvested, transported with as little injury as possible and must be protected from dirt, mold and fermentation before reaching the winery. European vintagers maintain that grapes picked at sunrise produce the lightest and most limped wines and yield more juice. They say, also, that the grapes should not be gathered in the heat of the day because fermentation sets in at once. These niceties are not observed in America.
Prices paid for wine grapes.
Supply and demand regulate the price paid for wine grapes. There is always demand for good wine grapes, although a poor product often goes begging for market. In the East, the highest prices are paid for the grapes used in making champagne. The champagne region of the East is confined to a few localities along Lake Erie and to western New York about Keuka Lake, where the industry is most largely developed. The varieties used in champagne-making in the East are Delaware, Catawba, Elvira, Dutchess, Iona, Diamond and a few other sorts. Prices differ with the many conditions affecting the grape and champagne industries, perhaps the average price for Catawba, the grape chiefly used in making champagne in this region, being from $40 to $50 a ton. Choicer grapes, as Delaware, Iona and Dutchess, often sell from $75 to $100 a ton. Concords are sometimes utilized in making dry wines in the eastern states, $30 or $40 a ton being the average price. Ives and Norton are much used for red wines and sell for top prices.
Wine-makers in the East are at a disadvantage in producing wines other than champagne, since the price paid on the Pacific slope for wine grapes is much lower; Grapes for sweet wine in California often sell as low as $6 or $7 a ton, the average price being $10 or $12. Grapes for dry wines, such as Zinfandel and Burger, bring on the Pacific coast from $10 to $12 a ton. Choice varieties of grapes in this region, such as Cabernet, Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Riesling, bring from $22 to $24. The eastern wine-makers, however, have the advantage of being close to the largest and best markets in the country. Wines made in the East are very different from those made in California and supply a different market.
A few years ago most of the Muscadine grapes grown in the South were used for wine-making. From these grapes wine has been made since colonial times, and for a century there have been some large vineyards of Muscadine grapes in the South from which wine was made in a commercial way. Since Muscadine grapes do not sell well in the markets in competition with the grapes of the North or the Pacific slope, the Muscadine grape industry has been dependent on the wine industry of the section in which the fruit is produced. The growth of prohibition in the South, however, has driven the wine industry to the North and West and there is now little wine manufactured from Muscadine grapes in the South, although some grapes are shipped North for wine-making. The wine made from these grapes is very distinct in flavor and on that account a special trade has been developed for it. It is possible that this special trade will keep up the demand for Muscadine wine so that some part of the crop may be shipped to wine-making states to supply this demand.
When properly made, grape-juice is the undiluted, unsweetened, unfermented juice of the grape and contains no preservatives, fermentation being prevented by sterilization with heat. The product is as ancient as wine, and, therefore, as the cultivation of the vine, for all wine-making peoples have used new wine or grape-juice as a beverage. For centuries physicians in wine-making countries have prescribed grape-juice as it comes from the wine-press for certain maladies, the treatment constituting an essential part of the grape-cures of European countries. The process of making an unfermented grape-juice that will keep from season to season as an article of commerce is, however, a modern invention, and is the outcome of the discoveries of the last half century regarding the control of the agents of fermentation.
The manufacture of commercial grape-juice in America, to which country the industry is confined, began as a home practice following the fundamental processes of canning fruit. Toward the close of the last century, several inventive minds discovered methods of making a commercial product and began developing markets for their wares. The beginning of the present century found the new industry in full swing, since which time its growth has been truly marvelous. In 1900 the amount of grape-juice made in the United States was so small as to be negligible in the census report of that year. By 1910, the annual output had reached for the whole country over 1,500,000 gallons and at present writing, 1918, it is well above 3,500,000 gallons per annum. The manufacture of grape-juice is no longer a home industry but a great commercial enterprise. It is an industry closely associated with grape-growing, however, and as such needs further consideration here.
The manufacture of grape-juice is centered in the Chautauqua grape-belt in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio. So far, the demand seems to be almost wholly for juices made from native grapes, the juice of European grapes grown on the Pacific slope being so sweet as to be insipid. Possibly 80 per cent of the grape-juice now manufactured in America comes from a single variety, the Concord. There can be no question, however, but that sooner or later grape-juices of distinct qualities will be made from many varieties of grapes, thus giving wider sale and greater variation for the product. A very good sparkling grape-juice is now on the market and its reception seems to promise a great increase in the production of an article that closely simulates champagne in color and sparkling vivacity, but not, of course, in taste, since it contains no alcohol. The grape-juice industry has been started and is in a flourishing condition in several other grape regions than the Chautauqua belt which is now its center. There are factories at Sandusky, Ohio, using grapes grown in the Kelly Island district; in southwestern Michigan there are several factories; and the industry still survives at Vineland, New Jersey, which probably should be called the original home of the manufacture of grape-juice. In the South, some grape-juice is made from Muscadine grapes, but this product seems not as yet to have been well received in the markets.
Commercial methods of making grape-juice.
There is at present a great diversity of methods and of apparatus employed in the grape-juice manufacturing plants throughout the country. Since the industry is in its infancy, and the attempt has been made to hold some of the methods as trade secrets, the diversity of methods and appliances is not to be wondered at. No doubt there will be greater uniformity of method and machinery and, therefore, greater efficiency, as the industry develops.
Husmann gives the following account of the manufacture of grape-juice in the eastern states and in California:
"Sound, ripe, but not over-ripe, grapes are used. These are first crushed or, in case the stems are to be removed, are run through a combined stemmer and crusher. If the machinery is stationed high enough, the crushed fruit can be run through chutes directly into the presses or kettles; otherwise, it must be pumped into them by means of a pomace or must pump or carried in pomace carts or tubs.
"If a white or light colored juice is desired, the crushed grapes are first pressed, the juice which comes from the press being heated to about 165 deg. F., skimmed, run through a pasteurizer at a temperature of between 175 deg. and 200 deg. F. into well-sterilized containers, and then placed in storage.
"If a colored juice is desired, the crushed grapes are heated immediately, usually in aluminum kettles having double bottoms, which prevent the steam from coming in contact with the contents. These kettles usually contain revolving cylinders, the arms of which keep the crushed grapes thoroughly stirred while they are being heated to about 140 deg. F. The simultaneous heating and stirring help to extract the coloring matter from the skins, tear the cells of the berries, increase the quantity of juice obtained per ton of fruit, and give to the must many ingredients of red wine, with the substitution of grape sugar for alcohol of the wine.
"The aluminum kettles are filled and emptied in rotation, thereby making continuous manipulation possible. The presses should be situated below the kettles, so that the hot juice can be drained directly into them. The expressed juice is then reheated to about 165 deg. F., skimmed, and run through the pasteurizer in the same manner in which the white juice is handled. The juice passes from the pasteurizer while still hot (about 160 deg. F.) into the container, which should be sealed immediately. The lower the temperature (above the freezing point) at which these containers are then stored, the less is the danger of fermentation and the more rapidly the juice will clear and deposit its sediment.
"The ordinary receptacles in which the juice is stored are 5-gallon demijohns, 20-gallon carboys, or clean, new barrels or puncheons, well washed and drained. All containers should be thoroughly sterilized before they are filled, and the covers, corks, bungs, cloths, etc., used in sealing them should be scrupulously clean and carefully sterilized. If barrels or puncheons are used as containers, they are placed on skids and firmly wedged to prevent movement. As the juice cools, air laden with fermentation germs is apt to be drawn into the barrels by the decrease in the volume of the liquid. In order to prevent this, tight air-filtering plugs of sterilized cotton are sometimes used instead of the ordinary bungs of solid wood.
"The type of pasteurizer differs in almost every establishment. As the industry is of comparatively recent development commercially, there are few models on the market and each manufacturer has constructed the model best suited to his particular ideas or requirements. There are two general types, however, (1) open, double-bottomed kettles in which the juice is heated to the required temperature and then drawn off, and (2) continuous pasteurizers in which the juice is heated to the required temperature as it passes through the water bath.
"The presses also show great variation in different establishments, either hydraulic, screw or lever power being used, and there is a marked difference between the types of pomace containers. Sometimes the crushed grapes are heaped on burlap cloths the sides of which are folded in, and these burlaps are placed one on top of the other in the press; sometimes press baskets take the place of these burlaps.
"The manufacturers in California and those in the grape-growing regions of the Rocky Mountains seem to have adopted entirely different methods of handling the juice after it is first pasteurized and stored. Most of the eastern juices are red and are obtained from the Labrusca varieties, generally the Concord. When the juice comes from the presses, some manufacturers strain it to remove the coarse particles and then pour it directly into well-sterilized bottles; others siphon it off the sediment in the containers in which it is stored after the first pasteurization and pour it into pasteurized bottles. In either case, the bottles are securely corked and then repasteurized. The California juices, however, both red and white, are made exclusively from Vinifera varieties. They are allowed to settle in the original containers and are siphoned out of these and carefully filtered to make them clear and bright.
"The clearing of the juice is sometimes facilitated by fining or adding a small quantity of a substance which coagulates and when settling carries down with it the solid matters causing cloudiness in the liquid. Such finings may be applied at the time of the first pasteurization or just before the final filtration and bottling. In the latter case the juice is drawn off the settlings in containers, the finings are added, and the juice again pasteurized into other receptacles. When it clears, it is either bottled directly or first passed through a filter, drawn into carefully sterilized bottles, securely corked, and then repasteurized. Care must be taken that the final sterilization is not at a higher temperature than the previous one; otherwise, solid matter may be precipitated and the must clouded again.
"A simple and efficient form of sterilizer consists of a wooden trough provided with a wooden grating which is raised 2 inches from the bottom and on which rest the filled bottles in wire baskets. The trough contains enough water to submerge the bottles and is kept at a temperature of 185 deg. F. by means of a steam coil beneath the grating. It requires about 15 minutes for the must at the bottom of the bottles to reach that temperature; for packages of other sizes it is necessary to make a test with a thermometer in order to determine how long it takes for the entire contents to reach 185 deg..
"To prevent the corks from being expelled during sterilization, they are either tied down with a strong twine or with some contrivance such as the cork holder. In order that mold germs may not enter the must through the corks, especially if a poor quality of cork is used, the necks of the corked bottles are dipped in heated paraffin before putting on the caps, or the corks are sealed down with sealing wax. It is also well to keep the bottles on their rider to prevent the corks drying out."
Home methods of making grape-juice.
The principles involved in making grape-juice in the home are the same as those used in canning. The grapes may be crushed by hand or in mills similar or identical with the small cider-mills owned by many farmers. In making a light-colored juice, the crushed grapes are put in a cloth sack and hung up to drain, or the filled sack may be twisted by two persons until the greater part of the juice is expressed. The juice is then sterilized in a double-boiler by heating it at a temperature of 180 deg. to 200 deg. F., care being taken that the thermometer never goes above 200 deg.. The sterilized juice is now poured into a glass or enameled vessel to stand for twenty-four hours, after which it is drained from the sediment and strained through several thicknesses of clean flannel. The juice is now put in clean bottles preparatory to a second sterilization, care being taken that at least an inch of space is left at the top for the liquid to expand when heated. The second sterilization may be conducted in a wash-boiler or similar receptacle. The filled bottles must not rest on the bottom of the boiler but should be separated from it with a thin board. The boiler is filled with water up to within an inch of the tops of the bottles and heated until the water begins to boil. The bottles should then be taken out and corked immediately, using only new corks. After corking, the bottles are further sealed by dipping the corks in melted paraffin. A cheap corking machine is a great convenience in this work, and in any case the corks should be soaked for at least a half hour in warm but not boiling water.
The process varies somewhat in the making of red grape-juice. The crushed grapes are heated to a temperature of 200 deg. F., and are then strained through a drip bag without pressure, after which the liquid is set away in glass or enamel vessels to settle for twenty-four hours. Except for this difference in the preliminary treatment of the juice, the methods are the same in making the red or the light-colored product. For proper keeping it is not necessary to let the juice settle after it is strained, but a clearer and brighter product is obtained if the juice is permitted to settle. In either case the grape-juice should keep indefinitely if the work has been well done. As soon as bottles are opened, fermentation begins with the formation of alcohol.