Manual of American Grape-Growing
by U. P. Hedrick
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Setup and electrotyped. Published June, 1919.

Norwood Press J. S. Cushing Co.—Berwick & Smith Co. Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.


Seventy-nine books on grapes enrich the pomology of North America, not counting numerous state and national publications. Pomological writers in America have been partial to the grape, for other fruits do not fare nearly so well. Twenty-two books are devoted to the strawberry, fourteen to the apple, to the peach nine, cranberry eight, plum five, pear nine, quince two, loganberry one, while the cherry, raspberry, and blackberry are not once separated from other fruits in special books. Thus, though a comparative newcomer among the fruits of the country, the grape has been singled out for a treatise more times than all other fruits of temperate climates combined—seventy-nine books on the grape, seventy on all other fruits.

This statement of partiality does not lead to an apology for a new book on the grape. There is urgent need for a new book. But three of the seventy-nine treatises on this fruit are contemporary, and all but one, a handbook on training, are records from vanished minds. Methods change so rapidly and varieties multiply so fast, that to keep pace there must be new books on fruits every few years. Besides, the types of grapes are so diverse, and different soils, climates, and treatments produce such widely dissimilar results, that many books are required to do justice to this fruit—the vineyard should be seen through many eyes.

Commercial grape-growing is now a great industry in America, and deserves a treatise or its own. But there are also many demands for information on grape-growing by those who grow fruits for pleasure, especially by those who are escaping from cities to suburban homes, for the grape is a favorite fruit of the amateur. And so, though Pleasure and Profit are a hard team to drive together, this manual is written for both commercial and amateur grape-growers.

In particular, the needs of the amateur are recognized in the chapter on varieties, where many sorts are described which have little or no commercial value. No other fruit offers the enchantment of novelty to be found in the grape. Alluring flavors, sizes, and colors abound, of which the amateur wants samples. The commercial grower who plants but one variety often finds himself dissatisfied with the humdrum of the business. He should emulate the amateur and plant more kinds, if only for pleasure, remembering the adage, "No profit grows where is no pleasure ta'en." Greater pleasure in grape-growing, then, is offered as the justification of the long chapter on varieties.

At the risk of too broad spreading, the author discusses, in a book mainly devoted to native grapes, the culture of European grapes in the far West. The chief aim is, of course, to set forth information that will be helpful to growers of these grapes in the western states, there being no treatises to which western growers can refer, other than bulletins from state and national agricultural institutions. There is, however, another reason for attempting to cover the whole field of grape-growing in America. It is certain that eastern grape-growers will sometime grow European grapes. Western vineyards might well be enlarged with plantings of native grapes. On the supposition, then, that the culture of both European and native grapes is to become less and less restricted in America, the author has ventured to discuss the culture of all grapes for all parts of North America.

In the preparation of this manual, the author's "The Grapes of New York," a book long out of print and never widely distributed, has been laid under heavy contribution, especially in the description of varieties. Acknowledgments are due to F. Z. Hartzell for reading the chapter on Grape Pests and their Control and for furnishing most of the photographs used in making illustrations of insects and fungi; to F. E. Gladwin for similar help in preparing the two chapters on pruning and training the grape in eastern America; to Frederic T. Bioletti for permission to republish from a bulletin written by him from the Agricultural Experiment Station of California almost the whole chapter on Grape Pruning on the Pacific Slope; and to O. M. Taylor and to R. D. Anthony for very material assistance in reading the manuscript and proofs.


GENEVA, N. Y., Jan. 1, 1919.
























I. Two views of vineyards in California; a vineyard in the orchard region of central California, and a vineyard in southern California 14

II. Fitting the land for planting 34

III. Cover-crop; cow-horn turnips, and rye 48

IV. A well-tilled vineyard of Concords 60

V. Vinifera grapes grown out of doors in New York; Malvasia and Chasselas Golden 72

VI. Black Hamburg 82

VII. Barry. Delaware 96

VIII. Brighton 106

IX. Campbell Early 114

X. Clinton 122

XI. Concord 138

XII. Diana 148

XIII. Dutchess 164

XIV. Eaton 182

XV. Eclipse 190

XVI. Elvira 202

XVII. Empire State 218

XVIII. Herbert 228

XIX. Iona 248

XX. Isabella 272

XXI. Jefferson 282

XXII. Lindley. Lucile 298

XXIII. Lutie. Pocklington 328

XXIV. Moore Early 340

XXV. Muscat Hamburg 350

XXVI. Niagara 360

XXVII. Salem 370

XXVIII. Triumph 380

XXIX. Vergennes 390

XXX. Winchell 400

XXXI. Worden 416

XXXII. Wyoming 432



1. A shoot of Vitis vinifera 3

2. A shoot of Vitis Labrusca 6

3. A shoot of Vitis rotundifolia 10

4. A shoot of Vitis aestivalis 12

5. A shoot of Vitis vulpina 14

6. Planting cuttings 40

7. A cutting beginning growth 40

8. Cutting off the trunk 46

9. Cutting the cleft 47

10. Inserting the cion 47

11. The completed graft 47

12. Bench-grafted cuttings of grape, showing the cleft-graft and the whip-graft. (Adapted from Husmann) 51

13. Vine ready for pruning 113

14. A "go-devil" for collecting prunings 119

15. A trellis and a common method of bracing end posts 120

16. Chautauqua training; vine ready to prune 127

17. Keuka method of training 130

18. Single-stem four-cane Kniffin training 133

19. Umbrella method of training 134

20. Two-trunk Kniffin training 135

21. Rotundifolia vines trained by the overhead method 144

22. A Rotundifolia vine trained by the 6-arm renewal method 145

23. Forms of head pruning 154

24. Forms of head pruning 155

25. Head pruning: fan-shaped head; fruit canes tied to horizontal trellis 156

26. Single vertical cordon with fruit-spurs 157

27. Unilateral horizontal cordon with fruit-spurs 158

28. Three-year-old vine ready for pruning 169

29. Vine of Fig. 28 after pruning for vase-formed head 169

30. Three-year-old vines: A, pruned for a vase-formed, and B, for a fan-shaped head 170

31. Four-year-old vine pruned for vase-formed head 171

32. Four-year-old vine pruned for high vase-formed head 172

33. Fan-shaped vines: A, before pruning; B, after pruning 173

34. Vertical cordon, young vine pruned 176

35. Unilateral horizontal cordon with half-long pruning 177

36. Leaf-galls of the phylloxera 205

37. The grape root-worm 207

38. Root-worm beetle 207

39. Injuries caused by beetles of the grape root-worm 207

40. Eggs of grape-vine flea-beetle 209

41. First four stages of the grape leaf-hopper 212

42. The fifth and the mature stages of the grape leaf-hopper 212

43. A bunch of grapes despoiled by the grape-berry moth 214

44. Work of black-rot of the grape 219

45. Grapes attacked by downy-mildew 221

46. Packing grapes on a packing-table 234

47. Climax baskets in two sizes 236

48. William Robert Prince 274

49. E. S. Rogers 275

50. T. V. Munson 277

51. Staminate and perfect flower clusters on one vine 285

52. Ringing grape-vines; showing tools for ringing and ringed vines 292

53. A grape flower; showing the opening cap and stamens 305

54. Grape flowers; showing upright and depressed stamens 306




The domestication of an animal or a plant is a milestone in the advance of agriculture and so becomes of interest to every human being. But, more particularly, the materials, the events and the men who direct the work of domestication are of interest to those who breed and care for animals and plants; the grape-grower should find much profit in the story of the domestication of the grape. What was the raw material of a fruit known since the beginning of agriculture and wherever temperate fruits are grown? How has this material been fashioned into use? Who were the originative and who the directive agents? These are fundamental questions in the improvement of the grape, answers to which will also throw much light on the culture of it.

Botanists number from forty to sixty species of grapes in the world. These are widely distributed in the northern hemisphere, all but a few being found in temperate countries. Thus, more than half of the named species come from the United States and Canada, while nearly all of the others are from China and Japan, with but one species certainly growing wild in southwestern Asia and bordering parts of Europe. All true grapes have more or less edible fruits, and of the twenty or more species grown in the New World more than half have been or are being domesticated. Of the Old World grapes, only one species is cultivated for fruit, but this, of all grapes, is of greatest economic importance and, therefore, deserves first consideration.


The European grape, Vitis vinifera (Fig. 1), is the grape of ancient and modern agriculture. It is the vine which Noah planted after the Deluge; the vine of Israel and of the Promised Land; the vine of the parables in the New Testament. It is the grape and the vine of the myths, fables, poetry and prose of all peoples. It is the grape from which the wines of the world are made. From it come the raisins of the world. It is the chief agricultural crop of southern Europe and northern Africa and of vast regions in other parts of the world, having followed civilized man from place to place in all temperate climates. The European grape has so impressed itself on the human mind that when one thinks or speaks of the grape, or of the vine, it is this Old World species, the vine of antiquity, that presents itself.

The written records of the cultivation of the European grape go back five or six thousand years. The ancient Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans grew the vine and made wine from its fruit. Grape seeds have been found in the remains of European peoples of prehistoric times, showing that primitive men enlivened their scanty fare with wild grapes. Cultivation of the grape in the Old World probably began in the region about the Caspian Sea where the vine has always run wild. We have proof of the great antiquity of the grape in Egypt, for its seeds are found entombed with the oldest mummies. Probably the Phoenicians, the earliest navigators on the Mediterranean, carried the grape from Egypt and Syria to Greece, Rome and other countries bordering on this sea. The domestication of the grape was far advanced in Christ's time, for Pliny, writing then, describes ninety-one kinds of grapes and fifty kinds of wine.

It can never be known exactly when the European grape came under cultivation. There is no word as to what were the methods and processes of domestication, and whose the minds and hands that remodeled the wild grape of Europe into the grape of the vineyards. The Old World grape was domesticated long before the faint traditions which have been transmitted to our day could possibly have arisen. For knowledge of how wild species of this fruit have been and may be brought under cultivation, we must turn to New World records.


Few other plants in the New World grow wild under such varied conditions and over such extended areas as the grape. Wild grapes are found in the warmer parts of New Brunswick; on the shores of the Great Lakes; everywhere in the woodlands of the North and Middle Atlantic states; on the limestone soils of Kentucky, Tennessee and the Virginias; and they thrive in the sandy woods, sea plains and reef-keys of the South Atlantic and Gulf states. While not so common west of the Mississippi, yet some kind of wild grape is found from North Dakota to Texas; grapes grow on the mountains and in the canons of all the Rocky Mountain states; and several species thrive on the Mexican borders and in the far Southwest.

While it is possible that all American grapes have descended from an original species, the types are now as diverse as the regions they inhabit. The wild grapes of the forests have long slender trunks and branches, whereby their leaves are better exposed to the sunlight. Two shrubby species do not attain a greater height than four or five feet; these grow in sandy soils, or among rocks exposed to sun and air. Another runs on the ground and bears foliage almost evergreen. The stem of one species attains a diameter of a foot, bearing its foliage in a great canopy. From this giant form the species vary to slender, graceful, climbing vines. Wild grapes are as varied in climatic adaptations as in structure of vine and grow luxuriantly in every condition of heat or cold, wetness or dryness, capable of supporting fruit-culture in America. So many of the kinds have horticultural possibilities that it seems certain that some grape can be domesticated in all of the agricultural regions of the country, their natural plasticity indicating, even if it were not known from experience, that all can be domesticated.

Leif the Lucky, the first European to visit America, if the Icelandic records are true, christened the new land Wineland. It has been supposed that this designation was given for the grapes, but recent investigations show that the fruits were probably mountain cranberries. Captain John Hawkins, who visited the Spanish settlements in Florida in 1565, mentions wild grapes among the resources of the New World. Amadas and Barlowe, sent out by Raleigh in 1584, describe the coasts of the Carolinas as, "so full of grapes that in all the world like abundance cannot be found." Captain John Smith, writing in 1606, describes the grapes of Virginia and recommends the culture of the vine as an industry for the newly founded colony. Few, indeed, are the explorers of the Atlantic seaboard who do not mention grapes among the plants of the country. Yet none saw intrinsic value in these wild vines. To the Europeans, the grapes of the Old World alone were worth cultivating, and the vines growing everywhere in America only suggested that the grape they had known across the sea might be grown in the new home.

That American viticulture must depend on the native species for its varieties began to be recognized at the beginning of the nineteenth century, when several large companies engaged in growing foreign grapes failed, and a meritorious native grape made its appearance. The vine of promise was a variety known as the Alexander. Thomas Jefferson, ever alert for the agricultural welfare of the nation, writing in 1809 to John Adlum, one of the first experimenters with an American species, voiced the sentiment of grape experimenters in speaking of the Alexander: "I think it will be well to push the culture of this grape without losing time and efforts in the search of foreign vines, which it will take centuries to adapt to our soil and climate."

Alexander is an offshoot of the common fox-grape, Vitis Labrusca (Fig. 2), found in the woods on the Atlantic coast from Maine to Georgia and occasionally in the Mississippi Valley. The history of the variety dates back to before the Revolutionary War, when, according to William Bartram, the Quaker botanist, it was found growing in the vicinity of Philadelphia, by John Alexander, gardener to Governor Penn of Pennsylvania. Curiously enough, it came into general cultivation through the deception of a nurseryman. Peter Legaux, a French-American grape-grower, in 1801 sold the Kentucky Vineyard Society fifteen hundred grape cuttings which he said had been taken from an European grape introduced from the Cape of Good Hope, therefore called the "Cape" grape. Legaux's grape turned out to be the Alexander. In the new home the spurious Cape grew wonderfully well and as the knowledge of its fruitfulness in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana spread, demand for it increased, and with remarkable rapidity, considering the time, it came into general cultivation in the parts of the United States then settled.

The Labrusca or fox-grapes.

Of the several species of American grapes now under cultivation, the Labrusca, first represented by the Alexander, has furnished more cultivated varieties than all the other American species together, no less than five hundred of its varieties having been grown in the vineyards of the country. There are several reasons why it is the most generally cultivated species. It is native to the parts of the United States in which agriculture soonest advanced to a state where fruits were desired. In the wild, the Labruscas are the most attractive, being largest and handsomest in color; among all grapes it alone shows black-, white- and red-fruited forms on wild vines. There is a northern and a southern form of the species, and its varieties are, therefore, widely adapted to climates and to soils. The flavor of the fruits of this species, all things considered, is rather better than that of any other of our wild grapes, though the skins in most of its varieties have a peculiar aroma, somewhat pronounced in the well-known Concord, Niagara and Worden, which is disagreeable to tastes accustomed to the pure flavors of the European grapes. All Labruscas submit well to vineyard operations and are vigorous, hardy and productive, though they are more subject to the dreaded phylloxera than are most of the other cultivated native species. Of the many grapes of this type, at least two deserve brief historical mention.

Catawba, probably a pure-bred Labrusca, the first American grape of commercial importance, is the most interesting variety of its species. The origin of the variety is not certainly known, but all evidence points to its having been found about the year 1800 on the banks of the Catawba River, North Carolina. It was introduced into general cultivation by Major John Adlum, soldier of the Revolution, judge, surveyor and author of the first American book on grapes. Adlum maintained an experimental vineyard in the District of Columbia, whence in 1823 he began the distribution of the Catawba. At that time the center of American grape culture was about Cincinnati, and an early shipment of Adlum's Catawbas went to Nicholas Longworth of that city and was by him distributed throughout the grape-growing centers of the country. As one of the first to test new varieties of American grapes, to grow them largely and to make wine commercially from them, Nicholas Longworth is known as the "father of American grape culture."

Catawba is still one of the four leading varieties in the vineyards of eastern America. The characters whereby its high place is maintained among grapes are: Great elasticity of constitution, by reason of which the vine is adapted to many environments; rich flavor, long-keeping quality, and handsome appearance of fruit, qualities which make it a very good dessert grape; high sugar-content and a rich flavor of juice, so that from its fruit is made a very good wine and a very good grape-juice; and vigor, hardiness and productiveness of vine. The characters of Catawba are readily transmissible, and it has many pure-bred or hybrid offspring which more or less resemble it.

The second commercial grape of importance in American viticulture is Concord, which came from the seed of a wild grape planted in the fall of 1843 by Ephraim W. Bull, Concord, Massachusetts. The new variety was disseminated in the spring of 1854, and from the time of its introduction the spread of its culture was phenomenal. By 1860 it was the leading grape in America and it so remains. Concord furnishes, with the varieties that have sprung from it, seventy-five per cent of the grapes grown in eastern America. The characters which distinguish the vine are: Adaptability to various soils, fruitfulness, hardiness and resistance to diseases and insects. The fruits are distinguished by certainty of maturity, attractive appearance, good but not high flavor, and by the fact that they may be produced so cheaply that no other grape can compete with this variety in the markets. Concord is, as Horace Greeley well denominated it in awarding the Greeley prize for the best American grape, "the grape for the millions."

The histories of these two grapes are typical of those of five hundred or more other Labruscas. Out of a prodigious number of native seedlings, an occasional one is found greatly to excel its fellows and is brought under cultivation.

The Rotundifolia or Muscadine grapes.

Long before the northern Labruscas had attained prominence in the vineyards of the North, a grape had been domesticated partially in the South. It is Vitis rotundifolia (Fig. 3), a species which runs riot from the Potomac to the Gulf, thriving in many diverse soils, but growing only in the southern climate and preferring the seacoast. Rotundifolia grapes have been cultivated somewhat for fruit or ornament from the earliest colonial times. It is certain that wine was made from this species by the English settlers at Jamestown. Vines of it are now to be found on arbors, in gardens or half wild on fences in nearly every farm in the South Atlantic states. That the Rotundifolias have not been more generally brought under cultivation is due to the bountifulness of the wild vines, which has obviated the necessity of domesticating them. The fruit of its varieties, to a palate unaccustomed to them, is not very acceptable, having a musky flavor and odor and a sweet, juicy pulp, which is lacking in sprightliness. Many, however, acquire a taste for these grapes and find them pleasant eating. The great defect of this grape is that the berries part from the pedicels as they ripen and perfect bunches cannot be secured. In fact, the crop is often harvested by shaking the vines so that the berries drop on sheets beneath. Despite these defects, a score or more varieties of this species are now under general cultivation in the cotton-belt, and interest in their domestication is now greater than in any other species, with great promise for the future.

The AEstivalis or summer-grapes.

The South has another grape of remarkable horticultural possibilities. This is Vitis aestivalis (Fig. 4), the summer-grape or, to distinguish it from the Rotundifolias, the bunch-grape of southern forests. There are now a score or more well-known varieties of this species, the best known being Norton, which probably originated with Dr. D. N. Norton, Richmond, Virginia, in the early part of the nineteenth century. The berries of the true AEstivalis grapes are too small, too destitute of pulp and too tart to make good dessert fruits, but from them are made our best native red wines. Domestication of this species has been greatly retarded by a peculiarity of the species which hinders its propagation. Grapes are best propagated from cuttings, but this species is not easily reproduced by this means and the difficulty of securing good young vines has been a serious handicap in its culture.

There are two subspecies of Vitis aestivalis which promise much for American viticulture. Vitis aestivalis Bourquiniana, known only under cultivation and of very doubtful botanical standing, furnishes American viticulture several valuable varieties. Chief of these is the Delaware, the introduction of which sixty years ago from the town of Delaware, Ohio, raised the standard in quality of New World grapes to that of Old World. No European grape has a richer or more delicate flavor, or a more pleasing aroma, than Delaware. While a northern grape, it can be grown in the South, and thrives under so many different climatic and soil conditions and under all is so fruitful, that, next to the Concord, it is the most popular American grape for garden and vineyard. Without question, however, Delaware contains a trace of European blood.

Another offshoot of this subspecies is Herbemont, which, in the South, holds the same rank that Concord holds in the North. The variety is grown only south of the Ohio, and in this great region it is esteemed by all for a dessert grape and for its light red wine. It is one of the few American varieties which finds favor in France, being cultivated in southwest France as a wine-grape. Its history goes back to a colony of French Huguenots in Georgia before the Revolutionary War. Very similar to Herbemont is Lenoir, also with a history tracing back to the French in the Carolinas or Georgia in the eighteenth century.

The other subspecies of Vitis aestivalis is Vitis aestivalis Lincecumii, the post-oak grape of Texas and of the southern part of the Mississippi Valley. Recently this wild grape has been brought under domestication, and from it has been bred a number of most promising varieties for hot and dry regions.

The Vulpina or river-bank grapes.

The North, too, has a wine-grape from which wines nearly equaling those of the southern AEstivalis are made. This is Vitis vulpina (V. riparia), the river-bank grape, a shoot of which is shown in Fig. 5, the most widely distributed of any of the native species. It grows as far north as Quebec, south to the Gulf of Mexico and from the Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains. Fully a century ago, a wine-grape of this species was cultivated under the name Worthington, but the attention of vineyardists was not turned to the Vulpinas until after the middle of the last century, when the qualities of its vines attracted the attention of French viticulturists. Phylloxera had been introduced from America into France and threatened the existence of French vineyards. After trying all possible remedies for the scourge, it was discovered that the insect could be overcome by grafting European grapes on American vines resistant to phylloxera. A trial of the promising species of New World grapes showed that vines of this species were best suited for the reconstruction of French vineyards, the vines being not only resistant to the phylloxera but also vigorous and hardy. At present, a large proportion of the vines of Europe, California and other grape-growing regions are grafted on the roots of this or of other American species, and the viticulture of the world is thus largely dependent on these grapes.

The French found that a number of the Vulpina (Riparia) grapes introduced for their roots were valuable as direct producers for wines. The fruits of this species are too small and too sour for dessert, but they are free from the disagreeable tastes and aromas of some of our native grapes and, therefore, make very good wines. The best known of the varieties of this species is the Clinton, which is generally thought to have originated in the yard of Dr. Noyes, of Hamilton College, Clinton, New York, about 1820. It is, however, probably the Worthington, of which the origin is unknown, renamed. There are possibly a hundred or more grapes now under cultivation wholly or in part from Vulpina, most of them hybrids with the American Labrusca and the European Vinifera, with both of which it hybridizes freely.

Domesticated species of minor importance.

In the preceding paragraphs we have seen that four species of grapes constitute the foundation of American viticulture. Nine other species furnish pure-bred varieties and many hybrids with the four chief species or among themselves. These are V. rupestris, V. Longii, V. Champinii, V. Munsoniana, V. cordifolia, V. candicans, V. bicolor, V. monticola and V. Berlandieri. Several of these nine species are of value in the vineyard or for stocks upon which to graft other grapes. The domestication of all of these is just begun, and each year sees them more and more in use in the vineyards of the country.



Happily, the grape in its great diversity of forms accommodates itself to many conditions, so that some variety of the several cultivated species will produce fruit for home use, if not as a market commodity, in every part of America adapted to general agriculture. But commercial grape-growing on this continent is confined to a few regions, in each of which it is profitable only in ideal situations. In fact, few other agricultural industries are more definitely determined by environment than the grape-industry. Where are the grape regions of America? What determines the suitability of a region for grape-growing? Answers to these questions furnish clews to the culture of this fruit and help in estimating the potentialities of a new region or of a location for grape-growing.


There are four chief grape-growing regions in North America, with possibly twice as many more subsidiary ones. These several regions, each of which has its distinct varieties and to less extent distinct species, and in each of which grapes are grown for somewhat widely different purposes, give a great variety of industrial conditions to the grape-growing of the continent. Nevertheless, the regions have much in common in their environment. It is from their differences and similarities that most can be learned in the brief discussions of the regions that follow.

The Pacific slope.

The Pacific slope takes precedence among the grape regions of the continent, exceeding all others combined in the production of grapes and grape products. California is the viticultural center of this great region, grapes being grown within her bounds from the foot of Mount Shasta on the north to Mexico on the south and from the foothills of the Sierras on the east to the forest that borders the coast on the west. So outlined, California might appear to be one vast vineyard, but it is only in favored valleys, plains and low hills in the territory bounded that the vine is sufficiently well suited to be productive. Outliers of this main region of the Pacific slope run north into Oregon, Washington, Idaho and even into British Columbia, forced more and more eastward the farther north to escape humidity from the ocean which northward passes farther and farther inland. Other outliers of the main region are found eastward in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and even Utah and Colorado, though for the most part in these states grape-growing is still insignificant. Plate I shows typical vineyards in California.

The grapes grown on the Pacific slope are almost exclusively Vinifera varieties, though a few American grapes are planted in the Pacific Northwest. This is not because American varieties cannot be grown, although they succeed rather less well here than on the eastern seaboard, but because the Viniferas are liked better, and climate and soil seem exactly to suit them. Viticulture on the Pacific slope is divided into three interdependent industries which are almost never quite independent of each other—the wine industry, raisin industry and table-grape industry. Each of these industries depends on grapes more or less specially adapted to the product, the special characteristics being secured chiefly through somewhat distinct types of grapes but depending partly on soil and climatic conditions. The manufacture of unfermented grape-juice is not yet a success in this region for the reasons that Vinifera grapes do not make a good unfermented juice, and American grapes are not grown in sufficient quantities to warrant the establishment of grape-juice plants.

Bioletti gives the extent of the grape-growing industry in California as follows:[1]

"The vineyards of California covered in 1912 about 385,000 acres. Of this total, about 180,000 acres were producing wine-grapes. Roughly, 50 per cent of the wine was produced in the great interior valleys, including most of the sweet wines; 35 per cent was produced by the valleys and hillsides of the Coast ranges, including most of the dry wines; the remaining 15 per cent was produced in Southern California and included both sweet and dry.

"The raisin-grape vineyards covered about 130,000 acres, of which about 90 per cent were in the San Joaquin Valley, 7 per cent in the Sacramento, and 3 per cent in Southern California.

"The shipping-grape vineyards are reckoned at 75,000 acres, distributed about as follows: 50 per cent in the Sacramento Valley, 40 per cent in San Joaquin, 6 per cent in Southern California, and 4 per cent in the Coast ranges."

The Chautauqua grape-belt.

The Chautauqua grape-belt, lying along the northeastern shore of Lake Erie in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, is the second most important grape region in America. The "belt" is a narrow strip of lowland averaging about three miles in width, lying between Lake Erie and a high escarpment which bounds the belt on the south throughout its entire length of a hundred or more miles. Here climate and soil seem to be exceptionally favorable for grape-growing. Climate is the chief determinant of the boundaries of this belt, since there are several types of soil upon which grapes do equally well in the region, and when the climate changes at the two extremities of the belt where the escarpment becomes low, or when the distance between the lake and the escarpment is great, grape-growing ceases to be profitable.

The growers of this region are organized into selling associations so that estimates of acreage and yields are obtainable. At present writing, 1918, there are in this belt in New York about 35,000 acres of grapes; in Pennsylvania and Ohio, about 15,000 acres, much the greater part of which is in Pennsylvania. The average yield of grapes to the acre for the region is about two tons. The average total production for the past five years has been about 100,000 tons, of which 65,000 tons are shipped as table-grapes, and 35,000 tons are used in the manufacture of wine and grape-juice. Among varieties, Concord reigns supreme in the Chautauqua belt. The writer, in 1906, made a canvass of the region, vineyard by vineyard, and found that 90 per cent of the acreage of the belt was set to Concord, 3 per cent to Niagara, 2 per cent to Worden and the remaining 5 per cent to a dozen or more varieties of which Moore Early and Delaware led.

The manufacture of grape-juice on a commercial scale began in the Chautauqua belt and most of this product is still produced in the region. Here, only Concord grapes of the best quality are used for grape-juice. The growth of this industry is most significant for the future of grape-growing in the region. Twenty years ago grape-juice was a negligible factor in the grape industry of this region; at present, the annual output is in the neighborhood of 4,000,000 gallons. Grape-juice-makers now determine the price of grapes for the region, and while the quantity used is less than that for table-grapes, the time is not distant when it will be greater.

The Niagara region.

Fifty miles due north of the Chautauqua belt, across the end of Lake Erie and the narrow isthmus of Niagara, is a smaller belt on the southern shore of Lake Ontario so similar in soil, climate and topography that in these respects the two regions might be considered as identical. This is the Niagara region, Canada's chief grape-producing area. It is bounded on the north by Lake Ontario; on the south, at a distance of one to three miles by the high Niagara escarpment; to the east it crosses the Niagara River into New York; and in the west tapers to a point at Hamilton on the westward extremity of Lake Ontario. Here, again, is the influence of climate distinctly manifested. As this belt passes into New York, it widens and the influence of Lake Ontario is less and less felt to the eastward, and in consequence grape-growing becomes less and less profitable.

There were, according to the Ontario Bureau of Industries, in 1914, about 10,850 acres of grapes in the Niagara region in Canada, and possibly 4,000 acres more near the Niagara River and along the shore of Lake Ontario in New York. The Niagara grape originated on the American side of the Niagara region and is here planted more extensively than elsewhere. Grape-growing in this region is similar in all respects to that of the Chautauqua belt, the same varieties and nearly identical methods of pruning, cultivation, spraying and harvesting being employed. The crop is chiefly used as table-grapes but the grape-juice industry is growing.

The Central Lakes region of New York.

In the central part of western New York are several remarkable bodies of water known as the Central Lakes. Three of these are large and deep enough to give ideal climatic conditions for grapes, and about these lakes are grouped several important areas of vineyards, making this the third most important grape region in America. The region assumes further importance because most of the champagne made in America is produced here, and it is the chief center of still wines in eastern America as well. It is further distinguished by its distinctive types of grapes, Catawba and Delaware taking the place of Concord and Niagara, the sorts that usually predominate in eastern grape regions.

The main body of this region lies on the steep slopes of the high lands surrounding Keuka Lake. On the shores of this lake there are, approximately, 15,000 acres of grapes. Adjacent to this main body are several smaller bodies about the neighboring lakes. Thus, at the head of Canandaigua Lake and on its shores are about 2500 acres; near Seneca and between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes there are probably 1500 acres more. In a few specially favored places on other of these Central Lakes, there are possibly 1000 acres, making all told for this region, about 20,000 acres. Again it is climate that sets the seal of approval on the region for viticulture. In addition to the benefits of deep bodies of water, high and sloping lands cause the frosts to cease early in the spring and hold them in abeyance in the autumn, giving an exceptionally long season.

Champagne-making began here about 1860; at present there are a score or more manufacturers of champagne, wine and brandy, the output being annually about 3,000,000 gallons of wine and 2,000,000 bottles of champagne. Recently the manufacture of grape-juice has begun and the industry is now flourishing.

Minor grape regions.

Viticulture is commercially important in several other regions than those outlined. Thus, in the valley of the Hudson River, grapes have been grown commercially for nearly a hundred years, the industry reaching its height between 1880 and 1890, when there were 13,000 acres under cultivation. For some years, however, grape-growing along the Hudson has been on the decline. Another region in which viticulture reaches considerable magnitude is in several islands in Lake Erie near Sandusky, Ohio, the product going largely for the manufacture of wine. At one time grapes were grown commercially on the banks of the Ohio River about Cincinnati and westward into Indiana. The industry here, however, is a thing of the past. Another region in which grape-growing was once of prime importance but now lags has its center at Hermann, Missouri. The newest grape-producing area worthy of note is in southwestern Michigan about the towns of Lawton and Paw Paw. A small but very prosperous grape-growing region has its center at Egg Harbor, New Jersey. Ives is the mainstay among varieties in this region. In the southern states, Muscadine grapes are grown in a small way in every part of the cotton-belt and varieties of other native species are to be found in home vineyards in the upland regions, but nowhere in the South can it be said that grape-growing is a commercial industry.


Climate, soil, site, the surface features of the land, insects, fungi and commercial geography are the chief factors that determine regions for money-making in grape-growing. This has been made plain in the foregoing discussion of grape regions, but the several factors must be taken up in greater detail. To bound the regions is of less importance than to understand why they exist—less needful to remember, more needful to understand. From what has been said, the reader has no doubt already concluded that successful grape-growing is in largest measure due to kindliness in climate.


Under the assumption, then, that climate, of all factors, is chief in playing providence to the grape, let us examine somewhat critically the relations of climate to grape-growing. When analyzed, the essentials of climate, as it governs grape-growing, are found to be six: first, length of season; second, seasonal sum of heat; third, amount of humidity in summer weather; fourth, dates of spring and autumn frosts; fifth, winter temperature; sixth, air currents.

Length of season.

To reach true perfection, each grape variety has a length of season of its own. With each, if it is grown in too low a latitude, the vine is uninterrupted in growth; its leaves tend to become evergreen; and not infrequently it produces at the same time blossoms, green fruits and ripe fruits. This is, of course, the extreme to which grapes pass in the far South. Again, many northern varieties fail where southern grapes succeed because the fruits pass too rapidly from maturity to decay. On the other hand, very often southern grapes are hardy in vine in the North, but the season is not sufficiently long for the fruit to mature and to acquire sufficient sugar to give them good keeping quality, properly to pass through vinous fermentation, or even to make a good unfermented grape-juice. In the uneven topography of this continent, it is not possible to state the range in latitude in which grapes can be cultivated to advantage, for latitude is often set aside by altitude. Thus, isothermal lines, or lines of equal temperature, are much curved in America and do not at all coincide with the parallels of latitude.

Other factors, of course, than length of season enter into the ripening of grapes. The daily range in temperature, not always dependent on latitude, affects ripening. Cool nights may offset warm days and delay ripening. Certainly rains, fogs and humid air delay maturity. The bottom heat of loose, warm, dry gravelly or stony soils hastens maturity. Sunshine secured by a sunny aspect or shelter hastens maturity.

The seasonal sum of heat.

Successful cultivation of the grape depends on a sufficient amount of heat during the summer season. The theory is that buds of the grape commence to start when the mean daily temperature reaches a certain height, and that the sum of the mean daily temperature must reach a certain amount before grapes ripen. Manifestly, this sum must vary much with different varieties, low for the earliest sorts, high for the latest. There have been many observations as to the temperatures at which buds of the grape start growth, so that it is now known that the temperature varies in accordance with locality and degree of maturity. Roughly speaking, grape buds start at temperatures from 50 deg. to 60 deg. F. The seasonal sum of heat for ripening is probably 1600 to 2400 units. A variety ought not to be planted, therefore, in a region in which the average seasonal sum of heat is not sufficiently high. The seasonal sum of heat can be determined for a locality from data published by the United States Weather Bureau; and by comparing with the sum of heat units in localities where a variety is known to thrive, the grape-grower can determine whether there is sufficient heat for any particular variety.

The grape seldom suffers from hot weather in a grape region. The fruit is sometimes scalded in the full blaze of a hot sun, but the ample foliage of the vine usually furnishes protection against a burning sun. At maturing time, the heat of an unclouded sun, if the air circulates freely, insures a finely finished product. Deep planting helps to offset the harmful influences of warm climates.

Humidity of summer weather.

The grape is very sensitive to moisture conditions, and grows best in regions where the summer rainfall is comparatively light. A damp and cloudy summer brings disaster to the vineyard in several ways; as small growth of vine, small set of fruit, a crop of poor quality, and the development of the several fungous diseases. Although the grape stands drought, a superfluity of moisture in the soil may do little harm, as is shown in irrigated vineyards, but a humid air is fatal to success especially if the air is both warm and wet. Moist weather during the time of maturity is particularly disastrous to the grape, as are frequent fogs. Cold wet weather in blooming time is the grape-grower's vernal bane, since it most effectually prevents the setting of fruit. It may be laid down as a rule that the grape lives by sunlight, warmth and air—it often thrives on the desert's edge. These considerations make it manifest that the monthly and seasonal means of precipitation must be considered in selecting a locality to grow grapes.

Spring and autumn frosts.

The average date at which the last killing frost occurs in the spring often determines the limit in latitude at which the grape can be grown. Even in the most favored grape region of the continent, killing frosts occasionally destroy the grape crop, and there are few seasons in which frost does not take some toll. Thus on May 7, 1916, frost all but ruined the crop of wine- and table-grapes in the great grape region of northern California where frosts are seldom expected in May. Little or nothing can be done to protect grapes from frost. Windbreaks as often favor the frost as the vine, and smudging or heating the vineyards is too expensive to be practical. In growing grapes, therefore, the commonly recognized precaution of selecting a site near water, on slopes or in a warm thermal belt must be exercised.

The limits of grape culture are also determined by early autumn frosts. The grape stands two or three degrees of frost, but anything lower usually destroys the crop. Here, again, the only precaution is to take pains in selecting the site.

The use of weather data and dates of life events of the grape.

These considerations of length of season, humidity and spring and fall frosts make it plain that the grape-grower must synchronize these phases of climate with the life events of the grape. In particular, he must study weather data in relation to the blooming and ripening of grapes. Usually, the necessary weather data may be secured from the nearest local weather bureau, while the date of blooming and ripening may be obtained from the state experiment stations in the states where the grape is an important crop.

Winter temperature.

Varieties of native grapes are seldom injured in America by winter-killing, since they are usually planted in climates in which wild grapes withstand winter conditions. Native varieties follow the rule that plant and climate are truly congenial in regions in which the plant thrives without the aid of man. A few varieties of native grapes fare badly in the winter's cold of northern grape regions, and the tender Vinifera vine is at the mercy of the winter wherever the mercury goes below zero. In cold climates, therefore, care must be exercised in selecting hardy varieties and in following careful cultural methods with the tender sorts. If other climatic conditions are favorable, however, winter-killing is not an unsurmountable difficulty, since the grape is easily protected from cold, so easily that the tender Viniferas may be grown in the cold North with winter protection.

Air currents.

Currents of air are of but local importance in growing tree-fruits, but are of general and vital importance in growing the grape. The direction, force and frequency of prevailing winds are often controlling factors in the suppression of fungous diseases of the grape, and the presence of fungi often means success or failure in regions in which the grape is planted. Winds are beneficial, too, when they bring warm air or dry air, and when they keep frosty air in motion. The air must move in all grape regions, whether from canon, mountain, lake or sea. Sunlight, warmth, and air in motion are life to the grape. Sometimes winds may be detrimental; as when too cold, too blustering, or when they bring hail, the latter being about the most disastrous of all natural calamities. Windbreaks are of small value and are often worse than useless. Having planted his vineyard, the grape-grower must take the winds as they blow.

Soils for grapes

A prime requisite for a vineyard being earth in which vines will grow, successful grape-growing is eminently dependent on the selection of soil. Many mistakes are made in the great grape regions in planting on unsuitable soils, the planter going on the assumption that any soil in a grape region should be good enough for the grape. But the crust of the earth in grape regions is not all grape soil. In New York, for example, much of the land in the three grape regions is better fitted for producing crops for the mason or road-mender than for the grape-grower. Other soils in these regions are fit for vineyards only when tiled, and tiling does not make all wet land fit for tilling. Heavy, clammy clays, light sands, soils parched with thirst, thin or hungry soils—on all of these the grower may plant but will seldom harvest.

The ideal soil.

Grapes may be well grown in a wide range of soils if the land is well drained, open to air and if it holds heat. But without these essentials, whatever the soil, all subsequent treatment fails to produce a good vineyard. Generally speaking, the grape grows best in a light, free-working, gravelly loam, but there are many good vineyards in gravelly or stony clays, gravel or stone to furnish drainage, let in the air and to hold heat. Contrary to general belief, the grape seldom thrives in very sandy soils unless there is a fair admixture of clay, considerable decomposing vegetable matter and a clay subsoil. The latter, however, must not come too close to the surface. Some of the best vineyard lands in the country are very stony, the stones hindering only in making the land difficult to till. Nearly all grapes require a friable soil, compactness being a serious defect. Virgil, writing in Christ's time, gave good advice as to soil for the vine:

"A free loose earth is what the vines demand, Where wind and frost have help'd the lab'rer's hand, And sturdy peasants deep have stirr'd the land."

Cold, churlish, sticky or clammy clays are never to the liking of the grape.

Great fertility is not necessary in grape lands. Indeed, the grape is conspicuous among cultivated plants for ability to nourish itself where the food supply is scant. Soils naturally too rich produce an overgrowth of vine, the season's wood does not mature, the crop does not set, and the grapes lack sugar, size, color and flavor. Good physical condition and warmth in a well-watered, well-aired soil enable the grape to search far and wide for its food.


No cultivated grape endures a wet soil; all demand drainage. A few sorts may thrive for a time in moist, heavy land, but more often they do not live though they may linger. The water-table should be at least two feet from the surface. If by chance this comes naturally, so much the better, but otherwise the land must be tile-drained. Sloping land is by no means always well drained, many hillsides having a subsoil so impervious or so retentive of moisture that under-drainage is a necessity. The texture of the land is usually improved so greatly by good drainage that the grower has little need to rely on the clemency of the season in carrying on vineyard cultivation in well-drained land.

Soil adaptations.

In the refinement of viticulture, grape-growers find that particular varieties grow best in a particular soil, the likes and dislikes being determined only by trial, for the peculiarities which adapt a soil to a variety are not analyzable. Some varieties, on the other hand, the Concord being a good example, grow fruitfully in a great variety of soils. Each of the several species with their varieties has quite distinct adaptations to soils. This is taken advantage of in planting varieties on uncongenial soils after they have been grafted on a vine which finds itself at home in the particular soil. Much has been accomplished in growing varieties on uncongenial soils by consorting them with other stocks, an operation which has brought forth volumes of discussion as to the adaptabilities of cions to stocks and stocks to soils, subjects to receive attention on a later page.

Insects and fungi

The profitable grape regions of the country have all been established in regions comparatively free from grape insects and fungi. If pests came later in considerable numbers, the industry, in the old days, perished. Here and there in the agricultural regions of the country may be found a sorry company of halt and maimed vines, remnants of once flourishing vineyards, brought to their miserable condition by some scourge of insects or fungi. The advent of spraying and of better knowledge of the habits of the pests has greatly lessened the importance of parasites as a factor in determining the value of a region for grape-growing; but even in the light of the new knowledge, it is not wise to go against Nature in regions where pests are strongly intrenched.

Commercial factors

The dominant factors that lead to the planting of large areas to any one fruit are often economic ones; as transportation, markets, labor, facilities for making by-products, and opportunity to join in buying and selling organizations. All of these factors play an important part in determining the bounds of grape regions, but a lesser part than in the establishment of large areas of other fruits, for the reason that the grape is so largely grown for raisins, wine, champagne and grape-juice, products condensed in form, made with little labor, easily transported, which keep long and find ready market at any time. Again, where natural conditions are favorable for grape-growing, the crop comes almost as a gift from Nature; whereas, if the grower must breast the blows of unfavorable natural circumstances, no matter how favorable the economic factors may be, the vineyard is seldom profitable. Natural factors, therefore, outweigh economic ones in grape-growing, but the latter must be considered in seeking a site for a vineyard, a task discussed under several heads to follow.

Accessibility to markets.

Markets ought to be accessible in commercial grape-growing. A location in which there is a good local market, and at the same time ample facilities for shipping to distant markets, is desirable. If there are also opportunities to dispose of any surplus to makers of raisins, wine or grape-juice, the grower has well-nigh attained the ideal. Further to be desired are good roads, short hauls, quick transportation, reasonable freight rates, refrigerator service and cooeperative agencies. The more of these advantages a grower has at his disposal, the less likely he is to fail in commercial competition.

General versus local markets.

The grower must be reminded rather than informed that he must decide in locating his vineyard whether he will grow for distant markets, for manufacturing into grape products, or for local markets. Determination to grow grapes once made, subsequent procedure at every step depends on the disposition to be made of the product. Summarized, the differences in growing grapes for the two markets are: For the general market: the acreage should be large; the market may be distant; the varieties few; the cost of production low; sales large and prices low; the dealings are with middlemen; and extensive culture is practiced. For the local market: the acreage may be small; the market must be near and prices must be high; the sales are direct to the consumer; there must be succession in ripening; and intensive culture is practiced. For the general market, the vineyard is the unit; for the local market, the variety should be the unit. In this discussion, however, "large acreage" and "extensive culture" set against "small acreage" and "intensive culture" may mislead. This is a case in which a large endeavor may be a small endeavor, and a small endeavor a large one; or, in which it may be well to take the advice of Virgil, who advised Roman vineyardists, "Praise great estates; farm a small one."

The grape-growing of the times tends more and more to growing for general markets. The grower plants to skim a comparatively small return from a large area. This division of grape-growing is now well developed in America. Intensive grape-growing for local markets is not well developed. There are, however, many opportunities in America for easy triumphs in fruit-growing in the planting of vineyards for local markets. No other fruit responds to fine art in culture so well as the grape. Given choicely good varieties and a finely finished product, and the grower may have almost what he desires for the produce of his skill. With the grape, too, palm of merit goes with skill in culture; among all who grow plants, only the florist can rival the viticulturist in guiding the development of a plant to a special end. In cultivating, fertilizing, training, grafting, pruning, spraying, in every cultural operation, the grape-grower has opportunities to sell his skill not given in so high degree to the grower of other fruits.


A great advantage in the congregation of vineyardists in grape regions is found when labor must be obtained. Skilled labor is required to cultivate the vine, and such labor can be freely secured only in centers of viticulture. Grape-growing is a specialists' business, and it takes more than a day or a season to make a vine-dresser out of a farmer, gardener or an orchardist. Expert labor is most easily obtained and is of best quality where grapes abound. Common labor must be somewhat abundant, also, in good vineyard locations, for such rush tasks as tying and picking. In these two operations, women, children or other unskilled labor may be employed to advantage. The grape harvest must often be hurried, and to keep it in full swing a near-by city from which to draw pickers is a great asset.

Vineyard sites.

Within a grape region, the site is important in determining where to plant. The site is the local position of the vineyard. Sites cannot be standardized, and therefore no two are alike. The cardinal natural factors to be secured in a site are warmth, sun, air and freedom from frost. These factors have been discussed in a general way under the climate of grape regions, but one needs to particularize a little more closely to ascertain how they affect individual vineyards. Warmth, sun, air and frostlessness are best secured by proximity to water, high land and proper exposure.

Proximity to water.

The favorable influences of water are well illustrated in the grape regions of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Canada. All of the grape districts in these regions are bounded on one or more sides by water. The equalizing effects of large bodies of water on temperature, warmer winter and cooler summer, are so well known as scarcely to need comment. Hardly less important than the effects of water on temperature are the off-shore breezes of night and the in-shore breezes of day which blow on large bodies of water. These keep the air of the vineyard in constant motion and so prevent frosts in spring and autumn, and also dry foliage and fruit so that spores of fungi have difficulty in finding foothold. But if water brings fogs, dews and humidity, as does the Pacific, grapes must be planted inland; otherwise leaf, bloom and fruit are born in the blight of fungi. The benign influences of water are felt in the eastern grape regions at distances of one to four miles, seldom farther. These narrow belts about the eastern waters are bounded on the landward side by high bluffs over which many showers fail to pass and which protect the belts below from heavy dews. Where the background of bluffs in these regions sinks to level land, vineyards cease.

Vineyards are usually some distance above the water, the range in altitude running from fifty to five hundred feet. Where the altitude is much higher, immunity to frosts and winter freezing ceases, for the reason that the atmosphere is rarer and drier so that heat radiates rapidly from the land. As the height increases, also, the revels of the wind play havoc with the vines. Yet, one is often surprised to find good vineyards at the level of the lakes or, on the other hand, crowning high hills. Altitude in grape-growing must, therefore, be determined by experiment. We know very little of the formation of the thermal belts on high land so favorable to the grape.

The lay of the land.

We associate the grape with rugged land; as the vines on the banks of the Rhine, the rolling lands of Burgundy, the slopes of Vesuvius and Olympus, the high hills of Madeira, the cloud-capped mountains of Teneriffe, mountain slopes in California and the escarpments of grape regions in eastern America. These examples prove how well adapted rolling lands, inclined plains and even steep and rocky hillsides are to the culture of the vine. Virgil long ago wrote, "Bacchus is partial to broad, sunny hills." Yet rolling lands are not essential to the culture of the grape, for in Europe and America very good grapes are grown on unsheltered plains, provided the land has an elevation on one or more boundaries above the surrounding country. If the conditions of soil and climate which the grape requires can be found on level land or moderate slopes, such situations are much better than steep declivities, since on these the cost of all vineyard operations is greater and heavy rains erode the soil. The soil on hills, too, is often scant and niggardly. Level land, however, must not be shut in on all sides by higher land as untimely frost will often lay waste vines in such a situation.


The exposure, or the slope of the land toward a point of the compass, is important in choosing a site for the vineyard, although the value of particular exposures is often exaggerated. Let it be remembered that good grapes may be grown in vineyards exposed to any point of the compass, but that slight advantages may sometimes come, depending on the particular environment of the plantation, and then solve the problem according to conditions. The following are theories as to exposure: A southern exposure is warmer and hence earlier than a northern, and is, therefore, the best slope for early grapes as well as for very late ones liable to be caught by frost. Northward and westward slopes retard the leafing and blooming period, thus often enabling the grape to escape untimely spring frosts; though to plant on such slopes may be robbing Peter to pay Paul, as what is gained in retardation in spring may be lost in the fall with the result that the vines may be caught by frost and may fail to ripen their crop. Frost damage is usually greatest on a bold eastern slope, and vines suffer most in winter freezes on this exposure, since the direct rays of the rising sun strike the frozen plants so that they are more injured than otherwise by rapid thawing. In locations near bodies of water, the best slope is toward the water, regardless of direction. The exposure may sometimes be selected to advantage with reference to the prevailing winds.



The grape commends itself to commercial and amateur growers alike by its ease of propagation. The vines of all species may be propagated from seed, and all but one of the several cultivated species may be grown readily from cuttings or layers. All yield to grafting of one kind or another. Seeds are planted only to produce new varieties. At one time stocks were grown from seed, but this practice has fallen into disrepute because of the great variations in the seedlings. Varieties on their own roots and stocks are for most part propagated from cuttings. In the production of stocks, the viticulturist sets the orchardist a good example, for there can be no question that all tree-fruits suffer from being grown on seedling stocks. The grape is a vigorous, self-assertive plant and once it is started, whether from seeds, cuttings or layers, seldom fails to grow.


Growing seedling grapes is the simplest of operations. The seeds are taken from the grapes at harvest time, after which they must pass through a resting period of a few months. At once or in a month or two, the seeds should be stratified in moist sand and stored in a cold place until spring, when they may be sown in flats or in the open ground; or seed may be sown in a well-prepared piece of garden land in the autumn. When planted in the open, autumn or spring, the seeds are put in at the depth of an inch, an inch or two apart and in rows convenient for cultivation. Subsequent care consists of cultivation if the seed are sown in garden rows, and in pricking out when true leaves appear if planted in flats. In ground that crusts, an expedient is to mix grape seed with apple seed; the apple seedlings, being more vigorous, break the crust and act as nurse plants to the more tender grapes. Sometimes it is helpful to the young plants to mulch the ground lightly with lawn clippings or moss. Grape seedlings grow rapidly, often making from two to three feet of wood in a season.

The young plants are thinned or set to stand four or five inches apart in the nursery row. At the end of the first season, all plants are cut back severely and almost entirely covered with earth by plowing up to the row on both sides. This earth, of course, is leveled the following spring. If the seasons are propitious and all goes well, the seedlings are ready for the vineyard at the end of the second season, but if for any reason they have fared badly during their first two years, it is much better to give them a third season in the nursery. Seedling vines are seldom as vigorous as those from cuttings, and unusual care must be taken in setting in the vineyard, though the operation is essentially the same as that to be described for vines from cuttings. The third season the vines are kept to a single shoot and are pinched back when the canes reach a length of five or six feet. In the autumn, they are pruned back to two or three feet. In the spring of the fourth season, the trellis is put up and a few fruits may be allowed to ripen.

The vines of promise may now be selected. The plants, however, must fruit twice or oftener before it can be told whether hopes are consummated or must be deferred. Growing seedlings for new varieties is a game full of chances in which, while there may be little immediate or individual gain, there is much pleasure. It is hardly too much to say that the grape industry of eastern America, with its 300,000 acres and 1500 varieties, betokens the good that has come from growing seedling grapes.


Vines for vineyards, with the exception of varieties of Rotundifolia, are propagated from cuttings of hard wood taken from the season's canes when the vines are pruned. The inactive buds in these cuttings may be brought into active growth, and roots induced to grow from the cut surfaces by various means. By this miracle of Nature, an infinite number of plants, in an endless procession, may be propagated from the product of a single seed, each plant complete in its heredity and differing from its fellows only in accordance with environment.

Time to make cuttings.

A good cutting should have a protective callus over the cut and this requires time, so that the sooner cuttings are made after the wood becomes thoroughly dormant the better. Besides, the cutting should use its stored food material for the formation of adventitious roots rather than have it pass into buds, as it quickly does late in the dormant season when buds are about to open. If cuttings must be made late in the season, transplanting must be delayed as long as possible, and the cuttings be set in a northerly aspect to prevent the premature development of the buds. However, the grape responds surprisingly well to the call of Nature in forming roots, and great importance need not be attached to the time at which the cuttings are made.

Selecting cutting wood.

Cuttings are made from one-year-old wood; that is, canes produced during the summer are taken for cuttings in the fall. Immature canes and those with soft, spongy wood ought not to be used. Strong vigorous canes should be given preference over weak growth, but most nurserymen maintain that very large canes do not make as good cuttings as do those of medium size, the objection to large size being that the cuttings do not root as well. Short-jointed wood is better than long-jointed. Cuttings from vines weakened by insects and fungi are liable to be weak, soft, immature and poorly stored with food. The wood should be smooth and straight.

Making the cutting.

Grape cuttings vary in length from four inches to two feet, the length depending on the climate and the soil of the nursery and the species and variety. The hotter and drier the climate and the lighter the soil, the longer the cutting needs to be. Six to nine inches, however, is the usual length in the climate of eastern America, while on the Pacific slope the length varies from eight to fifteen inches. For convenience in handling, all cuttings should be approximately of the same length, to insure which some kind of simple gauge is needed. Various gauges are used, as marks cut in the working table, a stick of the required length, or a cutting-box.

In making the cuttings, a slanting cut is made close below the lowest bud, while about an inch of wood is left above the upper bud. When possible, a heel of old wood is left at the lower end; or, still better, a whorl of buds, as roots usually start from each bud. The finished cuttings are tied in bundles, all butts one way, and are then ready to be heeled-in. This is done by burying in trenches, butts up, and covering with a few inches of soil. It is important to invert the cuttings in trenching, since otherwise the tops often start to grow before the butts are properly calloused, and it is very essential that the tops remain dormant until roots appear to support the new growth.

Planting the cuttings.

Cuttings are planted in the nursery in rows wide enough apart for cultivation and two or three inches apart in the row. Trenches are made with a plow; perpendicular if the cuttings are shorter, and a little slanting if longer than six inches. The cuttings are set at a depth which permits the upper buds to project above the ground, as shown in Fig. 6. When the cuttings in a row are placed, two inches of soil are put in and pressed firmly about the base of the cuttings. Then the trench is evenly filled with earth and the cultivator follows. Doing duty by the young plants consists in cultivating often during the summer to keep the soil moist and mellow.

The cuttings are planted as soon as the ground is warm and dry enough to work. To delay planting too long invites injury from drought, which almost annually parches the land in eastern America. Irrigation gives more leeway to planting time in the West. When warm sunny weather, accompanied by an occasional shower, predominates, the cuttings start growth almost at once, as shown in Fig. 7, and by fall, all things being propitious, make a growth from four to six feet. With the cuttings three inches and the rows three feet apart, 58,080 vines may be grown to the acre.

Single-eye cuttings.

New and rare varieties are propagated from single-eye cuttings, thereby doubling the number of plants from the propagating wood. This method gives an opportunity, also, to start the work of propagating early in the season, since single-eye cuttings are nearly always rooted by artificial heat. But the greatest value of the method is that some varieties which cannot be propagated in any other way readily grow under artificial heat from single-eyes. Well-grown vines so propagated are as good as those grown by any other method, but the great disadvantage is that unless much care and skill are used, vines from these cuttings are poor and quite worthless. It is also a more expensive method than growing from long cuttings out of doors.

There are several ways of making single-eye cuttings. The most common form of the cutting is the single bud with an inch of wood above and below, the ends being cut with a slant. Some modify this form by cutting away the wood on the side opposite the bud, exposing the pith the whole length of the cutting. In another form, a square cut is made directly under the bud, leaving an inch and a half of wood above. Or this last form is modified by making a long sloping cut from the bud to the upper end, thereby exposing the maximum amount of cambium. Advantages are claimed for each form, but these are mostly imaginary, and the cutting may be made to suit the fancy of the propagator if a few essentials are observed.

Single-eye cuttings are made in the fall and are stored in sand until late winter, about February in New York. At this time the cuttings are planted horizontally an inch deep in a sand propagating bench in a cool greenhouse. If the cuttings are not well calloused, they remain one or two weeks in a temperature of 40 deg. to 50 deg. without bottom heat, but well-made cuttings are calloused and ready to strike root so that brisk bottom heat can be applied at once. After six weeks or two months, the young plants are ready to pot off or to transplant in a cold-frame or cool greenhouse. If but a few plants are to be grown, they may be started in two- or three-inch pots, shifting into larger pots once or twice as growth progresses. In early summer, the young plants are set in nursery rows out of doors and by fall the young vines should be strong and vigorous.

Single-eyes are also started in hot-beds, cold-frames and even in the open air without the aid of artificial heat. In hot-beds and cold-frames, the method is only a modification of that described for greenhouses. Out of doors the cuttings are given the same conditions under which long cuttings are rooted, except that the whole of the short cutting is buried an inch deep in the nursery row.


Grapes are easily propagated from herbaceous cuttings, although since the vines are weak and the method expensive, they are seldom used. Green cuttings are usually taken from plants forced in greenhouses, but may be taken in summer from vineyard vines. A green cutting is usually cut with two buds with the leaf at the upper one left on. The cuttings are set in propagating beds of sand, or pots of sand, in close frames under which there is brisk bottom heat. To prevent excessive evaporation, the frames are kept closed and the atmosphere warm and moist. As growth progresses, or if mildew appears, the frames are more and more ventilated. In two to four weeks, the cuttings should have rooted sufficiently well to be transplanted to pots. Herbaceous cuttings made in the summer must be kept under glass until the following spring.


The grape is readily propagated from layers of either green or mature wood, the method being certain, convenient and producing extra vigorous plants. The drawback is that fewer plants can be obtained by layering than from cuttings with a given amount of wood. Varieties of some species, however, cannot be propagated by cuttings, and with these layering becomes of supreme importance to the propagator. Nearly all varieties of Rotundifolia and some of AEstivalis are best grown from layers. So far as is known, all varieties of cultivated species may be grown by layering, and since the method is simple and certain and the vines vigorous and easily handled, this method is commended to small growers of grapes.

Dormant wood layering.

The work of layering mature wood usually begins in the spring, but the vines from which the layers are to be taken should have received preliminary treatment the preceding season. The vines to be layered are severely cut back a year or more before the layering is to be done to induce a vigorous growth of canes. Strong vigorous canes are laid in a shallow trench, two to five inches deep, in which they are fastened with wood or wire pegs or staples. The trench is then partly filled with fine, moist, mellow earth which is firmly packed about the cane. Roots strike and shoots spring from each joint. When the young plants are well above ground, the trench is completely filled, and then, or a little later, the young plants are staked to keep them out of the way of the cultivator. The following fall the young vines are ready to transplant.

The essentials of layering have been given, but a number of non-essentials may be helpful under some conditions. Thus, dormant wood may be layered in the fall, in which case the cane is usually notched or ringed at the joint to induce the formation of roots. The less the number of joints covered, the stronger the young vines, so that while the number is usually five, six or more extra vigorous plants may be obtained by covering only one or two joints. In propagating Rotundifolia grapes, it is expected that lateral branches will make the tops of the new plants. These, at the time of layering, are cut back to eight or ten inches, all on the same side of the vine, and are not left closer together than twelve inches. In nursery practice, Rotundifolia vines are trained along the ground for layering. Vines on arbors, in greenhouses, or on sides of buildings are easily layered in boxes or pots of soil. Plants grown from layers are not as conveniently handled as those from cuttings.

Green wood layering.

Layered plants from green wood are sometimes grown to multiply quickly new or rare varieties. The work is accomplished in midsummer by bending down and covering shoots of the present season's growth. Strong plants are seldom obtained from summer-layering and it is never safe to attempt to grow more than one or two plants from a shoot. The most forceful culture possible must be given summer-layered plants after the separation from the parent vine. It is very generally agreed that plants from summer-layers not only do not give good plants, but that the parent vine is injured in taking an offspring from it in this way.

Layering to fill vacancies in the vineyard.

There is sure to be an occasional gap even in the best vineyard. Young plants set in vacancies must compete with neighboring full-grown vines, and often in a bit of land so unfavorable that it may have been the cause of the demise of the original occupant. Under these circumstances, the newcomer stands a poor chance for life. A plant introduced by layering a strong cane from a near-by vine has little difficulty in establishing itself on its own roots, after which it can be separated from the parent. Such layering is best done by taking in early spring a strong, unpruned cane from an adjoining plant in the same row and covering an end joint six inches deep in the vacant place, but leaving sufficient wood on the end of the cane to turn up perpendicularly out of the soil. This free end becomes the new plant and by the following fall or spring may be separated from its parent. Not infrequently the young plant bears fruit the second season on its own roots. This method is of especial value in small plantations, whereby the trouble of ordering one or two plants is avoided and the advantage of early fruiting is obtained.


Since grafting grapes is intimately connected with stocks, the growing of which is a modern practice, grafting is thought of as a new process in growing this fruit. Quite to the contrary, it is an old practice. Cato, the sturdy old Roman grape-grower who lived nearly two hundred years before Christ, speaks of grafting grapes, although Theophrastus, the Greek philosopher, wrote a hundred years before "the vine cannot be grafted upon itself." However, until it became necessary to grow Vinifera grapes on resistant stocks to avoid the ravages of phylloxera, grafting the grape was not at all common among vineyardists and is not now except where vines susceptible to phylloxera must be grown in consort with roots resistant to this insect, or to modify the vigor of the top by a stock more vigorous or less vigorous. For these two purposes, grafting is now in some grape regions one of the most important vineyard operations.

In grafting the grape, there is a time and a way, not so particular as many believe, but rather more particular than in grafting most other fruits. If the essentials of grafting are kept in mind, one has considerable choice of details. Grafting consists in detaching and inserting one or several buds of a mother plant on another plant of the same or a similar kind; the bud stock is the cion, the rooted plant is the stock. The essentials may be set forth in three statements: First, the prime essential is that the cambium layers, the healing tissue lying between the bark and wood, meet in the cion and stock; second, that method of grafting is best in which the cut tissues heal most rapidly and most completely; third, the greater the amount of cambium contact, as compared with the whole cut surface, the more rapidly and completely the wounds will heal. Out of a great many, the following are a few of the simplest methods in use in grafting the grape, any one of which may be modified more or less as occasion calls.

Vineyard grafting in eastern America.

In eastern America, the growing vine is usually grafted. At the New York Agricultural Experiment Station, the operation is very successfully performed on old vines as follows: Preparatory to grafting, the earth is removed from around the stock to a depth of two or three inches. The vines are then decapitated at the surface of the ground and at right angles with the axis of the stock. If the grain is straight, the cleft can be made by splitting with a chisel, but more often it will have to be done with a thin-bladed saw through the center of the stock for at least two inches. The cion is cut with two buds, the wedge being started at the lower bud. The cleft in the stock is then opened, and the cion inserted so that the cambium of stock and cion are in intimate contact. If the stock is large, two cions are used. The several operations in grafting are shown in Figs. 8, 9, 10 and 11. Grafting wax is unnecessary, in fact is often worse than useless, and if the stock is large the graft is not even tied. Raffia is used to tie the graft in young vines. It suffices to mound the graft to the top of the cion with earth, for the purposes of protection and to keep the graft moist. Two or three times during the summer, sprouts coming from the stock or roots from the cion should be removed.

A method used with fair success at the New York Agricultural Experiment Station with young vines is to plant one-year-old stocks in the nursery row as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring. Just as the vines start in growth, these are cut off at the surface of the ground and whip- or cleft-grafted with a two-eye cion. The graft is tied with raffia, after which it is all but covered with a mound of soil. This is a case in which the work must be done at the accepted time, as it is fatal to delay.

R. D. Anthony describes another method as follows:[2] "A method which a Pennsylvania grower of Viniferas has found very satisfactory is to root the Vinifera cuttings, and grow them one year on their own roots; then the vine which is to be used as a stock is planted in the vineyard and the rooted cutting planted beside it so that the shoots from the two may be brought in contact with each other. In June when the plants are in full growth, two vigorous shoots (one from each vine) are brought together and a cut two or three inches long made in each parallel to the length of the cane removing from one-third to one-half of the thickness of the shoot. These flat surfaces exposed by the cuts are then brought into contact with the cambium tissues touching and are tied in place. The tops are checked somewhat by breaking off some of the growth. The following spring the Vinifera roots are cut off below the graft and the top of the stock above the graft is removed."

In the subsequent care of these young vines, the grower must take time by the forelock and tie the grafts to suitable stakes; otherwise they are liable to be broken off at the union by wind or careless workmen. Grafted vineyards must have extra good care in all cultural operations, and even with the best of care from 5 to 50 per cent of the grafts will fail or grow so poorly as to make regrafting necessary, this being the most unfavorable circumstance of field grafting. Regrafting is done one joint lower than the first operation to avoid dead wood; this brings the union below the surface of the ground, and the vineyardist must expect many cion roots to try his patience.

Vineyard grafting on the Pacific slope.

Vineyard grafting, according to Bioletti,[3] was formerly the commonest method of starting resistant vineyards in California. After stating that it is best whenever possible to plant good cuttings rather than roots, and that the grafting should usually be done the year after planting, Bioletti gives the following directions for grafting:[4]

"Wherever possible the vines should be grafted at or above the surface of the ground. In many cases, however, it will be necessary to go below the surface to find a smooth, suitable part of the stock where grafting is possible.

"The kind of graft to use will depend on the size of the stock. For stocks up to 2/3 inch in diameter the methods of tongue and wire grafting already described are the best. For larger vines up to 3/4 inch a modification of the ordinary tongue graft is the best. If the tongue graft were made in the usual way with stocks of this size, it would be necessary to use excessively large scions, which is undesirable, or to have the barks unite only on one side. By cutting the bevel of the stock only part way through the vines, it is possible to make a smaller scion unite on both sides. For still larger vines, those over 3/4 inch in diameter, the best graft is the ordinary cleft.

"No wax or clay should be used on the graft. Anything which completely excludes the air prevents the knitting of the tissues. A little clay, cloth, or a leaf may be placed over the split in the stock when the cleft graft is used, simply to keep out the soil. Otherwise there is nothing more suitable or more favorable to the formation of a good union that can be put around the graft than loose, moist soil. If the soil is clayey, stiff or lumpy, it is necessary to surround the union with loose soil or sand brought from outside the vineyard.

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