Updated: Aug 27, 2021
Thursday, August 26, 2021. The recent rains are causing Reliance grape berries to split. We will shortly stop picking this variety for table use and open it up for wine-making. Himrod is past peak, and nearly picked out. The clusters which are left are pretty gold-colored, and are holding onto the stem fairly well. Probably one more week and Himrod will end. Jupiter is ripening nicely. The honey bees are buzzing around the vine right now. Everest, a new variety for us, is being devoured by the honey bees. There is no more fresh-picked Everest. We did put some in the cooler for those of you who missed getting some, or for those who need more. Other varieties that will be coming along soon, in the next week or two, include Marquis seedless green grape, Chinese-Black seeded grape, and Concord seeded black grape.
Reliance berries are strating to raisin. Recent rains have caused many of the berries to crack. The brix, or sugar level, has peaked at around 20. At this point, the acid level starts to drop. Very tasty, but lots of weather damage. Leaves are showing some signs that the vine is starting to wind down and get ready for winter.
Picture of Himrod taken Thursday morning. Berries are starting to go golden color.
Brix, or sugar level has leveled off for a week now at around 19-20 brix, so there has been a significant drop in acid level. The grape berries are still holding onto the stem. We will continue picking this variety for another week, maybe two. Most of this variety has been picked, so start thinking of placing your last orders of fresh-picked soon.
Picture of Jupiter grape. Sugar level has leveled out around 16-17 brix, and the leaves are starting to go dormant. We will pick this variety for another week or two and then open it up for the wine-makers. The honey bees are starting to get attracted to this variety as well, so if you want some of this variety, now is the time to order fresh-picked.
Tuesday, August 17, 2021. Sweetest grape right now is Reliance. Himrod and Jupiter ripe and ready. Everest, our largest berry, ready to pick. Good time to start freezing Himrod and Reliance for later use.
Actual picture of Himrod seedless grape clusters taken Tuesday evening, with brix of 17.5. The peak for Himrod is usually 18 brix. Flavor is spot on. Next two weeks will be peak for this variety. Himrod, produced from a cross between Ontario and Thompson Seedless, is the most successful table grape released from the Cornell University grape breeding program (1952). It produces large bunches of white seedless grapes with excellent, honeylike flavor and melting, juicy texture. The clusters are delicate and berries tend to fall off the stem easily. Because of this, not commonly found in supermarkets. However, excellent berry to freeze for use later in the year.
Actual picture of Reliance seedless grape clusters taken Tuesday evening, with brix of 19.5. The peak for Reliance is usually 21 brix. This is our sweetest seedless grape. Next two to three weeks will be peak for this variety. Reliance has a very good, fruity flavor, but is also very susceptible to fruit cracking near harvest because of its thin skin. Medium to large clusters of round, mix of pink and green, small to medium-sized berries. The skins are tender and the flesh is melting in texture, with a sweet labrusca flavor. Seed traces are almost never found, unlike some other seedless cultivars. Prone to crack during a wet season, so don't wait to try.
Actual picture of Jupiter seedless grape clusters taken Tuesday evening, with brix of 16. Jupiter is a reddish-blue colored, seedless grape. It is a non-slipskin type with crisp flesh texture. Skins are relatively thin and fruit cracking is not common. The individual oval berries are relatively large as are the clusters. Although termed a seedless grape it may occasionally produce a noticeable, soft seed trace. The flavor is excellent, with a mild muscat character. A rare muscat seedless grape not commonly grown, it is my personal favorite.
Actual picture of Everest seedless grape clusters taken Tuesday evening, with brix of 13. Target brix is 13-15. Our largest grape berry, otherwise known as a seedless Kyoho, or Japanese mountain grape. This newest variety from Cornell University's grape breeding program, Everest is a blue-colored Concord-type, with berries that weigh up to 7 grams – roughly twice the size of the traditional Concord. It is also the first truly seedless Concord-type grape ever released. It’s intended as a table grape – meant primarily for eating fresh, rather than using for jams, juice or wine, as most American Concords are used.
It's parents include Japanese grapes Kyoho and Pione, as well as the classic American Concord and Niagara varieties. Very popular with Japanese desserts where the berries are peeled, and/or sliced.
Everest Seedless also descends from several other Cornell-developed grapes, such as Himrod and Ontario. Our vines are young, so we have limited quantities of this variety. Explore recipies for Kyoho grape, and substitute Everest grape in it's place. Example: japanese tart, https://cookpad.com/us/recipes/149663-grape-tart-using-kyoho-grapes-or-large-table-grapes
Wednesday, August 11, plenty of warm weather. Grapes continue to ripen. Looks like the first to be ready are Himrod and Reliance. Limited bunches of early ripening Jupiter and Everest. Here are pictures and sugar readings as of 8:45 am.
Jupiter Seedless 16 brix (08/06 5 days ago, 12.5 brix). Sugar increasing almost 1 degree brix per day. Some bunches are ripe. Some not so ripe. We will be selectively picking this variety this Sunday, 08/15.
Himrod Seedless 18 brix (08/06 5 days ago, 12.5 brix). Sugar increasing 1.1 degree brix per day. Close to peak ripeness now.
Everest Seedless 13 brix (08/06-5 days ago, 11 brix). The peak ripeness for this variety is around 15 brix.
Reliance Seedless 16 brix (08/06 5 days ago, 15 brix). Some bunches are ripe. Some not so ripe. We will be selectively picking this variety this Sunday, 08/15.