Great Grapes: Grow the Best Ever (Storeys Country Wisdom Bulletin A-53)

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See if you have enough points for this item. Sign in. Grapes are among the most desirable and best-known fruits, prized for their beauty, their succulence and varied flavors, their noble metamorphosis into wine, and their more utilitarian roles as sources of fresh juice and tasty jellies. For most growers, the triumph of harvesting fragrant clusters of dusky-bloomed grapes in rose, blue-black, amber, purple, or light red bunches is its own reward--a test of gardening skill.

In Great Grapes , you'll learn all you need to know to grow superb grapes, including how to: -Choose the most suitable cultivars for your area -Choose the right site -Prepare the soil -Build trellises -Plant and train the vines -Prune for maximum yield -Propagate new vines -Control pests -Harvest the grapes at the peak of ripeness. Circling the Sun. Paula McLain.

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Mary Carol Frier. Water Gardening in Containers. Ken Walter. Marcella Shaffer. Growing Bansai. It was affirmed that the vines planted in the fall bore grapes the following spring, "a thing they suppose not heard of in any other country. Those that Sir George Yeardley brought were planted in ; another source refers to the Frenchmen as having planted their cuttings at "Michaelmas last"—that is, around October In the company, encouraged by the early reports, announced that it was looking for more vineyardists from France and from Germany, and that it was trying to procure "plants of the best kinds" from France, Germany, and elsewhere.

A year later, in , we hear that on one site, at least, some 10, vines had been set out, though not whether they were native or vinifera. Bonoeil's treatise, with its "instructions how to plant and dress vines, and to make wine," is not the first American manual on viniculture, since it was written by a Frenchman in England; but it may fairly claim to be the first manual for American winemakers.

Bonoeil could not have had any direct knowledge of American conditions, but he at least tried to imagine and prescribe for them. After recommending that the. If, he says, men would trouble to gather such grapes when they are ripe, and tread them, and ferment them, the juice.

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After that, you may draw it, and barrel it, as we have said, and use it when you need. I have oftentimes seen such wine made reasonable good for the household. And by this means every man may presently have wine in Virginia to drink.

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We do not know if this recipe was followed. The colony was liberally supplied with the book containing it, but one witness in that year reported that the colonists "laughed to scorn" such instructions, for "tobacco was the only business. The boiling would have extracted an intense color, but the water would have diluted the already inadequate proportion of sugar in the native grapes. Wine that puts the teeth on edge and the stomach in revolt was the likeliest result.

Nevertheless, it is notable that Bonoeil, like a good Frenchman, was not so much thinking of making a profit for the company's shareholders through the export of Virginia wine as he was charitably wishing that every man in Virginia should have "reasonable good" wine to drink. The sequel to all this preparation was disappointment. How could it have been anything else, given the practical difficulties? A little wine was made from native grapes, but it proved unsatisfactory. And the failure to make anything out of wine-growing in the face of a prosperous tobacco industry soon led men to give up a losing game.

Besides that, the get-rich-quick mentality that dominated in early Vir-. In some Virginia wine was sent to London; it must have been wine from native grapes, since the vinifera vines brought over in could not have yielded a significant crop so soon, even supposing that they were still alive. The wine, whatever it may have been to begin with, was spoiled by the combination of a musty cask and the long voyage, and the company in London, desperately eager to make good its claims about Virginia's fruitfulness, was forced to swallow another disappointment.

Such wine, it wrote to the colonists, "hath been rather of scandal than credit to us. So far from being able to supply an export market with acceptable wine, Virginia was quite unable to provide for its own needs. This was partly owing to the difficulties in growing wine, no doubt, but also partly to the fact that tobacco cultivation left no time for anything else, and yet was the only profitable activity.

Under the circumstances, the company in London was willing to listen to such wild propositions as one made in to supply the colony with an "artificial wine" that would cost nearly nothing, would never go fiat or sour, and was ready to drink on the day that it was made. This remarkable fluid, it appears, was made of sassafras and licorice boiled in water, but whether it was successfully imposed on the poor colonists may be doubted.

The Virginians were so eager for wine that in the governor was obliged to proclaim price controls on "Sherry Sack, Canary and Malaga, Allegant [Alicante] and Tent, Muskadell and Bastard" "Tent" was red wine—Spanish tinto —and "Bastard" was a sweet blended wine from the Iberian peninsula. Things were made more difficult than ever by disasters in Virginia and by dissension among the directors in London. The great Indian massacre of , which cost the lives of nearly a third of the colonists, did severe material damage as well.

In London, stockholders were exasperated when the profits that had seemed so near in repeatedly failed to materialize, and disagreement over general policy led to strife at headquarters.