Large clusters of plump, midnight blue fruit have a unique flavor that smacks of 'Concord' grapes and blueberries. Ripens early to midseason, beginning in September. Hardy to -20º.
Clusters of small to medium-size grapes turn golden yellow when fully ripe; they're crisp and sweet with a hint of spiciness. Ripens very early, from mid-August on. Zones 1-3 and 5-7.
During late winter when my grapes are sleeping, it's hard to imagine that the leafless vines will spring forth with lush green foliage, followed by colorful, delicious fruit. But they do, faithfully, year after year. That's why I planted my garden fence with a variety of seedless table grapes. When the harvest starts, I can reach out and savor the fruit right off the vines.
Here are four hardy, self-pollinating varieties that have proved themselves in home gardens in the Pacific Northwest, including mine.
'Canadice'. Tight clusters of medium-size red fruit have deliciously sweet, slightly spicy flavor. Fruit ripens early, from late August
on. Sunset climate zones 1-7.
'Interlaken'. Large clusters of small amber-colored fruit have crispy, sweet flesh. Ripens midseason, from September on. Zones 1-7.
Grapes prefer full sun and well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Before planting, install a trellis or other sturdy support for vines to climb. For pruning instructions, refer to the Sunset Western Garden Book. The first full harvest usually comes in the third year.
Order bare-root stock for planting in late winter or early spring, or shop nurseries for container-grown plants in spring, summer, or early fall. 'Canadice', 'Glenora', and 'Himrod' are available from One Green World in Molalla, OR (503/651-3005). 'Canadice', 'Glenora', and 'Interlaken' are sold by Raintree Nursery in Morton, WA (360/496-6400).