Experience with 'black monukka' grape?

fabaceae_nativeFebruary 16, 2012

I just potted up some of these bare-root vines from a big box store until the weather is warm enough to plant them outside.

I am very impressed with these vines!

I had to use 5-gallon pots because the roots were so extensive. The vines are also super thick and since the roots were folded up against the vines to fit them in the little bare-root containers, they are much longer than I first expected.

So, does anyone have any anecdotal info on growing 'black monukka'? I only know what I've read everywhere, namely that it's a cold-hardy seedless vinifera good for fresh eating, raisins, and wine. Would it do well in zone 6? Does it need months and months of hot weather to ripen well?

I'd love any feedback you have on this variety...

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I have only seen it ripe a couple seasons here in Western WA but we are a lot cooler than you for sure.
It should dry to raisins if you let it, in New Mexico.
Had wanted to use it in grape breeding, but never got to use the pollen , since Vinifera grapes bloom later than the native American species.
The clusters are large and very full, and have a mild subacid flavor, and a small soft seed trace, that gives the raisins a bit of a crunchy quality.
It is slightly suc. to powdery mildew, but not as bad as some.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 1:47PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I grew it in CA near Fresno, very hot and long season. The bunches were very large and big berries, you'll be impressed there also. My only concern would be winter freezes. But it's worth a try.

Fruit was OK for my taste. Probably as good as most of the more hardy seedless. Have you tried Jupiter or Reliance?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 1:58PM
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Take Fruitnut's hint about Jupiter and Reliance, and Venus and Glenora and Suffolk Red I would add. I grew BM here in CA z7 3000' elevation. It had big problems with mildew, while the other mentioned Labrusca have done great with no sulfur, no anything. BM is a commercial seedless grape that will do well in the central California valley. Jupiter has been a commercial success in non-traditional grape growing areas like Idaho. Jupiter is superior in size, flavor, precociousness, and cold and disease resistance to all the vinifera seedless varieties available. Yield for Jupiter is good too.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 3:27PM
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Mildew probably is not much of a problem in New Mexico, with all your dry weather, but it will probably need a couple of sulfur sprays/season. Sulfur is a cheap spray, so not a big issue. Wish we could grow it here, but it only ripens about once every four years locally. As Vinifera types go, it is not highly prone to mildew but will get it in a bad season.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 3:40PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I've never had a hint of mildew on grapes in Texas and doubt it would be an issue in NM. I know that may be amazing given how bad it is in CA. None in my greenhouse or outdoors.

I'll have Jupiter, Flame, Princess, Summer Royal, Crimson, Autumn Royal, Summer Muscat, and more this year. I'd be amazed if Jupiter beats Summer Royal for taste or production. They all bear as soon as the vine is large enough and the Vinifera are mostly very vigorous.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2012 at 4:57PM
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Thanks for all the feedback...

I'm also trying Glenora, Mars, Reliance, Himrod, Cayuga, as well as Flame. The latter was not bothered by this winter's -8 low in December (against a south wall), so I'm not too concerned about Black Monukka in a similar location.

The main reason I bought the BM is because of how impressive the bare-root vines were, probably 4 times bigger than all the American species for the same price (and the same age I'm sure). Maybe I'll get some more BM vines if I think I can find a spot for them come May.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 11:00AM
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I'm lazy when it comes to my garden, vineyard, orchard, etc. Small labor inputs add up quickly. If it needs to be sprayed, I won't grow it.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 11:27AM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

My mother grows Black Monukka on the Wasatch Front in Utah, where it is dry enough that there is no mildew problem with this variety. She loves it, but it ripens in cool fall weather and I think it would be sweeter in California.

As I recall, Trader Joe's sells big Black Monukka raisins during the holiday baking season. Once upon a time, you could get raisins made from muscats with the seeds removed for boiled raisin cake, etc. Black Monukka raisins are a reasonable substitute.

A guy who runs a Thompson Seedless vineyard near Fresno told me that Black Monukka would hang on his home vine into December unless rains were heavy. Not that this information does you much good where winters start earlier.

There is a commercial variety of black seedless grape from Australia or New Zealand which is fabulous. I've only tasted it once and I can't remember its name. At the time, growers were guarding test vineyards. Black Monukka is a parent.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 1:22AM
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While a bit off topic, if anyone has heard of someone using Monukka Pollen as a breeding parent, I'd sure dig on growing a Monukka x American Species hybrid up here. I had the vine once, but it bloomed later than my Native Vines so I could never make a cross of the two.
I am into grape hybridizing.
This is one of my hybrid vines. Alden x Saint Pepin.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 11:31AM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

The Monukka offspring I tasted was a European type and I can't say if Monukka was the male or female parent, but it had great flavor. Ambitious breeding project, Boizeau.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2012 at 10:28PM
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I've been researching the latest, hottest grape varieties,
and I'm pretty sure the one you tried was SunWorld's Sable, (Sugrasixteen) it's a black seedless, heavily protected proprietary variety, with a tropical/muscat/lychee/parma violets flavor. Parents are Black Monukka x Sugrafive.
Read the patent on it to see how they bred two seedless grapes together and did "embryo rescue."
It would be fun to try it as a backyard grape, but someone would have to sneak into a SunWorld plantation and smugge a cutting out, like a gobstopper in Willy Wonka's factory.

----Mark Miner

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 6:00AM
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Monukka will take the cold. Prune after frost has done it's damage.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 2:03PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

Sable sounds fantastic, Mark.

The offspring (reportedly) of Black Monukka which I tasted was Black Maroo. Very flavorful. I have no idea where one would get this Australian variety.

Here is a link that might be useful: Maroo (Black Maroo) grape

This post was edited by carolync1 on Thu, Jul 18, 13 at 16:18

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 4:15PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

Black monukka seems popular as a breeding parent. Breeding grapes sounds pretty ambitious to me.

I'm trying to do a few simple melon hybrids this year, and that's challenging enough. Bees are better melon pollenizers than people. Some fruits seem to be "sticking", though.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 4:41PM
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How much cold, nature freak?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 5:30PM
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