Zinfandel as a table grape?

ahajmano(sunset 23, Mission Viejo CA)March 4, 2013

Anyone tried Zinfandel as a table grape? I picked it up by accident and not sure if I should give it yard space. I dont't have time to make wine.

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I've never tried it as a table grape...but I would think it would be delicious.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 12:14AM
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It's hard to say... Best thing you could try would be to call up a winery and ask if they eat Zinfandel grapes out of hand.... Another option would be to check on a Home Wine making forum...

Frequently, wine grapes aren't the best eating out of hand.... Some can be too one-dimensional sweet... Others are bitter/astringent or way too sour.......

I know this is certainly an issue with fruit like "Cider" apples, "Perry" pears, and things like Sloes and Damson plums... Many are HORRIBLE or basically inedible out of hand... but they cook up or ferment out into something wonderful....

If proper "Wine" grapes made great table grapes... we would probably see them in the supermarket - or at least farmer's markets... but we generally don't.... Probably for good reason....


    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 10:19AM
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I think most Americans won't eat grapes with seeds in them.

Pretty much all wine grapes have seeds.

Consumers like large crisp grapes, two considerations that probably don't matter for wine.

If sold in stores they need to keep well, ripen uniformly with full clusters, look pretty, etc.

I wouldn't assume that the flavor is the reason wine grapes aren't sold by grocers for eating out of hand.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 11:47AM
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ahajmano(sunset 23, Mission Viejo CA)

Did some more research. Wiki says the Zinfandel was originally distributed as a table grape in the mid 1800's in the US.

Hmm...might be worth a spot in my orchard...

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 5:21PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I agree with murky regarding the seeds. I haven't tried Zinfandel grapes but I have tried Zweigelt and Marquette, both cold-hardy wine grapes. I found them to be very flavorful but not anything like you would buy as a table grape. I plop them in my mouth and suck the juice off and then spit the seeds. Of course this is what most people did forever before seedless grapes were made.

I have recently sampled Harry Master's Jersey cider apple (I got 2 apples last summer). It was definitely not the same experience I had with the above mentioned grapes. I am assuming it was the astringency in the apple that made it unpleasant out of hand.

You may be able to sample some grapes this year and then you would have a better idea. My grapes did produce a few grapes their first year. As far as I know they only get better as the vines mature.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 11:44PM
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I'm in the wine business, and I would assume that the high levels of tannin and seeds in Zinfandel grapes would render them an ill-candidate for table fare.

That said, give it a shot and let us know!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 12:07PM
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Most wine grapes are decent eating, and I only eat seeded grapes (Concord and other labrusca types that grow here), nutritionally and flavor-wise they have an extra gear. In fact, I never had a bad wine grape, although, for example, the delicious Frontenac has a pulp to seed ratio that pushes my envelope. Of the red wine grapes, I like Foch best, whereas most yellow wine grapes of the midwest are good quality (the green ones are so-so). In Italy I ate a number of wine grapes, and always found them very good, perhaps the extra sun makes them even better. Grapes are not like cider apples, where some are actually bitter-tart, and really, much too hard to eat. If you don't mind the seeds, go ahead.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 12:37PM
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ahajmano(sunset 23, Mission Viejo CA)

Well...The Zin has officially been planted in the warmest spot in my yard, at the top of a 10' high hill, facing south, against a wood fence.

As far as wine grapes, I also have a Muscat Ottonel on the way from Burnt Ridge that I also plan on planting in a warm spot.

Ironically, being in California, I am struggling to find a spot in my yard for the Isabelle Concord that gets full sun, yet is not scorching hot in the summer and fall.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2013 at 1:27PM
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