Suggestion on grape varieties for Southern California

hkg1August 27, 2007


I have no experience in growing grapes (and a beginner in gardening) but very interested in growing 2 to 3 grape vines in my backyard. I love grapes with red or blue skin that are small to medium size, sweet fruit with low acid and thin skin.

I live in Southern California (zone 10) with very dry summer and very mild winter (low is seldom below 40F). The place where I am planning to put my grape vines have morning and early afternoon sun (probably up to 3 pm).

I looked at many nurseries in my area ~ they normally carry Flame and Thompson seedless. But the plants I saw in the nurseries do not look very healthy to me ~ with yellowish leaves and brown spots on them. I am not sure if my area is just too hot for grapes so any advice would be really appreciated.

I am interested in Kyoho since I liked the flavor very much. But I am not sure if Kyoho would do well in my climate ~ I think it came from Japan. Does anyone have any experience in growing them in climate similar to mine? Also can anyone suggest other varieties that have similar flavor and grows well in my climate?

I am totally new to this so I would really appreciate any advice.

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

First of all, you are not too hot for any grape. They grow grapes in the Coachella Valley. So grapes are about as heat tolerant as any fruit.

I have no experience with Kyoko. And your criteria are somewhat unusual in that you seem to prefer small berries. But that aside my favorite grapes(all seedless) from earliest to latest are Flame, Summer Royal, Princess, Autumn Royal, and Crimson Seedless. These ripen from July to October in the San Joaquin Valley. The lower acid varieties are Flame, Princess, and Crimson. Small berries are Flame, and the old favorite, Thompson.

So for small berries: Flame and Thompson. For larger berries and more flavor Summer Royal.

The Fruitnut

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 1:49PM
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I have two Kyoho grape vines, and they produce well in hot SoCal, with a large size, for home grown. They arenÂt as sweet or as flavorful as my neighbors delicious Concord grapes, but perhaps IÂve over watered them, diluted the flavor, or just like the Concord flavor better, growing up on Welches.
I grew ThompsonÂs Seedless, Flame, and Black Monukka around twenty years ago. It wasnÂt hot enough here to sweeten ThompsonÂs, but Flame and Black Monukka were just okay, not as good as supermarket grapes, and only half the size, without heavy pruning and spraying with gibberelic acid. My Concord Seedless were okay this year, but not as sweet or as flavorful as the seeded. The skins werenÂt bad enough to spit out, but had sort of an off taste.
IÂve been shopping for more grape vines myself. Besides the excellent suggestions above that Fruitnut recommends, seedless California grapes that have good reviews on the Internet are: Diamond Muscat, Delight, Thomcord, and Black Emerald. Thomcord is supposed to have the Concord flavor I like but seedless, with okay skins.
Lon Rombough, an Oregon grower, who wrote The Grape Grower, recommends for seedless grapes: Jupiter, Neptune, Vanessa, Venus; and for seeded grapes: New York Muscat, Gold Muscat, Muscat Hamburg, Swenson Red, Price, and Foch (juice). David Karp, the fruit detective, calls seeded Alexander Muscat "the standard of high flavor" in grapes.
IÂm putting in an intensive planting of all of them, and will be yanking whatever doesnÂt taste wonderful. I have high hopes for Jupiter, but both my plants are slow growers, only one vine each, and may get run over by the growth spurts of the other vines.
Grapes are really easy to root from cuttings, grow fast, but will be a year or two before they are old enough to produce grapes.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 12:27AM
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johnnycadoseed(z9NV sunset 11)

Wow! What excellent advise! Both of the above threads will get you well on your way but I thought I'd put in my two cents.
Black Monukka-seedless-black
Cowart muscadine-seeded-blue
Golden muscat-seeded-green
Delicatessen- -
Please be aware that I haven't grown any of these verieties. I've been doing some homework on other verieties to grow besides my Thompson, Flame, Candice, Fantasy, Concord, and Concord seeless. Friutnut has talked me into trying Autumn Royal from an earlier thread. I live in the Las Vegas area with summers at 115 and a scrotching dry wind to go along with the temp. Do some homework on all of the mentioned verieties and should have sucess.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 11:31AM
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Kyoho was bred by the Japanese from American stock ( Cambell's Early and I forget what) and would be an excellent choice. It's very productive and has huge berries. It's produced by Orange County Nursery and retailed by Bay Laurel Nursery, among others. Your description of your ideal grape fits Jupiter grape to a tee. Jupiter is a recent release from the University 0f Arkansas and is an order of magnitude better than previous grapes. Start with Jupiter and you won't be disappointed- available from among others. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 10:23AM
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Thank you all so much for your advice! It helps a lot!

It is so comforting to know that Kyoho would be a good choice for my climate. I am also going to look at some other varieties recommended above like Concord, Flame and Jupiter. Can't wait to start digging!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 1:03AM
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question to altadenamara SoCal9
Where do you get Muscat Hamburg?
I'm trying to find who sales this type of grape which is delicious.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 11:22AM
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I bought the cuttings from Ron Lombough last spring, (and his book on growing grapes). All 4 of the cuttings that I put in a one gallon pot rooted. I separated them, and now have four plants 1-1.5 feet tall. They seem to be growing slower than the other vines, but are healthy, bushy, putting out green leaves.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lombough's Website

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 8:24PM
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I have no experience growing grapes, but am interested in planiting a small vineyard on my property, maybe 12 vines. I have researched planting and growing techniques, but unsure of the best reds for my area. Located on the PV Pennisula on the southern california coast, we have mild weather with a fair amount of fog in June. Summer temps are between 58F - 80F. Sept and october can bring some hotter days, but not that many. Lot is sloped and west facing. Sun from about 10 to 6pm. Any advise on the best reds to plant would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2009 at 2:31PM
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We were at the Farmer's Market on Coronado Island last August on a trip to San Diego and bought some grapes. They were huge and purple with large seeds. We saved the seeds and are attempting to grow them. Any suggestions on how to get them to grow or any idea on the variety? Many thanks.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2011 at 6:15PM
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