Seedless Table Grapes recommendations, please ...

ashleysf(9 San Jose,CA)January 12, 2010

I grew a Concord seedless grape vine 10 years ago. It was healthy and lush but not a hint of flowers or fruit. I took it out after 6 years of no fruit. I was told at that time that I should try my luck with varieties suitable for my zone. So, what are the seedless grapes that would do well in my area? My local area nurseries have bare root grapes and now would be a good time for me to try my hand again at grape growing. I live in San jose. TIA.

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San Jose is zones 15 and 16 according tot eh Sunset Western Garden Book (a nice book to have if you want to know what works in your area).

Here are the table grapes that should do well for you:

Concord (yep)
Golden Muscat
Niagara (ssedless)
Ruby Seedless

Cultivar selection is the number 1 key to getting grapes you can eat.

After that, pruning to encourage fruiting spurs or canes is critical. The SWGB offers good how-to on that, as well.


    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 10:19AM
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Gotta disagree with the previous post. Looks like it was pulled from some sort of list. Concord-NO, once good but replaced by Steuben as go to seeded grape. Available from Henry Fields. The rest range from maybe OK to forget it. The seedless grape you really want is Jupiter, available from Words alone cannot convey the total superiority of Jupiter. I live in zone 7 in the Sierras and have tried about 20 varieties over the years. You will almost never get good varieties or good advice at local nurseries.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 6:23PM
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Yes, the post was, indeed, "pulled from some sort of list".

My list. The list I created to hand out to the students in my "Fruits, Nuts and Berries" classes that I teach here.

These are the cultivars that have performed well here in our area (Zones 15 and 16).

'Jupiter' is a grape developed in Arkansas and I have yet to see it down here in 15 and 16. Might be good.

I have not seen 'Steuben' here, either. Another grape developed for cold country.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 6:57PM
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Out of curiosity, why did Perlette not make your list, GG1950?

    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 10:06PM
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I'm not sure. It should do fine here (15-16). I'll have to check with my students and clients to see if anyone has any growing.

Thanks for the reminder.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2010 at 10:20PM
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Ashley- Concord seedless grape is one of the sorriest varieties ever released for sale. Six years is a long wait for nothing, so be sure to get this one right. I would suggest checking out "The Grape Grower " by Lon Rombough from the library. You could also post your question on the fruit forum which gets a lot more attention.

GG- Local experience is very valuable. Still, if you haven't tried something, you don't have experience. I'm curious if the vinifera varieties you are suggesting (Ruby, Ribier) are being grown without any spraying. I've grown Ruby, Interlaken, Concord, and Concord seedless, none of which were good enough to not be ripped out and replaced. I used to live in Mountain View , so I'm aware of the south bay mild climate. It makes me cringe when I hear Concord recommended. It was discovered more than 150 years ago, and breeders have been working constantly ever since to improve it. I've got Alden Alwood, Schuyler, Yates, Catawba, Cambell's early, Kyoho, and Steuben (removed Concord) all of which are better than Concord. For me, Steuben is by far the best of the bunch. It's the best tasting (mild and fruity), most productive, earliest bearing (2 years), and is very disease resistant. My opinion is that anywhere Concord will grow, Steuben will do better. Jupiter is a major breakthrough in viticulture. Its got great disease resistance from it's labrusca parentage, great flavor and seedlessness from it's vinifera genes, is very productive and has large berries for a seedless grape. It thrives in a wide range of climates and is the first grape to plant in ninety percent of the continental US. Guru, you've just gotta stick in the ground yourself to get it.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 10:58AM
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I DO and HAVE "stuck in the ground". As well as teaching off and on for 30 years, I'm a gardener. A real gardener. And I try things all the time. I do "get it".

Have you actually grown Jupiter and Steuben in San Jose?

The original poster seems to be a newbie and I'm going safe with her for the first time around. Do you feel your "opinion" is a viable option for her?


    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 11:50AM
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From the Santa Clara County Master Gardeners site recommended varieties are:
Black Monukka, Black Rose, Cardinal, Delight, Exotic, Flame Seedless, Perlette, Ribier, Ruby Seedless (KingÂs Ruby), Flame Tokay and White Malaga

American Hybrids:
Black Muscat (Muscat Hamburgh), Catawba, Delaware, Delicatessen, Diamond, Golden Muscat, Iona, Jefferson, July Early Amber, Moscato d'Adda, Moscato di Terracina, New York Muscat, Niagra, Perle de Csaba, Queen of the Vineyard, Niabell, Niagra, Pierce, Suavis, Wapanuka and Xlnta

I went through this decision process this Fall and decided to try Reliance and Glenora (not on these lists go figure). I have tried the Ruby Seedless twice - and it was not a very vigorous plant for me. The true Concord (with seeds) is a lovely plant (nice fuzzy leaves) and very vigorous - but those seeds....

Chad in Los Gatos CA zone 9

    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 12:58PM
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That's a great list. Thanks.


    Bookmark   January 15, 2010 at 1:15PM
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calistoga_al ca 15 usda 9

Here in Calistoga, famous for wine, as well as in San Jose, famous for fruit, most sites get plenty of sun. However those sites(like mine)that don't, will have a problem producing a lot of grapes, regardless of variety. Al

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 9:21AM
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You guys have me worried! I live on the peninsula in Bay Area and just purchased a Thompson Seedless grapevine. I was told it performs reliably around here....though there are folks who swear there are better tasting grape varieties -- I wanted a safe bet. I just got it in ground last week. Is it destined for a doom? What is the general experience with Thompson? My climate is a bit colder than Asheleysf's (I am about 20 miles up north the peninsula).

I'd appreciate reassurance or guidance :-) At this point I am willing to just ditch the variety if it's not likely to succeed.

Thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2010 at 9:36PM
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ashleysf(9 San Jose,CA)

First of all, thanks for all the suggestions and taking the effort and time to educate me and help me. I decided to buy Ruby seedless and Perlette after taking the list on this thread to a competent nursery person and discussing it with them and also based on local availability. I have also placed an order for a Kyoho - just because I like the fruit so much that I am willing to try growing it.
homey_bird, what I was told at the nursery I went to is that if you are in a cooler area, you need to buy varieties that require less heat to produce fruit and ripen (btw/ what I did not mention is that i also had a Thompson seedless that i planted at the same time as my ill fated Concord and it got a really bad case of white mildew 2 years in a row that I decided to remove it several years ago - I was not spraying anything on them at that time).
You may want to keep your Thompson vine for a couple of years (I hope you planted it in full sun) and see if you get fruit - you might be luckier than I. If not, you can always get another one to try. As for me, I am keeping all my new grapes in large pots for a couple of years and move it around until I find a place in my yard where they fruit reliably. Good luck - as someone told me in another thread, this is just a hobby and supposed to be fun :)

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 1:02AM
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Asheleysf, thanks :-) I have two neighbors within couple of blocks who are growing tons of grapes in their front yards successfully! I guess I need to go get the varieties that they are growing!!

Since your Thompson did not produce in couple of years, I am guessing that mine won't either -- since I am in a cooler area than you -- unless it requires less heat naturally. I'll wait and see I guess.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 11:17AM
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ashleysf(9 San Jose,CA)

homey_bird, I was recommended Perlette at the nursery for a seedless green grape with low heat requirement and that is why i got it. And yes, the varieties that your neighbors are growing would be a good bet too.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 1:12PM
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I would second the concern about powdery mildew. When I tried Thomson seedless in Los Gatos it went nuts the first year - filling my entire trellis, however in the late summer it was covered with powdery mildew - I was not using fungicide. Growth was much diminished in the next year, but still the fungus issues, so I removed them. Another concern is that in my area we might not get enough heat to fully ripen the fruit beyond 'tart'.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2010 at 1:38PM
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caavonldy(8/9 N CA)

Concord grapes have such a good flavor. I would like to find a good seedless grape with the real "grape" flavor. We had a concord with seeds when we bought our last home. It was covered with grapes every summer but we had to spit out the seeds or just use them for jam or juice.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 1:58PM
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I live in the Southern San Joaquin Valley (Bakersfield). Our region is well known for producing abundant table grapes, so I decided to give them a shot last year. I bought 1-year old vines from Nature Hills nursery. The two varieties I purchased were Concord (simply because I have serious doubts that they actually taste like that horrid "grape juice" sold in bottles, and wanted to find out for myself), and Himrod Golden.

The Concord grew decently, but only produced one cane which I would call "viable". It grew to about 12' along the wire.

The Himrod, however, took off like a rocket. The two main canes this year each shot out about 17', and the foliage was large and healthy looking.

I am very curious to see if these vines will produce fruit this year. We get PLENTY of sun and heat in this region during the summer, so...fingers crossed.

On a side note: Does anyone have experience growing wine varieties in the Southern San Joaquin?? That's what I'd really like to experiment with, but don't want to wait several years to find out I'm an idiot....

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 2:54PM
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ashleysf(9 San Jose,CA)

fruithack and Chad, I decided to mail order a couple of the types of grape vines recommended by you. I am thinking of trying Jupiter and Glenora (saw an old post by fruithack saying this is the best tasting grape in his opinion). Are there any California sources for these vines? Some websites do not ship to California because of state regulations. TIA for you help.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 9:49PM
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Ashleaf- has both and ships to CA. Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2010 at 10:25PM
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tammysf(9b/10a or sz15/16)

Ashley. I think raintree has jupiter.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 12:26AM
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ashleysf(9 San Jose,CA)

thanks, fruithack and tammy. Raintree was the one who told me that Jupiter can not be shipped to CA. I will give starkbros a try.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 1:32PM
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