Valiant -- northern grape

don555(3a)September 27, 2011

Growing grapes in zone 3 in something that really appeals to me, and of the various (and limited) grapes we can grow, "Valiant" is definitely a top pick. Usually winter-hardy even above the snow-line, it is vigorous and productive, plus the fruit ripens early, so ripe grapes are pretty much guaranteed with a decent amount of sunshine, whereas many other grapes might not ripen even if the vines survive our winters. That said, Valiant fruit is small and seedy, hey, that's why we don't have vineyards around here!

I've grown Valiant off-and-on for 20 years. The fresh fruit is very tasty, like the Concord grape, but the plentiful seeds severely limits its appeal as a table grape. I tried making wine from my Valiant grapes a few years back, and the taste was okay, but nothing worth repeating.

I've put the fruit through a juicer and yes, it makes a very tasty juice, but having to freeze anything we won't drink within a few days makes this not too convenient.

So this year I made the fruit into jelly, and this is definitely the best, most yummiest use I've found for these grapes yet. Forget fresh eating, forget wine, these grapes yield jelly with a taste that will astound!

Grape harvest, September 17... harvest slightly under-ripe for best flavour and pectin content in the fruit:

Boiling up the brew:

The jelly is so dark that I needed strong sunlight to shine through and show some colour...

Strong sunlight on the jelly-jars, to show that the jelly is transparent.

So yummy!

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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

Beautiful, Don! I love taking pictures of things like that. It's very satisfying, isn't it? You'll enjoy that jelly this winter!

My daughter has two Valiants that were planted last year. The tiny vine on one plant produced a few tasty grapes this year and we're looking forward to a higher yield in years to come. :)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 8:25AM
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twrosz

Great to see and makes me realize I must give my vines better attention, as they're now in competition with other plants shading and infringing on their territory.

Am looking forward to what comes forth from the grape breeding program in Saskatchewan.

http://www.albertafarmfresh.com/Grape2009.pdf

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 1:44PM
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don555(3a)

Thanks for the link to the grape breeding program, made a fascinating read. I think that article was 2009, pretty hard to find more recent information, I hope the program was continued after the grad student running the program got their M.Sc. in 2010.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 5:55PM
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shazam_z3

Wow, excellent pictures, and excellent find with the grape breeding program!!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 6:42PM
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twrosz

Don, I believe the fellow that had conducted the grape breeding program was recently to speak at the Devonian Gardens, though was unable to make it. I would have been very interested in attending!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 7:17PM
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cmmwiebe

I bought several new plants and have had Valiant in the ground for a couple of years. Sadly the week of September 12 - 16 the frost was quite long though not that cold but all the leaves froze. Not sure if they will survive or not. The 2 new plants I kept in large pots with the intention of finding them a place indoors and with some cover for winter.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 10:54PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Great showing Don!
Looks like you had some fruit after a disappointing set back from winter kill.
I remember you had some 20 lb or so in the previous year.
I can see for myself that it's not super hardy, especially for out of town.
I let mine grow this year without pruning to get a good root system....still a young plant. How many leaders you get going?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 10:53PM
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don555(3a)

I didn't really know how to train grapes when I planted these vines (still pretty foggy about grape pruning), so I opted for the "sprawl" method, LOL. It's mostly just a big tangle of vines that I let grow as they please, pruning during summer mainly to keep things under control. Then each spring as the buds swell I look at what survived the winter and prune hard back to the live growth. There's much more madness than method in my grape pruning.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 4:00AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Thank you Don, hey, it works for you!
I think the problem here is, if you prune it to one or two leader, which is most common, then the risk of loosing this one or two is greater then heaving a whole bunch come up, then select the best cane's every spring.

I'm still new with pruning in this climate, I used to prune my parents grape in Switzerland, it had one main leader, HUGE, the base was about as thick as your arm, it went up on the house wall, branching away on the first floor, [under the windows] about 10 yards down, another side shoot grew on the second floor windows almost the length of the house, the end cane's were about hammer handle size. Out of these leaders new shoot came out every year and these we had to keep pruned back.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 8:18PM
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