I am almost convinced to plant some bunch grapes but have some concerns. I have done all the reading on Pierce's Disease and consulted with the extension agents in three counties as well as talking the the folks down at Ison's.
The varieties I am considering are Concord, Sunbelt, Conquistador, Niagara, Reliance, Mars, Jupiter, and possibly Venus or Vanessa. Concord jelly grapes are my main goal as that is what was and is being grown back home in Alabama. It struck me as odd that over here (Hampton) that no one grows Concords or any other bunch grapes and muscadines rule. Back home (west of Birmingham) Concords rule and muscadines are relagated to the standard cedar post and hog wire arbor. I never had any concerns about growing grapes over there and truthfully was quite blissfully ignorant of the difficulties of growing grapes in the south. I have learned though that the difference may be a 500 foot elevation difference between there and here.
Most of my research to date has come up with mixed answers. The extension agents say don't do it the vines will get PD and die. Ok, I accept that but from my reading it is somewhat of a given that labrusca and vinafera grapes will eventually be infected and die down here. Thing is no one has been able to say when and how long before this happens. My concern is that if this will be a rapid event, ie. the vines die in three years, then I would be wasting my effort but if it is a long term eventuality then I could live with having to replace vines if I knew I could get some years of production before replacement.
Greg down at Ison's tells me that mildew and fungal diseases are a greater threat than PD and that infection will eventually occur and that may be years down the road before I see it in the vines. That is encouraging so I am 95% convinced with moving foward and building my trellis. The one thing that gives me pause though is that no one can direct me to someone who is currently growing bunch grapes successfully in my area. In otherwords I want to see the proof. Can anyone help me?
BTW the sunbelt and conquistador were picked to compare to the concord because some information refers to sunbelt as an improved concord for our area and the conquistador is PD resistant but of a concord type. The others just because I want something different and to extend the harvest, besides I love niagara juice.