Under the California sunlight is not the only place where you can grow a successful vineyard. Nowadays, you can grow grapevines just about anywhere. Since grapevines are naturally adaptable, even areas with extreme climates are now considered suitable for grape growing. Beginners should start off with a grape variety that does particularly well in their particular area or growing zone.
When deciding on a grape variety, remember that your location will have everything to do with your grape growing experience. Did you know that a grape variety that is grown in California will taste much different than that same variety grown in France? That is because soil and weather conditions contribute to the wines specific personalities. You can find out which varieties of grapes grow well in your area by talking to local vintners.
There are over five thousand different types of grape varieties including hybrids. Grape growers who live in areas where the growing season is shorter are limited to the hybrid grape varieties. Grapevines have been bred to last through cooler climates and to be more resistant to disease. But, it is the climate condition in your area that will mostly determine the varieties of grapes that you can grow successfully. Although grape hybrids can grow in cooler conditions, not every grape variety flourishes in every region of the world. You will still need to know the length of your growing season to determine what variety of grape will work best for you. The growing season is the average number of frost-free days. Some of the different grape varieties require longer growing seasons to fully ripen.
Wine grapes are all the same species known as vitis vinifera. However, within this species, there are hundreds of cultivars that vary in their characteristics. Vitis vinifera grapes are used for the production of wine because they have a tight skin perfect for making wine. It is the species that yields over ninety-nine percent of the world’s wines.
There are also red grapes and white grapes. Both types can be used to make wine. Some red grape varieties include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. Some of the white grape varieties include Chardonnay, Riesling, Sylvaner and Chenin Blanc. Vitis vinifera grapes come from the Mediterranean region, southwestern Asia, Spain, and central Europe. American grapes originated from the Vitis labrusca, and are found in Canada and the eastern United States.
Wine grapes are smaller in comparison to other types of grapes and usually seeded. They have thick skins, which is what is why they are so desirable since much of the aroma in wine comes from the skin. The grape species that are used for wine also tend to be very sweet. When these grapes are harvested, their juice is about twenty-four percent sugar by weight.
And while seventy-one percent of the world’s grapes are used for making wine, there are many other reasons to grow grapes. Grapes are also used for eating and as a dry fruit. They can be made into jelly, vinegar, candy, grape seed extract, seed oil, and jam.