Neptune grapes? What?
This spring one of my gardening priorities is developing Rosslyn’s long term fruit production. I’ve spent the last couple of years salvaging long abandoned apple trees, and this spring I’m planting additional fruit trees, shrubs and vines. Sounds factory farm-like… Not at all what I’m going for, so let’s start again!
Neptune Grapes and Reliance Grapes
On March 28 I placed an order with Double A Vineyards for four grapevines, two Neptune grapes (a seedless white grape variety) and two Reliance grapes (a seedless red grape variety). Taking advantage of today’s beautiful mid-70’s weather I planted all four grapes along the garden meadow fence, filling in some of the gaps between the grapes I planted last year.
The grapes arrived at the end of last week, but I was unable to plant them before heading down to Montclair, New Jersey to celebrate Easter with my in-laws. Fortunately the grapevines were well packaged in damp, shredded newsprint wrapped in plastic. I left the package sealed in the carriage house to avoid drying out the roots, and they were still damp (but not moldy) when I opened them up today.
Why Reliance and Neptune Grapes?
Unfortunately wine production has been limited by the incredible efficiency of the wild turkey and deer who consistently gobble the crop as each variety ripens.
So, why’d I pick these Neptune grapes and Reliance grapes? Why not!
All of the grapes I’m growing are primarily table grapes (as opposed to wine grapes), and because it’s a lot more enjoyable to eat seedless grapes, I’m mostly narrowing my variety selection to avoid seeded grapes. Although I may later add in a small wine grape vineyard, my short term priority is food, not wine.
We planted a vineyard of wine grapes in Rock Harbor in the mid-1980’s and it’s done surprisingly well over the years. Unfortunately wine production has been limited by the incredible efficiency of the wild turkey and deer who consistently gobble the crop as each variety ripens. I do have a few bottles of our own foxy Dry Gulch Vineyards wine in the Rosslyn wine cellar, and I’d be remiss not to offer a hat tip to my parents who actually made two delicious wines last fall, one a lively red from a wide range of grapes from the vineyard supplemented with plenty of native wild grapes. The second was a popular dry apple wine made from fruit purchased at one of the orchards in Peru, New York.
Reliance and Neptune Grapes Diversify Vineyard
I’m meandering. Back to Neptune grapes and Reliance grapes. I chose these seedless grape varieties to supplement the existing grapevines I planted last spring: Himrod, Catawba, Concord and Mars. According to the good folks at Double A Vineyeards, Neptune/101-14 (Seedless) will afford us a not-too-late crop of super sweet fruit!
A mid-season variety with medium sized berries on a conical shaped cluster. Fruity berries have high sugar solids with good resistance to cracking. (Double A Vineyards)
And Reliance, another mid-season ripener, also offers a sweet alternative to some of the tart fruit I’ve already planted. And melting flesh!
Produces large clusters of round, red, medium-sized berries. The skins are tender and the flesh is melting in texture, with a sweet flavor. Coloring may be poor in some years, but cold hardiness is among the highest of the seedless varieties. University of Arkansas Ontario/Suffolk Red cross. (Double A Vineyards)
Lake Champlain Floods, but Rosslyn Vineyard Thrives
Rain is predicted for the next few days. Heck, with the exception of this weekend, the forecast for the next ten days is rain, rain, rain! So while Rosslyn dock house submerges, the grapes will prosper. There’s always a silver lining!