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Publication #HS 1152

Commercial Fresh Market, Wine, Juice, and Jelly Grape Cultivars for Florida, 20121

J. Breman and P. C. Andersen2

Commercial grape production requires cultivars that have high yield and quality and are also adapted to Florida's unique soils, weather, insects, and disease pressures. Other desired cultivar characteristics depend upon type of market and use. Fresh-fruit markets require a large-sized grape with high sugar content, a pleasing taste, an attractive, thin skin, and a dry scar-end, so the grapes will have a minimum of one week of shelf life (1). Wine, juice and jelly cultivars require consistently high yields. For muscadine cultivars to be economically viable, commercial yields should be at least eight tons/acre. Berries must have a minimum of 14 ºBrix at harvest and a favorable sugar:acid ratio (1). Color stability and the ability to maintain a good taste in the finished product are also requirements for grape juice or wine.

Figure 1. 

Muscadine grapes (assorted cultivars) after harvest at North Florida Research and Education Center, Suwannee Valley, Live Oak, FL, on Grape Field Day, August 2006.


[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

Southern bunch grapes (Vitis sp. hybrids) have been breed for resistance to Pierce's disease. Pierce's disease is caused by a bacterium, Xylella fastidiosa. Most southern bunch grapes require a spray program for fungal dicom(3), especially during wet growing seasons. Perhaps the most serious disease of bunch grapes is anthracnose (Elsinoe ampelina [deBary] Shear). One advantage of bunch grapes is that they are all self fruitful and do not require pollinizer rows planted next to them.

Muscadine grapes (Vitis rotundifolia) may not require any or may only need an occasional fungicidal spray, depending on the rainfall during the growing season and the disease problem (4). The disadvantage of muscadine grapes is that many of the large-fruited cultivars are pistillate, or female, and require self-fruitful companion rows in order to pollenize flowers sufficiently for commercial berry yields (1). Self-fruitful cultivars may often yield 40-50 percent more berries than female ones. However, many female cultivars tend to have larger berries, which is important for the commercial fresh-fruit market.

Grape root borer is the main insect pest for both bunch and muscadine grapes. Other minor insects might become problems, depending upon the season. Detailed insect-management information can be obtained from the reference EDIS publication (5).

Cultivars for processing are listed in Tables 1 and 2. All cultivars are self fruitful. Bunch weights are listed for bunch grapes only. A large bunch grape berry would be equivalent to a small muscadine grape berry.

Table 1. 

Commercial wine cultivars

Grape Type

Color

Cultivar

Type

Berry size

Berry weight

(grams)

Bunch weight

(grams)

Bunch

Purple

Conquistador

†SF

Small-medium

2.5

118

Light green

Stover

Blanc du Bois

Suwannee

Lake Emerald

SF

SF

SF

SF

Small-medium

Medium

Medium

Small

2.3

2.9

3.0

1.8

117

133

113

184

Muscadine

Black

Alachua

Noble

SF

SF

Medium

Small

6.5

4.0

---

---

Bronze

Carlos

Welder

SF

SF

Medium

Small

5.0

4.2

---

---

†SF = self fruitful. ‡Applies only to bunch grapes.

Table 2. 

Commercial juice and jelly cultivars

Grape Type

Color

Cultivar

Type

Berry size

Berry

Weight

(grams)

Bunch

weight

(grams)

Bunch

Purple

Conquistador

Blue Lake

SF

SF

Small-medium

Small

2.5

2.0

118

122

Light green

Suwannee

Lake Emerald

SF

SF

Medium

Small

3.0

1.8

113

184

Muscadine

Black

Alachua

Noble

SF

SF

Medium

Small

6.5

4.0

---

---

Bronze

Carlos

Welder

SF

SF

Medium

Small

5.6

4.2

---

---

SF = Self-fruitful pollination.

Applies only to bunch grapes.

Cultivars recommended by UF/IFAS for the fresh markets are listed in Table 3. The type of pollination is identified for each cultivar to help the producer plan the vineyard rows. Rows of self-fruitful cultivars can be planted next to rows of female cultivars to increase berry yield.

Table 3. 

Muscadine cultivars recommended for commercial fresh market

Color

Cultivar

Type

Berry size

Berry weight (grams)

Black

Black Beauty

Black Fry

Southern Home

F

F

SF

Very large

Large

Medium

12.5

12.5

6.5

Dark purple

Polyanna

Supreme

Farrer

SF

F

F

Medium-large

Very large

Large

9.5

15.0

12.5

Bronze

Fry

Granny Val

Pineapple

Summit

Sweet Jenny

Tara

Pam

F

SF

SF

F

F

SF

F

Very large

Large

Medium-large

Medium-large

Very large

Medium-large

Very large

12.7

12.5

10.0

10.0

15.0

10.0

15.0

SF = self fruitful, F = female.

Fresh-market muscadine cultivars recommended for trial plantings are listed in Table 4. Limited trial plantings are recommended before expanding acreage to determine whether those cultivars are adapted to the grower’s location. Additional cultivar information can be obtained from the reference EDIS publication (1).

Table 4. 

Fresh-market muscadine cultivars for planting on a trial basis

Color

Cultivar

Type of

pollenation

Berry size

Berry weight

(grams)

Black

African Queen

Ison

Nesbitt

F

SF

SF

Medium-large

Medium-large

Medium-large

11.5

11.5

11.5

Purple

Creek

SF

Small

3.0

Red

Big Red

F

Large

12.5

Pink

Darlene

F

Very large

15.0

Bronze

Doreen

Early Fry

Florida Fry

Golden Isles

SF

F

SF

SF

Small-medium

Large

Medium-large

Small-medium

5.0

12.5

11.5

6.5

SF = self fruitful, F = female.

A successful fresh-market cultivar also must have high consumer preference. 'Fry', the cultivar standard for the fresh-market industry, along with recommended cultivars, 'Tara' and 'Southern Home', were compared to berries from trial plantings of 'Ison' and 'Nesbitt' in a controlled consumer-panel test (2). The ratings ranged from 1, the lowest, to 9, the highest. Results of that test are presented in Table 3. 'Ison' and 'Nesbitt' were rated higher than 'Fry', but the difference was not statistically significant. 'Tara' and 'Southern Home' were rated significantly lower than 'Fry'. Consumer ratings of berry color, sweetness, and flavor were indicators of the overall cultivar-preference score.

Commercial producers for the fresh market might consider consumer preferences before expanding their plantings of any cultivar. Data in Table 5 show that two trial cultivars, 'Ison' and 'Nesbitt', were significantly preferred by consumers over 'Tara' and 'Southern Home'.

Table 5. 

Sensory evaluation results of selected standard and trial fresh-market muscadine grape cultivars

Cultivar

Fruit

Color

Color

Sweetness

Sourness

Flavor

Firmness

Overall

preference

Ison

Black

*6.6a

5.7a

4.8a

5.9a

5.7b

6.3a

Nesbitt

Black

6.4ab

6.2a

4.8a

5.8a

5.2bc

5.9a

Fry

Bronze

5.9b

5.8a

5.0a

5.8a

5.6b

5.8a

Tara

Bronze

5.1c

4.5b

4.3a

4.8b

4.7c

4.9b

Southern Home

Black

4.8c

4.8b

4.3a

4.8b

6.3a

4.9b

*Means separation in columns by Duncan’s multiple range test, at 95 percent confidence level. Means followed by the same letter are not significantly different. Subjects balanced for age and gender. Total consumer panel number (n) = 75.

References:

1. Andersen P.C., T.E. Crocker, and J. Breman. 2010. EDIS Publication HS763, The muscadine grape, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/HS100. Horticultural Sciences Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

2. Breman, J.W., A. Simonne, R.C. Hochmuth, L. Landrum, M. Taylor, K. Evans, C. Peavy, and D. Goode. 2007. Quality characteristics of selected muscadine grape cultivars grown in North Florida. Proceedings of the Florida State Horticulture Society. 120:8-10.

3. Crocker, T.E., J.A. Mortensen, and P.C. Andersen. 2008. EDIS Publication HS17A, The bunch grape, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg105. Horticultural Sciences Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

4. Momol, T., L. Ritchie, and H. Dankers. 2007. EDIS Publication PDMG-V3-15, 2007 Florida plant disease management guide: Grape (Vitis spp.), http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/PG011, Plant Pathology Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

5. Webb, S. 2003. EDIS Publication ENY-802, Insect management in grapes, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/IG071. Entomology and Nematology Department, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

Footnotes

1.

This document is HS 1152, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date November 2008. Revised January 2012. Visit the EDIS website at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2.

J. Breman, Union County Extension director, Lake Butler, FL, and P. C. Andersen, professor, Horticultural Sciences Department, North Florida Research and Education Center, Quincy, FL, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida.


The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.