- Vine varieties - seedless grapes for eating
Varieties grown in USA (information and ripening times are from USA):-
American grape breeders have responded to consumer preferences for
seedless grapes with the development of numerous improved varieties. The
seedless trait in grapes was originally derived from cultivars of ancient origin
such as Thompson Seedless, Russian Seedless and Black Monukka. Most seedless grapes suitable for
the eastern United States are descended from crosses with these cultivars.
Because the trait originated in cultivars not suitable for surviving the very cold
temperatures of New York winters, many seedless varieties are not sufficiently
winter hardy, although they are much hardier than their seedless parents. More
recently released seedless cultivars (Canadice, Einset Seedless, Reliance, and Vanessa)
represent a distinct improvement in cold hardiness. Breeding programmes in New
York, Ontario, Arkansas, and elsewhere continue to produce seedless selections
with improved hardiness and quality.
Three colour categories are distinguished: white, red and blue-black.
The degree of seedlessness varies greatly among seedless grape
varieties. Most seedless grapes have vestigial seed traces that range in size
from very small to large and noticeable. Seed traces in berries of the same
variety may vary greatly in size and in the hardness of their seed coats.
Climate is also known to affect seed trace size. Occasionally the seed traces in
some seedless grapes are large enough to be bothersome to consumers. Notes on
seed remnant sizes are given for varieties in which problems exist:-
Black Monukka: a purplish-black grape that, except for colour, is similar
in most respects to Thompson Seedless. Although it is hurt by temperatures that go below -23 °C, it
recovers well and is well worth keeping due to it's very high fruit
quality. Although a very old variety it is one of the best eating grapes.
Berries are large with tender skin. Bunches are medium-large and loose. Flavour is
crisp and sweet. Cane or spur pruning.
Canadice: early ripening, more
winter hardy than most seedless grapes, although trunk injury has
occurred on some sites. It produces medium (6"
- 8") clusters with small red berries that have a spicy grape taste. Excellent for fresh
use, good for juice, jelly, and wine.
Vigorous grower; sets lots of fruit reliably. With cordon training systems and careful management, vines can be
extremely productive. Fruit rot is a problem in wet years because the clusters
are excessively compact.
Bunch weight = 227 gm. Berry weight = 1.6 gm.
Concord Seedless: though similar in
flavour and texture to Concord, it is unrelated. The clusters and berries are
much smaller than those of Concord. The fruit matures a week earlier, has high
flavour, and makes excellent pies, jiuce and preserves. Productivity is erratic,
and it is not recommended for commercial planting. In warm years, the
variety produces fully developed seeds. It requires too much summer heat to ripen well in
Western Washington but is ok in hotter parts of USA.
early-ripening, winter-hardy, red seedless grape with a unique
strawberry-like flavour. The medium-sized clusters produce bright red,
oval berries with tender skin. Cultural problems include susceptibility to fungal diseases.
Along with Vanessa, it has probably the most commercial promise of the red
seedless varieties that can be grown successfully in New York.
Bunch weight = 145 gm. Berry weight = 2.3 gm.
Emerald Seedless: large attractive uniform bunches, conical, loose to well
filled. Berries medium to large, greenish yellow with tender skin. Extremely
susceptible to powdery mildew and somewhat susceptible to sunburn, so
efforts must be made to prevent this. Harvested between September 10 and October 15.
mid-season blue-black seedless. Large, firm, crunchy, flavourful berries.
It has a moderately low, non-reliable productivity in some areas.
Flame Seedless: early ripening,
red, crisp, sweet fruit. Good for fresh use, or it also a good raisin.
Firm skin resists cracking. High vigour and productivity. Vinifera parent.
America's most popular red seedless grape, found everywhere in supermarkets.
Glenora: ripens early
to mid-season. Medium to large clusters of small to medium, seedless, blue-black
grapes with tender skin. Sweet, spicy,
fine textured, highly flavoured flesh. Keeps well on the vine. Red-orange autumn foliage.
People who taste the fruit like it, saying it tastes "like blueberries".
It is sweet, crisp, seedless and flavourful.
A favourite home garden grape.
very early ripening. It produces large
bunches of medium size tender-skinned greenish-white berries with sweet, delicious, honey-like flavour and
melting, juicy texture.
The clusters are loosely filled, but cane
girdling, gibberellic acid treatments, or thinning may be used to increase
cluster compactness and improve berry size. Despite some cultural defects, Himrod is currently the most
commercially important of the seedless grapes grown in New York. Cane
pruning is advised.
Bunch weight = 163 gm. Berry weight = 2.1 gm.
Interlaken: very early ripening. Has a strong, pleasant, tangy flavour,
excellent for fresh eating or raisins. Vigorous,
disease resistant, bearing medium sized compact bunches, with
small-medium greenish-white berries with a slip skin. Birds often cause
Bunch weight = 122 gm. Berry weight = 1.5 gm.
Though an older variety, it is very hardy,
productive and flavourful. As an eating grape it is still superior to many of the
new tough-skinned seedless releases.
Jupiter: ripens early to mid-season. Plant patent 13,309 from the
University of Arkansas, produces naturally
large, oval, firm, tender, slip-skin, red-blue berries on medium sized
bunches. The flavour is excellent, with a mild
muscat character. Relatively new variety, it is said to be very productive, and more winter hardy than
Marquis and Himrod, but not as hardy as Reliance and Mars.
Berry weight = 4 to 5 gm in Arkansas.
ripens early to mid-season.
Somewhere between Himrod and Interlaken, Lakemont has large tight clusters of small to medium sized
greenish-yellow berries with tender skin, having milder but excellent flavour.
Cluster thinning prevents overcropping.
Bunch rot is often a problem. Keeps well in cold storage.
Bunch weight = 218 gm. Berry weight = 1.7 gm.
ripens mid-season. Clusters are very large, fairly compact and
attractive, with large, round, yellow-green berries. Texture is melting, and the taste is very
flavourful. Ripe fruit holds well on the vine, with the flavors going from a mild fruity
flavour when first ripe, to a stronger Labrusca flavour two weeks later.
Giberrellic acid treatment is not recommended, but well-timed cluster
thinning and cane girdling can increase berry size and improve cluster
compactness. Vines are moderately hardy, medium in vigour and productive.
Berry weight = 3.0 to 5.0 gm.
Mars: early ripening. Plant patent 5680, a release from the
University of Arkansas, is a vigorous, blue-black seedless grape. The flavour
is mildly labrusca, similar to Campbell's Early, and the berries have a
'slip skin' (a tough skin that separates readily from the pulpy
flesh). Clusters are medium sized, cylindrical, and well filled.
Hardiness has been good at Geneva, New York, and the vines are resistant
to several major diseases. Vines may bear fruit precociously, and
production should be controlled on young vines to prevent delays in
establishment. A home garden grape with limited potential for commercial marketing.
Bunch weight = 181 gm. Berry weight = 2.6 gm in Arkansas.
Neptune: ripens mid-season. Plant patent 12,302, a 1998 release
from the University of Arkansas. A medium-large yellow-green berry with a slip skin
(the skin slips easily away from the grape). The clusters are large and very showy, but
productivity is moderate. Flavour is mild and fruity (muscat), while fruit texture
is firm with a relatively thick skin that resists cracking, similar to many eastern seedless
grapes. Of moderate vigour, it is reported to be more winter hardy than Venus.
Berry weight = 3 gm in Arkansas.
Reliance: ripens early to mid-season, very reliable. Plant patent 5174, also from the
University of Arkansas (1982), produces large clusters of round, red,
medium-sized berries with a semi-slip skin. The skins are tender and the flesh is melting in
texture, with a sweet labrusca flavour. Colouring may be poor in some
years, and fruit often crack in wet seasons. Cold hardiness is among the
highest of the seedless varieties.
Bunch weight = 280 gm. Berry weight = 2 to 3 gm in Arkansas.
ripens mid-season. Produces large clusters of oval
seedless berries with firm 'meaty' texture. Highly productive so often requires cluster thinning.
The flavour is neutral and mildly
fruity. The clusters are very attractive in appearance but are subject
to bronzing where exposed to sunlight, and the vines are only moderately
hardy. This variety is recommended for backyard gardeners interested in
a neutral-flavoured, European-type grape that is more winter hardy than
commercially grown California seedless grapes.
Bunch weight = 308 gm. Berry weight = 2.7 gm.
Romulus Seedless: bunches are medium (to large) size, long, compact.
Berries are small (to medium), round, yellowish-white, with tender skin, soft flesh and pleasant flavour. It ripens later then most so it extends the season.
The fruit is good quality and stores well.
Hardy to -23 °C.
Saturn: ripens mid-season. Plant patent 6703, another University
of Arkansas release (1987), produces large, crisp berries on
medium-large conical clusters. The berries are bright red with adherent
skins and a mild flavour. Vines are precocious and moderately hardy at
best and must be cluster thinned. In some years the seed remnants are
very noticeable, especially in hot weather. Saturn has good storage potential and may be processed
into an acceptable blending wine. Hardy to -23 °C.
Bunch weight = 308 gm. Berry weight = 3.0 gm in Arkansas.
ripens early to mid-season. Produces medium to large clusters
of pink to bright red, round firm berries with a
mild spicy sweet flavour. The clusters are loose but may be made
more compact with the use of gibberellic acid or cane girdling. Winter
damage is often a problem except on Long Island, where the variety is
successfully cultured. Excessive vigour may occur following poor
crops and winter bud damage.
Bunch weight = 145 gm. Berry weight = 2.7 gm.
Suffolk Red is very hardy, productive, and appreciated by all
who test the fruit. The fruit is sweet and flavourful, with a melting,
soft texture, not crisp. It is a pleasant eating experience, but when
fully ripe the
cluster falls apart fairly easily, and the fruit crushes and cracks when
piled up, so transport to markets could be difficult. It is a good
choice for a garden. Reliance may be superior.
early ripening. Developed by HRIO, Canada, and is a red dessert grape of excellent
quality. The vine is moderately vigorous and among the hardiest of
seedless grapes. Grafting may be desirable on many sites to increase
vine size (vines grafted on 5C at trials in Fredonia, New York,
however, have shown poor fruit set with very small berries). The seed
remnant is usually large and soft; when noticeable it is sometimes a
cause for limited marketability. Deep-red berries are oval, medium in size on
medium-loose well-filled clusters. The flavour is mild and fruity. Berry texture is
firm and resists rain. Storage potential is good.
The fruit quality is among the best of the red seedless types.
Venus: ripens early to mid-season. Also from the University of Arkansas, is
a vigorous and productive blue-black seedless grape. Medium-large
clusters of large berries with mild labrusca
flavors. In New York, the seed remnants are hard and noticeable, and
fruit rot has been a problem at harvest. Fruit quality is only fair. Red-orange autumn foliage.
Bunch weight = 272 gm. Berry weight = 2.9 gm.
Other seedless varieties:-
Alborz: Dark red berry with a tender skin. Tasty and crunchy berry.
Currently the most widely planted table grape in Idaho for commercial
production. Under the right management techniques it has a medium size berry and
can have good production. Alborz is fairly cold tolerant and is harvested
between early and late September.
Autumn Royal: deep purple to black grapes. Large sized berries that are crunchy, firm and flavourful.
Beauty seedless (Black Beauty): early ripening, Vinifera parent, blue grapes, very large bunches.
Black Corinth: mid-season, Vinifera parent, black grapes, suffers badly from powdery mildew.
Black Emerald: black grapes.
Bronx Seedless: mid-season, red grapes, large bunches, may crack.
Centennial: early to mid-season, Vinifera parent, white grapes, very large berries, some cracking.
Challenger: early to mid-season (3 weeks before Concord), large dark-red
berries with a pleasant taste, hardy to -23 °C.
Crimson Seedless: red grapes.
Delight: early ripening, Vinifera parent, small to medium size yellow grapes with a tender skin, hardy only to -18 °C.
Dr Good: early to mid-season, white grapes, a new variety.
Fresno: small to medium size, yellow berry with a tender skin.
Menindee Seedless: white grapes.
Pasargad: medium size, red berry with a tender skin.
Perlette: yellow-green grapes.
Princess: large bunches of medium to large flavourful, tender berries that are a light
green colour, that is, if you can get the fruit
to set. Research is currently being done to solve this problem. If the variety
can show consistent fruit set, it would be commercially viable.
Ralli (or Anahita): medium to large size berry with a bright red color that will
become darker the longer it is left on the vine. Medium size attractive
clusters. Can be
susceptible to spring frost.
Royal Blue: mid-season, blue grapes, low vigour.
Ruby Seedless: late ripening, Vinifera parent, red-black berries with tender
skin, hardy only to -20 °C.
Summer Royal: black grapes.
Thomcord: blue-black grapes.
Thomson Seedless: a very old variety, originally known as Sultana (also Sultanina,
Sultanine etc). Pale green colour.
Veepie: early to mid-season, blue grapes, only suitable for tarts/pies.