Winegrowers Supplies -  Vine variety information

Suffolk red - Seedless

Father: Russian Seedless

Note: Russian Seedless is a synonym for Black Kishmish but has been used, incorrectly, as a synonym for Black Monukka. Russian Seedless was reported to be a parent of both Glenora and Suffolk Red; in both of the original publications (Einset, 1973; Pool et al., 1977) the parent was described as "probably" being Black Monukka. DNA analysis by Cornell has now shown that only Black Kishmish, not Black Monukka, produced fingerprints consistent with parentage of Glenora and Suffolk Red.

Year of breeding: 
Country of origin: USA: New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Cornell University, Geneva, NY 14456.

A breeding programme to produce seedless grapes was begun by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in 1919. A major goal of the programme was to combine the seedless character that is derived from winter cold tender, disease susceptible grapes of Mediterranean origin with native American grape varieties in order to produce seedless varieties which are adapted to New York growing conditions.

Between 1919 and 1976, four white (Interlaken, Himrod, Romulus, and Lakemont) and one red (Suffolk Red) seedless varieties were released. They all share the attribute of having as one parent a Mediterranean grape variety. This inevitably results in some reduction in the vines ability to survive winter cold. The above named cultivars are classified as low in winter hardiness for harsh USA winter conditions where below -25 C can occur.


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.

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.