Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Two Beauties from Northeast Ohio

           Well, a grape hunter doesn't go anywhere the wild vine grows and misses much.  Since relocating to Wooster, Ohio, for an unknown duration, I have been watching God's vineyard out my car windows and noticed two superb Vitis aestivalis var. bicolor vines essentially in my back yard (if a person has a back yard in an apartment!).  These potential mother vines have quite a bit of difference in their fruit.  Let me introduce them:

The Unitarian Universalist (UU) Fellowship of Wayne County
Vitis aesitvalis var. bicolor

The Oak Hill & Highland (OH&H) Vitis aesitvalis var. bicolor

Do you notice something right off?  Yes!  They both have FOUR clusters per shoot!   While this was not unusual in the vineyard it is not all that common for wild vines in the woods.  It is a very important trait in a wild mother vine because it usually carries through to hybrid offspring, and when self-fertility is bred in this leads to higher crop loads.

Now notice the cluster shapes.  The UU bicolor has cylindrical clusters common in Vitis aesitvalis, whereas the OH&H bicolor has smaller, irregular clusters tending toward conical.  The UU bicolor also has slightly larger berries than the OH&H vine.  The flavor of the berries are not radically different, and both have a better tannin content that the Blue Ridge Vitis aesitvalis var. bicolor did in general.  The seed coats are particularly well endowed in mouth-filling phenolics.  Both will be superb breeding vines to combine with large berry and cluster, self fertile, French hybrids like Chambourcin, Villard Blanc and Colobel to bring their superior traits back into the Norton flavor profile - with better cold hardiness to boot!

Let me leave you with some more eye candy from these vines!

UU bicolor

 Beautiful grape rootworm "lacing" of these leaves.  Note the different colors of the leaf surfaces - green above, waxy bluish green below.

OH&H bicolor

Enjoy!  And thanks for stopping by!

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