G is a versatile letter that starts off many words, but today... G is for Grapes.
I grew up in a family that owns 10 acres of dry farmed vineyard in California (if you're in the Bay Area, check out The Zeni Ranch! Their Chestnut Festival is a great autumn experience, and the cut-your-own Christmas tree farm makes every Christmas holiday more fun!)
Anyway, I grew up with a basic knowledge of wine grapes, and even managed to expand that knowledge with a viticulture class in high school, which taught me most of the really scientific and technical stuff. So, when I moved into my new home in 2010, I pretty much new what to do when I found that old grapevine amongst the overgrown tree and honeysuckle bush.
Spouse informed me it was about 25 years old, and it was very neglected. It took a while to figure out how I could tackle it, but once I cut the honeysuckle bush off the fence and restrained it into a low growing bush (and pulled half the grapevine out of the tree!) I was able to prune the vine and get it tied up onto the fence. After that, it's pretty much a piece of cake training it to grow along the fence.
It is a very vigorous plant. Every year is sprouts new shoots and leaves, trails along the fence, and does it's best to try and take over the washing line. Every year I battle it back so we can continue to hang our clothes to dry in the summer! Unfortunately, I still have no idea what type of grape it is. It has small round berries that are dusty purple in color when ripe, they are highly flavored, and have large seeds. Your guess is as good as mine at this point!
If you are interested in seeing how I prune the grapevine, I did write a previous blog on just that subject! You can read about it here.
Although the grapes do have a lovely flavor, I find chewing my way through the seeds to be a chore, so I've been experimenting with home made wine. That will come in a later post, when the W blog rolls around for writing. I can tell you that this year I did collect 4 kilos of fruit! This was probably the best growing year yet, and that was just one vine.
Stick around readers! The next blog is coming right up. :) Thanks for reading, and keeping living, learning and loving!