NEW VARIETIES OF GRAPES.
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BY S. J. PARKER, M. D., ITHACA, N. Y.
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In this brief article I wish to notice a few grapes either entirely new, or now receiving public approbation, but hitherto neglected; and even yet comparatively unknown. Perhaps no new grape is, at the present moment, more largely cultivated, or better proven, than—
Ives's Seedling. It was found a chance seedling growing in the garden of H. Ives, esq., of Cincinnati, Ohio; and he being at that time secretary of the Cincinnati Horticultural Society, introduced it to its members and gave cuttings to them. These fell, among others, into the hands of Mr. Waring, George Graham, esq., and Dr. Kittredge, who are, if my information is correct, with Mr. Ives, to be accredited for the proving of this valuable grape, and announcing it to the public.
   Various conjectures have been made as to the parentage of this new and excellent vine. At one time Mr. Ives attributed it to the Madeira, just as too many give foreign-birth blood to every good fruit. But its wonderful resistance to the rot and mildew of Cincinnati proves it to be eminently native. Others, of whom the intelligent George Graham, esq., is one, see the characteristics of the Hartford Prolific in it. But the fact that "it so closely resembles the Hartford Prolific as not to be distinguishable from it, except by its clusters," as says Mr. Washburne, of Illinois, is no reliable proof on this point, in my opinion. Mr. Graham says, in almost the identical language just given, it "is probably a seedling from the Hartford Prolific, as the vine bears a strong resemblance to that variety, and can be scarcely distinguished from it, except in time of ripening and coloring, which, in the Ives, is much earlier than the other." It has also been attributed to the Concord and other seed. Its parentage can never be certainly known, and hence we must take it as it is. Its history (since its discovery and the distribution of cuttings to the gentlemen named) is this : Mr. Waring, "who is a cultivator of grapes," first made wine of it, but was, on the first trial, not very successful. So vigorous was its growth, so excellent its habits, that he multiplied his vines. "Dr. Kittredge, his neighbor, also, about the same time, made wine of it; his grapes being fully ripe." Eminent success attended the Dr.'s experiment, as his wine proved to be a red wine, similar to a fine Burgundy. This seems to have confirmed our Cincinnati grape friends, so given to wine-making, in their estimate of the value of this grape.
   Mr. Waring, in 1803, had two acres in fruitage, and Mr. Graham informs me that "the two acres, in 1863, 1864, and 1865, suffered very little from rot or mildew, and produced 450 gallons of wine to the acre, in those seasons when the Catawba and other grapes were a failure." Here I take occasion to say, that I would not have the American or European reader of these pages suppose, because certain writers at Washington, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and elsewhere, constantly make mildew and rot the test of value in a grape, that therefore all our citizens necessarily have the same rule. I live in the Cayuga valley, where rot in red grapes does occur to some, and at times to serious, extent. But mildew is never to be complained of. Such are most grape regions in this country, so entirely free, that wherever mildew is named, the bias of the writer's locality must be token into consideration as an exception to the general rule. But the resistance of Ives's Seedling to the evils of the Cincinnati locality is high praise of it, as it promises to become, at no distant day, their wine grape. The wine made of Ives's Seedling "in 1864 sold for $4.50 per gallon." The vintage of 1865 was worth more. "Wines of Catawba and other natives were not worth more than $2 per gallon" at the same time.
   Description.— Ives's Seedling is a large, dark purple or black grape, growing in a medium to a large bunch, beautifully compact and neat in its appearance. It contains much sugar and a fine high aroma. The vine is very vigorous, "the stock strong, and producing canes of one-year's growth sometimes twenty feet long." The leaf is hardy and resists the attacks of insects and disease. General appearance resembles the Hartford Prolific, but is more free in its growth, and earlier, prolific, and more profitable.
   George Graham, esq., whose words I have quoted so often, says : "I have analyzed this wine, which is a very popular wine with the Germans of our city, and consider it one of our best native wines. The wine of 1864 contains 13½ degrees of alcohol. The must in the press-room averaged about 86 degrees. The wine is a beautiful claret color, delicate in flavor, and by many considered equal to fine Burgundy." Such being its character, by the testimony of such gentlemen. as I have quoted, this vine will be widely diffused and proven. A permanent red or claret wine is not a common American wine. Our northern wines, whatever their color, easily lose it in the second fermentation. A real claret grape will fill a wide gap in our grape demand.

Miller's Seedlings.

   Next we name the seedlings of Samuel Miller, esq., of Camdale, near Avon, Pennsylvania. I had supposed the mountain-protected lands of Lebanon county, Pennsylvania, peculiarly favorable to the grape. But in writing to Mr. Miller of the entire freedom of vines in central New York from mildew, I said that a vine in the Cayuga, Crooked lake, or other valleys of New York, seriously injured or entirely ruined by this disease, would be a curiosity; he replied, "I have it by the cart-load." Such being the unfortunate locality of Mr. Miller, on the latitude of mildew, the seedlings he has raised deserve the more notice by every one; and he the credit of perseverance, as well as of being one of our best seed planters of the vine.
   One of the seedlings raised by him, less generally valued, but quite diffused everywhere, is
The Louisa.—This was grown from seed sent to Mr. Miller by Mr. Longworth, of Cincinnati, Ohio. It is considered by most as a mere common Isabella. It certainly is an Isabella. Its value is realized only in those places where the common Isabella fails to ripen to the delicious excellence which it attains where the writer lives. Where no Isabella will ripen, it is, of course, a failure. Where the common Isabella is in its prime, it is not specially needed. But in that midway region I am pointing out, it is an acquisition, and good everywhere.
[description in The Grapes of New York]
   Description.— Louisa is a large grape, on a quite large bunch, more shouldered than the common Isabella, and its pulp less and sweeter. Well ripened and cared for, it is a choice grape. The vine grows far more freely than its parent, the Isabella, with larger and stouter roots.
   Martha.—This is probably the best of Mr. Miller's seedlings. It was obtained from Concord seed in the following manner : Soon after eating the Concord, for the first time, Mr. Miller found himself reasoning in his own mind, "if such a grape could be got, as Mr. Bull says, 'in the second generation' of a wild fox-grape, will it not go on and improve still more?" He saved and planted seed. Five plants survived the second year; were transplanted into good but unprepared ground, set about six feet apart, staked, and numbered I, II, III, IV, and V. In a few years numbers I and II bore a few berries, which "tasted good." The next season number I bore a crop that was admired by all who saw it. Number II bore a few berries, as it has since continued to do, but no sufficient crop; and on that account I fear it is not worth propagating. Number IV also bore that year, and was a large, excellent black grape. Since that time numbers III and V have fruited. Number III is a white grape which promises well; number V a black, late grape, resembling, in color and shape, the Concord, but three weeks later than its parent, and of course not as valuable. They have been named— No. 1, Martha; No. 2, Eva; No. 3, Macedonia; No. 4, Black Hawk; No. 5, Young America. Martha, I named after Mrs. Miller, of Camdale, Pennsylvania. It is large in its berry and bunch, more shouldered than the Concord; pale yellow, with a delicate bloom; few seeds, and these small, no pulp worth the name, and, as many exclaim on eating it, "sweet as honey," with a fine spicy aroma; perfectly hardy and healthy. It is, in a word, a white Concord, with all the excellencies of that grape, with merits of its own. Such being the case, its diffusion must be very extensive. It has, as yet, been proven in but few places, but those have further confirmed its value. No white grape on the whole list of American grapes stands as high in its reputation as this. If in the vineyard and garden, east and west, it sustains its reputation, then at last we have a white grape worthy the name; for the Rebecca, good as it is, is a mere dwarf in its growth; the Lydia, vigorous but comparatively tasteless; the Cuyahoga, one of the finest imaginable clusters, but late and insipid; the Spencer, small and flavorless; and others with equal faults. But Martha seems a tough, hardy, rigorous, sweet, early grape, just suited to the broadest domain of our grape lands. Its wine is also praised; for at the east, though the Concord makes a fair wine, we have yet to see a bottle of the highest wine excellence. Martha makes a delicate white wine, with aroma enough to be called by its admirers "superb." The vine loads itself with its fruit.
[description in The Grapes of New York]
   Eva.—This is No. 2 of Mr. Miller's five Concord seedlings. It is a white grape, admirable in quality. If Miss Eva will only become prolific, and decorate herself with fair and full clusters, she will have a name; if not, she is lost irrevocably.
[description in The Grapes of New York]
   Macedonia.—This is No. 3 of Mr. Miller's collection. It is said to be a large, early, tine white grape, less vigorous in its growth than the Martha, but promises well. This completes the white grapes of Mr. Miller. Ephraim Bull, esq., of Concord, Massachusetts, and several other gentlemen, have also white Concord seedlings. They will confer a favor if they also let them be known.
[description in The Grapes of New York]
   Black Hawk.—This is Mr. Miller's No. 4. It is a large, black grape, fully equal in size to the Concord, its parent, and "a week earlier, and much sweeter." Its bunch is large, berry nearly round, vine perfectly hardy, remarkably vigorous, habits unexceptionable. It has the remarkable peculiarity that its leaf is so dark a green as to appear almost black. So far it has proved to be a Concord, with the Concord leaf intensified, a Concord grape slightly enlarged, and much improved.
If this latter sentence be true, then no more need be said. The Concord is one of the very best, if not the best, of all our grapes; and a grape larger, earlier, and sweeter cannot be praised—it can only be had, eaten, and enjoyed.
[description in The Grapes of New York]
   Cuyahoga —This grape is perhaps better known than some of those I have just named. It comes to us from Cleveland, Ohio; it has received, perhaps, too much praise. It is a medium-sized white grape, on a medium bunch. It ii, when fairly grown, one of the most beautiful clusters of any of our grapes. I cannot call it either early, very hardy, or sweet. It is moderate in growth. For latitudes where No. 2 of Rogers's, Young America of Mr. Miller's, and other later grapes, will ripen, it will ever be a favorite for its graceful bunch and delicate berry. As I have seen it, it is very prolific. I have seen canes perfectly loaded with its charming fruit.
[description in The Grapes of New York]
   Norton's Virginia.— This is an old grape, too old to be properly placed in this list, were it not that, accidentally, it has been recalled from the tomb of discarded grapes into which it was, for some reason, cast. It is reputed, probably without good reason, to be a seedling of Dr. Norton, of Richmond, Virginia, introduced about 1840, and hence, if it had value, should have had its merits tested long ago. Not until it fell by some means into the hands of the German vineyardists at Herman, Missouri, did its true value come to be appreciated. The results of its culture there have been extensively announced by George Husman, esq., residing in that place. He considers it one of our best grapes for the value of its wine, as his statistics show. If any objection is to be made to his conclusions, it is in the fact that these Germans are slow to test new grapes, and some of our other valuable wine grapes they never have tried to any reasonable extent, in comparison with it. His figures are such as to show that none of their vines compare in quality, or productiveness and economic value, with this one. He says he received it by a few cuttings sent him by Samuel Miller, esq., whose name I have mentioned so often in this article; that he grafted it on a Catawba, and that he and a neighbor grew, each, one cutting on its own roots. This was his commencement; that it proved so valuable, that at the present time, no grape has such "immense" loads of fruit, or equal it in flavor, sweetness, and wine aroma.
   The true history, doubtless, is, that Dr. F. A. Lemosy, of Richmond, Virginia, about 1836, while on a duck hunt on Cedar island, of the James river, (a rocky isle, four miles above Richmond,) found a wild grape, sweet and pleasant to eat His son and himself for several years picked its fruit. They told Sir. John Carter and Dr. Norton of it. Mr. Carter cut off the top for propagation. Dr. Norton transplanted the root of the vine. Proving valuable, it became known. Founded on facts like these, Norton's Virginia is now being eagerly sought for, largely planted, and much wine made of it.
   Description.—It is a small black grape, round, on a long stemlet. Bunch long, straggling, and very graceful, sometimes shouldered. Pulp feeble, too harsh in most places for the best table grape. When well ripened in a good soil it has a finer bunch, much sugar, and an aroma that is pleasing in its wine. It is hardy, rapid in its growth, full and constant in its loads of fruit, excellent foliage, and its vineyard qualities give it its reputation; and extensive tracts of vine-lands may be found where it will be the most valuable grape that can be grown. It is worth trial and testing everywhere, in those places in which it will ripen.
[description in The Grapes of New York]

OTHER NEW GRAPES.

In the hands of several gentlemen are the Diana-Hamburg, crosses of the foreign Black Hamburg on the Diana, and with the marks of both parents in the offspring. At least three independent parties are reputed to have made this hybrid. It is said to be a far sweeter and larger grape than the Diana, though retaining its compact bunch, and much of its flavor. Like Rogers's excellent and valued hybrids, its seeds give both red and black grapes.
   Several gentlemen have also made the hybrid of Concord- Hamburg in like manner. At least two such have promise of large size and fine aroma, with the hardiness of the Concord.
   Several seedlings also are arising that are yet little known, but whose value will, without doubt, be greater than some kinds now well known.
   Did time and space permit, it would be a pleasure to me to state what I believe is the level at which some older grapes now stand, as proven by the experience of a few years past. For example, Rebecca. This, I believe, is demonstrated to be a grape that, in fair, unstimulated growth, in places where mildew never prevails, by fair, honest vineyard treatment, is a fine yellowish white grape, growing in a loose and not very perfect bunch; and on a vine so little disposed to vigorous growth, that it needs to be set three or four feet apart in the row, and rows six feet from each other, and rarely covers a trellis over three feet high. It is a sweet, delicious grape where I reside, and with such culture may be profitably made a vineyard vine. It is in this manner—and not by excessive praise, or culture in beds of manure trenched deep in the soil, in a style wholly impossible to be had or done everywhere—that the true value of any grape is to be known. A grape or a vine that will not grow in good, moderately strong soil, on which vines have never been raised, and bear remunerative loads of fruit wholly without manure, is hardly worth classing among the best grapes to be grown in that locality.
   Speaking of excessive praise, I have no doubt that the best American grape ever produced may be so commended that no intelligent mind can otherwise than receive it suspiciously. When a writer ignores good grapes, and misuses his competitors, he casts grave doubts on his own favorites. We believe that while the grapes we have named may perhaps not prove the best we have, their claims should be fully and fairly tested; and they may prove to be the very best we have on our lists. What we need more than all else is, not excessive and exclusive praise of any one grape, but fair, lucid, honest statements of the qualities of every grape. He who proves and impartially states his results is ever to be commended.
   So, too, we need that those who have grapes little known should plant a few acres and fairly test them, both for the table and for wine. We cannot safely bay or trust the fruitage of one, two, or half a dozen vines, petted in their care, grown on the south side of a house or barn, and in the richest compost the owner can command. But field culture, without shade or favor, with little or no manure, in pure air and sunlight, and with a thousand vines, will develop what is in a grape.
   In conclusion, let no one think the selection. I have made for description is to their neglect. I have no favorites. I would gladly describe any other really good vine. It is the fault of the owners or of the grapes that they are not known. I hope, if life is continued, to extend this list of grapes whose dawning or proven merits are so great that they call for examination by every one interested in grapes. Letters of inquiry unanswered, vines hidden under their own bushel, is my reason for not naming three or four others which I have reason to consider very well worth culture.