About 3,000 tons of grapes were sold for fresh consumption in New York State in 1990 and 1991. Grapes are cultivated in many home vineyards, and their value to the commercial industry has increased in the last decade. A wide range of flavors and appearances are available among the grapes that can be grown in the Northeast. The grapevine species that served as a parent to many of these grapes is known as Vitis labrusca. Fruit of V. labrusca have a pronounced fruity flavor, often referred to as an "American" flavor. Table grape varieties mature over an eight- to ten-week period, and several can be stored for later use. Some table grapes (e.g., Alden, Golden Muscat, New York Muscat, and Steuben) produce acceptable wines as well. The approximate order in which table grapes ripen is listed in Table 1. Information on relative resistance to diseases and cold injury is found in Table 2.
Generally, the varieties described here are adapted to cool climate growing regions. Some may be suitable for use in the Northeast, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic growing regions of the United States.
The descriptions and information in Tables 1 and 2 may be used to help choose varieties suited to specific needs. Further information may be obtained from Cooperative Extension as well as from the references listed at the end of this publication.
Tolerance to winter cold temperatures is a complex phenomenon affected by health of the vine, crop load in the previous season, degree of vine acclimation to cold preceding exposure to a damage-inducing temperature, and other factors. Dormant buds may be damaged at one temperature and trunks at another temperature. The ratings of relative resistance to winter damage (Table 2) are generalized to reflect variation in responses by different varieties, although cultural practices and environmental conditions may reduce or increase a vine's resistance.
Several cultivars used primarily for wine or juice are also marketed as table grapes. These include Concord, Niagara, Catawba, Delaware, Diamond, Esprit, Fredonia, and Villard blanc. These varieties are described in a separate publication on wine and juice grape varieties (Reisch et al., 1993). In addition, the use of Concord for table grape production is described in detail by Zabadal et al. (1988).
Berry color is usually classified as white, red, blue, or black. White grapes usually range in color from light green to amber or light orange. Red varieties may vary from pink to deep red, and their coloration may differ with degree of ripeness and exposure of fruit to sunlight. The blue range includes types like New York Muscat, which have a reddish-blue color. Black grapes are typified by a dark, purplish-black color.
The weight per cluster and per berry, if available, is listed with each variety description. These data were collected from vines not treated with gibberellic acid or girdling, which are sometimes used on seedless varieties to improve berry size (Zabadal, 1986a, 1986b, 1992; Zabadal et al., 1988).