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pp. X., 337.
ART. V.-1. An Elementary Treatise on American Grape Cul
ture and Wine-making. By PETER B. MEAD. New York:
Harper and Brothers. 1867. pp. iv., 483. 2. Vineyard Culture Improved and Cheapened. By A. Du
BREUIL. Translated by E. and C. PARKER. With Notes and Adaptations to American Culture, by JOHN A. WARDER.
Cincinnati, Ohio : Robert Clarke & Co. 1867. pp. X., 3. The Grape-Vine. By FREDERICK MOHR. Translated by
CHARLES SIEDHOF. New York: Orange Judd & Co. 1867.
pp. vii., 129. 4. The Wine-maker's Manual. By CHARLES REEMELIN. Cin
cinnati, Ohio: Robert Clarke & Co. 1868. pp. viii., 123. 5. Address of DR. C. W. GRANT, delivered before the Grape
Growers' Convention at Canandaigua, N. Y., October 20, 1868.
[Proof-sheets.] 6. The Cultivation of the Native Grape and the Manufacture of
American Wine. By GEORGE HUSMANN, of Herman, Mis
souri. New York: Woodward & Co. 1868. pp. xi., 192. 7. The Culture of the Grape. By W. C. STRONG. Boston:
J. E. Tilton & Co. 1867. pp. xvi., 355.
In April, 1865, we gave in this Review a brief sketch of the rise, progress, and condition of open-air grape culture in the United States, and added thereto some safe prophecies of its probable future, and some hints upon the management of the vine, derived in large measure from our own experience.
Since that time grape culture has made great progress in almost every State in the Union ; new varieties have been introduced and tested; new wines have been brought into notice; and, in short, so marked an advance has been made in every department of viticulture as to justify us in again calling the attention of our readers to this important subject. So important and complex a subject is it, that we cannot treat it exhaustively within the limits of an article, but must be general in our statements, referring our readers for statistics to government and State reports, and for details and practical methods to the able manuals named above.
At the risk of a little repetition, we propose now to say a few
words in regard to the past history of grape culture in this country, and then to speak of its present condition, with particular reference to the newer varieties of grapes and the brilliant prospect now opened in wine-making in the United States. Wine was made from native grapes by the early settlers of Florida in 1564. The London Company in Virginia, excited doubtless by the abundance and vigor of the indigenous vines, attempted to establish a vineyard in 1620, imported French vignerons in 1630, had certainly succeeded in making wine in 1647, and offered premiums for its manufacture in 1651. William Penn in 1683, Andrew Doré in 1685, and Peter Legaux in 1793 made unsuccessful attempts to establish vineyards. In 1722, Virginia had vineyards that gave abundant returns with little care, but for many years no grape appeared good enough in all respects to put grape culture and wine-making on a firm basis. The Catawba grape, discovered in 1801, brought to public notice in 1816, and introduced at the West with so much success, is the variety whose appearance at a critical time entirely changed the aspect of grape culture in this country. To this variety and to the Isabella, although their day of triumph is now past and gone, we owe a debt of gratitude that should not be forgotten. As a market grape, and as a grape for wine, the Catawba for many years had no rival. Now it succeeds only in favored spots, and is too subject to the attacks of disease to be trusted as in former days. The Isabella, though widely cultivated, was never a rival of the Catawba, and has always been considered inferior to it.
We may remark here, in passing, that all the persistent and expensive attempts that have been made to cultivate the European grape, the vitis vinifera, in the open air, have proved failures in the Northern and Middle States. The season here is long enough to ripen many foreign kinds, but the violent atmospheric changes and sudden variations of temperature to which we are subject are very unfavorable to the growth of vines whose leaves are naturally susceptible to the attacks of mildew. Now and then in a city a foreign vine, trained against a brick wall, may be made to ripen its fruit, but the exceptions to the general rule are few.
Local varieties arose and fell, but up to a comparatively
recent date the Delaware and Diana grapes, with perhaps the Concord, were the only kinds that bade fair to supplant the two well-established kinds for cultivation on a large scale.
The Delaware grape, which we described three years ago as then facile princeps among American varieties, and of whose native origin there can be no doubt, has been planted largely of late, and the extraordinary merits of its fruit, both for table use and for still and sparkling wine, have been fully admitted. Yet the tendency of the Delaware to mildew in some localities, and its habit of dropping its leaves early in the season, together with its slow growth, prevent many vignerons from setting out so many vines of this variety as they would plant if they could trust it more implicitly.
The Diana is a seedling from the Catawba, and possesses shining merits of its own, with some radical defects, transmitted from its parent. It is better than the Catawba ; its clusters are noted for keeping well in the winter, and their juice mingled with that of the Delaware makes a superb wine; but the vine itself is somewhat tender, and requires a peculiar soil and treatment. Still, in spite of its inherent faults, more and more vines of the Diana are planted every year.
From Maine to Florida, and from the Connecticut Valley to the banks of the Mississippi, the Concord grape flourishes and bears fruit. Judged by a standard at all critical, its fruit, and its wine particularly, are of the second or third class; but its bardiness, its immense productiveness, and the certainty with which it ripens its crops in ordinary seasons, added to its wonderful freedom from disease, have given it a hold on public confidence which cannot easily be shaken. To an uncritical taste its faults are of no moment compared with its excellences, but tried by a severe standard it can never hold a very high rank.
The number of new grapes introduced during the past ten years is enormous. The facility with which new varieties may be called into being, the fascination attending the production of new kinds, and the certainty of profit if a kind be obtained better than any before known, all conspire to give the grapegrowing public a flood of new grapes, nine tenths of which are forgotten as soon as they are named. One in a thousand, per
haps, has qualities which put it by right in the front rank, and give it a place among established kinds.
Of the newer grapes that have been pretty well treated, the Adirondack, Israella, and Iona are among the foremost, although of very unequal merit.
The Adirondack is supposed to be a seedling from the Isabella, and was found growing wild in Northern New York. It is a sweet, tender, pleasant grape, valuable rather for its earliness and absence of defects than for any positive merits. The vine is a moderate grower, and unfortunately is a little tender. We do not believe it will ever be widely planted.
The Israella, which originated with Dr. C. W. Grant, is also a seedling from the Isabella, but of more decided merit than the Adirondack. The vine is vigorous, productive, and generally healthy, although subject to mildew in some places. The clusters are large, compact, and ripen early. The berries are purple, sweet, of excellent flavor, and cling well to the stems. In fact they are sometimes so closely set as to make the cluster almost solid. It is without question the best grape of the Isabella family yet produced in this country.
When the Delaware had been pretty widely disseminated, and its merits had become known, it was found so superior to existing kinds as to make cultivators confident that it would be a long time before a variety of equal rank would be obtained. No one expected that we were soon to see .a grape at once larger and better than the Delaware. But about the year 1867 the patient waiting and well-directed experiments of Dr. Grant, of Iona Island, were rewarded by the appearance of the Iona, the crowning glory of viticulture in this country, and a grape destined not only to give us more correct notions of excellence in grapes, but to compel the respect and admiration of foreign wine-makers. For beauty, delicacy, richness of flavor, freedom from the tough pulp that surrounds the seeds of almost all American grapes, and for the qualities that constitute a true wine grape, the Iona, in our opinion, stands without a rival. Its adaptability to various soils and conditions of growth needs more thorough testing, but our experience with it during the last, most trying season leads us to hope that it may ripen with tolerable certainty even in Massachusetts.
We turn aside for a moment to remark that this country owes more to the originator of the Iona than it can ever repay. By precept and example Dr. Grant awakened the public mind to the importance of grape culture and the necessity of having better grapes than those formerly set up as standards. He proved that it is almost as easy to raise the best grapes as the poorest, and, by producing new and better kinds, he put the means of improvement within the reach of all. His labors have wrought a silent but prodigious revolution in grape culture in the United States.
Mr. E. W. Bull of Concord, Massachusetts, did not rest upon his laurels when he had produced and sent forth the Concord grape, but by patient experiments, conducted year after year with unwearied enthusiasm, he has created several new varie. ties, seedlings from the Concord, that cannot fail to make their mark. From the tough, inedible native Mr. Bull has produced grapes of great delicacy and refinement, free from fibrous pulp, exceedingly hardy and vigorous, and one of them at least possessing very remarkable properties for wine-making. Two of these, the Cottage and the Una, a purple and an amber-colored grape, have been made public property, and have no doubt a most useful future before them. The Martha, a grape of much promise, is also a seedling from the Concord.
We have left ourselves but little space to speak of other varieties. For sheltered locations and warm, rich soils, the Allen's Hybrid and the Rebecca still hold a high rank among light-colored grapes.
The Clinton, a small purple grape, is sometimes raised for wine, but has no merits as a table fruit. The vine is an enormous grower and bearer, and is very hardy.
The Hartford Prolific is still raised on account of its earliness. It has no other merits, and its defects are glaring. There will be no excuse for cultivating a vine like this, removed but one step from the native, when the Israella and Mr. Bull's seedlings become better known.
Four years ago, in this Review and elsewhere, we earnestly maintained that the numerous varieties raised and introduced by Mr. E. S. Rogers of Salem were genuine hybrids, and that their hybridism was established by facts and reasoning that