THE CULTIVATION OF THE NATIVE GRAPE,
MANUFACTURE OF AMERICAN WINES.
OF HERMANN, MISSOURI.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866,
by GEO. E. & F. W. WOODWARD,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States,
for the Southern District of New York.
GRAPE GROWERS OF
"OUR COUNTRY, ONE AND INDIVISIBLE,"
THIS VOLUME IS DEDICATED
FRIEND AND FELLOW-LABORER,
Remarks on its History in America, especially at the West; its Progress and its Future,13
PROPAGATION OF THE VINE.
II.—By Single Eyes30
The Propagating House31
Mode of Operating32
III.—By Cuttings in Open Air37
Location and Soil43
Preparing the Soil45
WHAT SHALL WE PLANT?
Choice of Varieties47
Treatment of the Vine the First Summer56
Treatment of the Vine the Second Summer57
Treatment of the Vine the Third Summer63
Treatment of the Vine the Fourth Summer69
Training the Vines on Arbors and Walls71
Other Methods of Training the Vine75
Diseases of the Vine78
Insects Injurious to the Grape80
Girdling the Vine to Hasten Maturity86
Manuring the Vine91
Thinning of the Fruit91
Renewing Old Vines92
Preserving the Fruit95
Gathering the Fruit to Make Wine96
VARIETIES OF GRAPES.
CLASS I.—VARIETIES MOST GENERALLY USED.
Norton's Virginia (Description)98
Norton's Virginia (Plate)87
Hartford Prolific (Description)101
Hartford Prolific (Plate)105
CLASS II.—HEALTHY VARIETIES PROMISING WELL.
Rogers' Hybrid, No. 1107
North Carolina Seedling108
Union Village (Description)113
Union Village (Plate)167
CLASS III.—HEALTHY VARIETIES—BUT INFERIOR IN QUALITY.
CLASS IV.—VARIETIES OF GOOD QUALITY, BUT SUBJECT TO DISEASE.
CLASS V.—VARIETIES UNWORTHY OF CULTIVATION.
Gathering the Grapes131
The Wine Cellar133
Apparatus for Wine Making.—The Grape Mill and Press136
The Wine Casks138
Making the Wine140
After Treatment of the Wine146
Diseases of the Wine and their Remedies147
Treatment of flat and Turbid Wine147
Use of the Husks and Lees148
Dr. Gall's and Petoil's Method of Wine Making148
The Must Scale or Saccharometer150
The Acidimeter and Its Use151
The Change of the Must, by Fermentation, into Wine157
The Must of American Grapes162
Wine Making Made Easy173
Cost of Establishing A Vineyard179
Cost of an acre of Concord179
Cost of an acre of Herbemont179
Cost of an acre of Norton's Virginia180
Cost of an acre of Delaware180
Cost of an acre of Catawba180
Produce Fifth Year182
Yield of Mr.
New Vineyard of Mr.
M. Poeschel, Planted in 1861;
First Partial Crop, 1863; Second Crop, 1864; Third Crop, 1865,184, 185
Yield of Vineyard of Mr.
1857, 1858, 1859, 1860185
Yield of Vineyard of Mr.
1861, 1862, 1863, 1864186
Yield of Vineyard of Mr.
Yield of Delaware Vineyard of
John E. Mottier189
It is with a great deal of hesitation I undertake to write a book about
Grapes, a subject which has been, and still is, elucidated every day;
and about which we have already several works, which no doubt are more
learned, more elaborate, than anything I may produce. But the subject
is of such vast importance, and the area suitable for grape culture so
large, the diversity of soil and climate so great, that I may be
pardoned if I still think that I could be of some use to the beginner;
it is for them, and not for my brethren of the craft more learned than
I am, that I write. If they can learn anything from the plain talk of a
practical worker, to help them along in the good work, I am well
Another object I have in view is to make grape growing as easy as
possible; and I may be pardoned if I say that, in my opinion, it is a
defect in all books we have on grape culture, that the manner of
preparing the soil, training, etc., are on too costly a plan to be
followed by men of little means. If we are first to trench and prepare
the soil, at a cost of about $300 per acre, and then pay $200 more for
trellis, labor, etc., the poor man, he who must work for a living, can
not afford to raise grapes. And yet it is from the ranks of these
sturdy sons of toil that I would gain my recruits for that peaceful
army whose sword is the pruning-hook; it is from their honest,
hard-working hands I expect the grandest results. He who has already
wealth enough at command can of course afford to raise grapes with
bone-dust, ashes, and all the fertilizers. He can walk around and give
his orders, making grape culture an elegant pastime for his leisure
hours, as well as a source of profit. But, being one of the first class
myself, I had to fight my way up through untold difficulties from the
lowest round of the ladder; had to gain what knowledge I possess from
dear experience, and can therefore sympathize with those who must
commence without means. It is my earnest desire to save
some of the losses which
had to suffer, to lighten their toil by a little plain advice. If I can succeed in this, my object is accomplished.
In nearly all our books on grape culture I notice another defect,
especially in those published in the East; it is, that they contain a
great deal of good advice about grape culture, but very little about
wine-making, and the treatment of wine in the cellar. For us here at
the West this is an all-important point, and even our Eastern friends,
if they continue to plant grapes at the rate they have done for the
last few years, will soon glut the market, and will be forced to make
them into wine. I shall therefore try to give such simple instructions
about wine-making and its management as will enable every one to make a
good saleable and drinkable wine, better than nine-tenths of the
foreign wines, which are now sold at two to three dollars per bottle. I
firmly believe that this continent is destined to be the greatest
wine-producing country in the world; and that the time is not far
distant when wine, the most wholesome and purest of all stimulating
drinks, will be within the reach of the common laborer, and take the
place of the noxious and poisonous liquors which are now the curse of
so many of our laboring men, and have blighted the happiness of so many
homes. Pure light wine I consider the best temperance agent; but as
long as bad whisky and brandy continue to be the common drink of its
citizens we can not hope to accomplish a thorough reform; for human
nature seems to crave and need a stimulant. Let us then try to supply
the most innocent and healthy one, the exhilarating juice of the grape.
I have also endeavored throughout to give plain facts, to
substantiate with plain figures all I assert; and in no case have I
allowed fancy to roam in idle speculations which cannot be demonstrated
in practice. I do not pretend that my effort is "the most comprehensive
and practical essay on the grape," as some of our friends call their
productions, but I can claim for it strict adherence to truth and
I have not thought it necessary to give the botanical description of
the grape-vine, and the process of hybridizing, etc.; this has already
been so well and thoroughly done by my friend
Fuller, that I can do no better than refer
the scientific reader to his book. I am writing more for the practical
farmer, and would rather fill what I think a vacancy, than repeat what
has been so well said by others.
With these few remarks, which I thought due to the public and
myself, I leave it to you, brother-winegrowers, to say whether or not I
have accomplished my task. To all and every one who plants a single
vine I would extend the hand of good fellowship, for he is a laborer in
the great work to cover this glorious land of the free with smiling
vineyards, and to make its barren spots flow with noble grape juice,
one of the best gifts of an all-bountiful Creator. All hail to you, I
greet you from
REMARKS ON ITS HISTORY IN AMERICA, ESPECIALLY AT THE WEST—ITS PROGRESS AND ITS FUTURE.
In an old chronicle, entitled, "The Discovery of America in the Tenth Century," by
Charles C. Prasta, published at Stralsund, we find the following legend:
"Leif, son of
the Red, bought
vessel, and manned it with thirty-five men, among whom was also a German,
by name, who had lived a long time with
father, who had become very much attached to him in youth. And they left port at Iceland, in the year of our Lord 1000.
But, when they had been at sea several days, a tremendous storm
arose, whose wild fury made the waves swell mountain high, and
threatened to destroy the frail vessel. And the storm continued for
several days, and increased in fury, so that even the stoutest heart
quaked with fear; they believed that their hour had come, and drifted
along at the mercy of wind and waves. Only
Leif, who had lately been converted to
our Lord, stood calmly at the helm and did not fear; but called
on Him who had walked the water and quieted the billows, with firm
faith, that He also had power to deliver them, if they but trusted in
Him. And, behold! while he still spoke to them of the wonderful deeds
of the Lord, the clouds cleared away, the storm lulled; and after a few
hours the sea, calmed down, and rocked the tired and exhausted men into
a deep and calm sleep. And when they awoke, the next morning, they
could hardly trust their eyes. A beautiful country lay before them,
green hills, covered with beautiful forests—a majestic stream rolled
its billows into the ocean; and they cast the anchor, and thanked the
Lord, who had delivered them from death.
A delightful country it seemed, full of game, and birds of beautiful
plumage; and when they went ashore, they could not resist the
temptation to explore it. When they returned, after several hours,
alone was missing. After waiting some time for his return,
Leif, with twelve of his men, went in search
of him. But they had not gone far, when they met him, laden down with
grapes. Upon their enquiry, where he had stayed so long, he answered:
"I did not go far, when I found the trees all covered with grapes; and
as I was born in a country, whose hills are covered with vineyards, it
seemed so much like home to me, that I stayed a while and gathered
them." They had now a twofold occupation, to cut timber, and gather
grapes; with the latter, they loaded the boat. And Leif gave a name to
the country, and called it Vinland, or Wineland."
So far the tradition. It is said that coming events cast their
shadows before them. If this is so, may we not recognize one of those
shadows in the old Norman legend of events which transpired more than
eight hundred years ago? Is it not the foreshadowing of the destiny of
this great continent, to become, in truth and verity, a
Wineland. Truly, the results of to-day would certainly
justify us in the assertion, that there is as much, nay more, truth
than fiction in it. Let us take a glance at the first commencement of
grape culture, and see what has been the progress in this comparatively
new branch of horticulture.
From the very first settlement of America, the vine seems to have
attracted the attention of the colonists, and it is said that as early
as 1564, wine was made from the native grape in Florida. The earliest
attempt to establish a vineyard in the British North American Colonies
was by the London Company in Virginia, about the year 1620; and by
1630, the prospect seems to have been encouraging enough to warrant the
importation of several French vine-dressers, who, it is said, ruined
the vines by bad treatment. Wine was also made in Virginia in 1647, and
in 1651 premiums were offered for its production.
even mentions, that prior to 1722, there were vineyards in that
colony, producing seven hundred and fifty gallons per year. In 1664,
Richard Nicoll, Governor of New York, granted to
Paul Richards, a privilege of making and
selling wine free of all duty, he having been the first to enter upon
the cultivation of the vine on a large scale.
Beauchamp Plantagenet, in his description of
the province of New Albion, published in London, in 1648, states "that
the English settlers in Uvedale, now Delaware, had vines running on
mulberry and sassafras trees; and enumerates four kinds of grapes,
namely: Thoulouse Muscat, Sweet Scented, Great Fox, and Thick Grape;
the first two, after five months, being boiled and salted and well
fined, make a strong red Xeres; the third, a light claret; the fourth,
a white grape which creeps on the land, makes a pure, gold colored
Tennis Pale, a Frenchman, out of these four,
made eight sorts of excellent wine; and says of the Muscat, after it
had been long boiled, that the second draught will intoxicate after
four months old; and that here may be gathered and made two hundred
tuns in the vintage months, and that the vines with good cultivation
will mend." In 1633,
attempted to establish a vineyard near Philadelphia, but without success. After some years, however, Mr.
Tasker, of Maryland, and Mr.
Antil, of Shrewsbury, N.J., seem to have succeeded to a certain extent. It seems, however, from an article which Mr.
wrote of the culture of the grape, and the manufacture of wine, that he cultivated only foreign varieties.
In 1796, the French settlers in Illinois made one hundred and ten
hogsheads of strong wine from native grapes. At Harmony, near
Pittsburgh, a vineyard of ten acres was planted by
Frederic Rapp, and his associates from
Germany; and they continued to cultivate grapes and silk, after their
removal to another Harmony in Indiana.
In 1790, a Swiss colony was founded, and a fund of ten thousand
dollars raised in Jessamine county, Kentucky, for the purpose of
establishing a vineyard, but failed, as they attempted to plant the
foreign vine. In 1801, they removed to a spot, which they called Vevay,
in Switzerland County, Indiana, on the Ohio, forty-five miles below
Cincinnati. Here they planted native vines, especially the Cape, or
Schuylkill Muscadel, and met with better success. But, after about
forty years' experience, they seem to have become discouraged, and
their vineyards have now almost disappeared.
These were the first crude experiments in American grape culture;
and from some cause or another, they seem not to have been encouraging
enough to warrant their continuation. But a new impetus was given to
this branch of industry, by the introduction of the Catawba, by Major
Adlum, of Georgetown, D.C., who thought,
that by so doing, he conferred a greater benefit upon the nation than
he would have done, had he paid the national debt. It seems to have
been planted first on an extensive scale by
Nicholas Longworth, near Cincinnati, whom we
may justly call one of the founders of American grape culture. He
adopted the system of leasing parcels of unimproved land to poor
Germans, to plant with vines; for a share, I believe, of one-half of
the proceeds. It was his ambition to make the Ohio the Rhine of
America, and he has certainly done a good deal to effect it. In 1858,
the whole number of acres planted in grapes around Cincinnati, was
estimated, by a committee appointed for that purpose, at twelve hundred
acres, of which Mr.
owned one hundred and twenty-two and a half acres, under charge
of twenty-seven tenants. The annual produce was estimated by the
committee at no less than two hundred and forty thousand gallons, worth
about as many dollars then. We may safely estimate the number of acres
in cultivation there now, at two thousand. Among the principal grape
growers there, I will mention Messrs.
Robert Buchanan, author of an excellent work on grape culture,
Dr. Mosher, etc.
Well do I remember, when I was a boy, some fourteen years old, how
often my father would enter into conversation with vintners from the
old country, about the feasibility of grape culture in Missouri. He
always contended that grapes should succeed well here, as the woods
were full of wild grapes, some of very fair quality, and that this
would indicate a soil and climate favorable to the vine. They would
ridicule the idea, and assert that labor was too high here, even if the
vines would succeed, to make it pay; but they could not shake his faith
in the ultimate success of grape culture. Alas! he lived only long
enough to see the first dawnings of that glorious future which he had
so often anticipated, and none entered with more genuine zeal upon the
occupation than he, when an untimely death took him from the labor he
loved so well, and did not even allow him to taste the first fruits of
the vines he had planted and fostered. Had he been spared until now,
his most sanguine hopes would be verified.
I also well remember the first cultivated grape vine which produced fruit in Hermann. It was an Isabella, planted by a Mr.
Fugger, on the corner of Main and Schiller
streets, and trained over an arbor. It produced the first crop in 1845,
twenty years ago, and so plentifully did it bear, that several persons
were encouraged by this apparent success, to plant vines. In 1846, the
first wine was made here, and agreeably surprised all who tried it, by
its good quality. The Catawba had during that time, been imported from
Cincinnati, and the first partial crop from it, in 1848, was so
plentiful, that every body, almost, commenced planting vines, and often
in very unfavorable localities. This, of course, had a bad influence on
so capricious a variety as the Catawba; rot and mildew appeared, and
many became discouraged, because they did not realize what they had
anticipated. A number of unfavorable seasons brought grape growing
almost to a stand still here. Some of our most enterprising grape
growers still persevered, and succeeded by careful treatment, in making
even the Catawba pay very handsome returns.
It was about this time, that the attention of some of our
grape-growers was drawn towards a small, insignificant looking grape,
which had been obtained by a Mr.
Heinrichs, who had brought it from Cincinnati, and, almost at the same time, by Dr.
Kehr, who had brought it with him from
Virginia. The vine seemed a rough customer, and its fruit very
insignificant when compared with the large bunch and berry of the
Catawba, but we soon observed that it kept its foliage bright and green
when that of the Catawba became sickly and dropped; and also, that no
rot or mildew damaged the fruit, when that of the Catawba was nearly
destroyed by it. A few tried to propagate it by cuttings, but generally
failed to make it grow. They then resorted to grafting and layering,
with much better success. After a few years a few bottles of wine were
made from it, and found to be very good. But at this time it almost
received its death-blow, by a very unfavorable letter from Mr.
Longworth, who had been asked his opinion of it, and pronounced it worthless. Of course, with the majority, the fiat of Mr.
Longworth, the father of American
grape-culture, was conclusive evidence, and they abandoned it. Not all,
however; a few persevered, among them Messrs.
Grein, and myself. We thought Mr.
was human, and might be mistaken; and trusted as much to the
evidence of our senses as to his verdict, therefore increased it as
fast as we could, and the sequel proved that we were right. After a few
years more wine was made from it in larger quantities, found to be much
better than the first imperfect samples; and now that despised and
condemned grape is
great variety for red wine, equal, if not superior to, the best
Burgundy and Port; a wine of which good judges, heavy importers of the
best European wines too, will tell you that it has not its equal among
all the foreign red wines; which has already saved the lives of
thousands of suffering children, men, and women, and therefore one of
the greatest blessings an all-merciful God has ever bestowed upon
suffering humanity. This despised grape is now the rage, and 500,000 of
the plants could have been sold from this place alone the last fall, if
they could have been obtained. Need I name it? it is the Norton's
Virginia. Truly, "great oaks from little acorns grow!" and I boldly
prophecy to-day that the time is not far distant when thousands upon
thousands of our hillsides will be covered with its luxuriant foliage,
and its purple juice become one of the exports to Europe; provided,
always, that we do not grow so fond of it as to drink it all. I think
that this is pre-eminently a Missouri grape. Here it seems to have
found the soil in which it flourishes best. I have seen it in Ohio, but
it does not look there as if it was the same grape. And why should it?
They drove it from them and discarded it in its youth; we fostered it,
and do you not think, dear reader, there sometimes is gratitude in
plants as well as in men? Other States may plant it and succeed with
it, too, to a certain extent, but it will cling with the truest
devotion to those localities where it was cared for in its youth. Have
we not also found, during the late war, that the Germans, the adopted
citizens of this great country, clung with a heartier devotion to our
noble flag, and shed their blood more freely for it, than thousands
upon thousands of native-born Americans? And why? Because here they
found protection, equal rights for all, and that freedom which had been
the idol of their hearts, and haunted their dreams by night; because
they had been oppressed so long they more fully appreciated the
blessings of a free government than those who had enjoyed it from their
birth. But you may call me fantastical for comparing plants to human
beings, and will say, plants have no appreciation of such things.
Brother Skeptic, have you, or has any body, divined
the secrets of Nature's workshop? Truly we may say that we have
not, and we meet with facts every day which are stranger than fiction.
The Concord had as small a beginning with us. In the winter of 1855 a few eyes of its wood were sent me by Mr.
Jas. G. Soulard, of Galena, Ill. I grafted
them upon old Catawba vines, and one of them grew. The next year I
distributed some of the scions to our vine-growers, who grafted them
also. When my vine commenced to bear I was astonished, after what I had
heard of the poor quality of the fruit from the East, to find it so
fine, and so luxurious and healthy; and we propagated it as fast as
possible. Now, scarcely nine years from the time when I received the
first scions, hundreds of acres are being planted with it here, and
one-third of an acre of it, planted five years ago, has produced for
me, in fruit, wine, layers, cuttings, and plants, the round sum of ten
thousand dollars during that time. Its wine, if pressed as soon as the
grapes are mashed, is eminently one of those which "maketh glad the
heart of man," and is evidently destined to become one of the common
drinks of our laboring classes. It is light, agreeable to the palate,
has a very enlivening and invigorating effect, and can be grown as
cheap as good cider. I am satisfied that an acre will, with good
cultivation, produce from 1,000 to 1,500 gallons per year. My vines
produced this season at the rate of 2,500 gallons to the acre, but this
may be called an extra-large crop. I have cited the history of these
two varieties in our neighborhood merely as examples of progress. It
would lead too far here, to follow the history of all our leading
varieties, though many a goodly story might be told of them. Our
friends in the East claim as much for the Delaware and others, with
which we have not been able to succeed. And here let me say that the
sooner we divest ourselves of the idea that one grape should be
grape for this immense country of ours; the sooner we try to adapt
the variety to the locality—not the locality to the variety—the sooner
we will succeed. The idea is absurd, and unworthy of a thinking people,
that one variety should succeed equally well or ill in such a diversity
of soil and climate as we have in this broad land of ours. It is in
direct conflict with the laws of vegetable physiology, as well as with
common sense and experience. In planting our vineyards we should first
go to one already established, which we think has the same soil and
location, or nearly so, as the one we are going to plant. Of those
varieties which succeed there we should plant the largest number, and
plant a limited number also of all those varieties which come
recommended by good authority. A few seasons will show which variety
suits our soil, and what we ought to plant in preference to all others.
Thus the Herbemont, the Cynthiana, Delaware, Taylor, Cunningham,
Rulander, Martha, and even the Iona, may all find their proper
location, where each will richly reward their cultivator; and certainly
they are all too good not to be tried.
Now, let us see what progress the country at large has made in grape-growing during, say, the last ten years.
Then, I think I may safely assert, that the vineyards
throughout the whole country did not comprise more than three to four
I think I may safely call them over two millions of acres.
Then, our whole list embraced about ten varieties, all told,
of which only the Catawba and Isabella were considered worthy of
we count our native varieties by the hundreds, and the Catawba and
Isabella will soon number among the things which have been. Public
taste has become educated, and they are laid aside in disgust, when
such varieties as the Herbemont, Delaware, Clara, Allen's Hybrid, Iona,
Adirondac, and others can be had.
Then, grape-growing was confined to only a few small settlements;
there is not a State in the Union, from Maine to California, but
has its vineyards; and especially our Western States have entered upon
a race which shall excel the other in the good work. Our brethren in
Illinois bid fair to outdo us, and vineyards spring up as if by magic,
even on the prairies. Nay, grape-culture bids fair to extend into
Minnesota, a country which was considered too cold for almost anything
except oats, pines, wolves, bears, and specimens of daring humanity
encased in triple wool. We begin to find out that we have varieties
which will stand almost anything if they are only somewhat protected in
winter. It was formerly believed that only certain favored locations
and soils in each State would produce good grapes—for instance, sunny
hillsides along large streams; now we begin to see that we can grow
some varieties of grape on almost any soil. One of the most flourishing
vineyards I have ever seen is on one of the islands in the Missouri
river, where all the varieties planted there—some six or seven—seemed
perfectly at home in the rich, sandy mould, where it needs no trenching
to loosen the soil.
Then, grape-growing, with the varieties then in cultivation, was a problem to be solved;
now, with the varieties we have proved, it is a certainty that
it is one of the most profitable branches of horticulture, paying
thousands of dollars to the acre every year.
Then, wine went begging at a dollar a gallon;
it sells as fast as made at from two dollars to six dollars a
gallon. Instead of the only wine then considered fit to drink, we
number our wine-producing varieties by the dozen, all better than the
Catawba; among the most prominent of which I will name—of varieties
producing white wine, the Herbemont, Delaware, Cassidy, Taylor,
Rulander, Cunningham, and Louisiana; of light-red wines, the Concord;
of dark-red wines, the Norton's Virginia, Cynthiana, Arkansas and
Clinton; so that every palate can be suited. And California bids fair
to outdo us all; for there, I am told, several kinds of wine are made
from the same grape, in the same vineyard, and in fabulous quantities.
To cite an example of the increase in planting: in 1854 the whole
number of vines grown and sold in Hermann did not exceed two thousand.
This season two millions of plants have been grown and sold, and not
half enough to meet the demand. It is said that the tone of the press
is a fair indication of public sentiment. If this is true what does it
prove? Take one of our horticultural periodicals, and nine-tenths of
the advertisements will be "Grape-vines for sale," in any quantity and
at any price, from five dollars to one hundred dollars per 100, raised
North, East, South, and West. Turn to the reading matter, and you can
hardly turn over a leaf but the subject of grapes stares you in the
face, with a quiet impunity, which plainly says, "The nation is
affected with grape fever; and while our readers have grape on the
brain there is no fear of overdosing." Why, the best proof I can give
my readers that grape fever does exist to an alarming degree, is this
very book itself. Were not I and they affected with the disease, I
should never have presumed to try their patience.
But, fortunately, the remedy is within easy reach. Plant grapes,
every one of you who is thus afflicted, until our hillsides are covered
with them, and we have made our barren spots blossom as the rose.
Truly, the results we have already obtained, are cheering enough.
And yet all this has been principally achieved in the last few years,
while the nation was involved in one of the most stupendous struggles
the world ever saw, while its very existence was endangered, and
thousands upon thousands of her patriotic sons poured out their blood
like water, and the husbandman left his home; the vintner his vineyard,
to fight the battles of his country. What then shall we become now,
when peace has smiled once more upon our beloved country; and the
thousands of brave arms, who brandished the sword, sabre, or musket,
have come home once more; and their weapons have been turned into
ploughshares, and their swords into pruning hooks? When all the strong
and willing hands will clear our hillsides, and God's sun shines upon
great and united people; greater and more glorious than ever; because now they are
truly free. Truly the future lies before us, rich in glorious
promise; and ere long the words and the prophecy contained in the old
legend will become sober truth, and America will be, from the Atlantic
to the Pacific
smiling and happy
Wineland; where each laborer shall sit under his own vine, and
none will be too poor to enjoy the purest and most wholesome of all
stimulants, good, cheap, native
wine. Then drunkenness, now the curse of the nation, will
disappear, and peace and good will towards all will rule our actions.
And we, brother grape growers? Ours is this great and glorious task;
let us work unceasingly, with hand, heart, and mind; truly the object
is worthy of our best endeavors. Let those who begin to-day, remember
how easy their task with the achievements and experiments of others
before them, compared with the labors of those who were the pioneers in
the cultivation of the vine.
PROPAGATION OF THE VINE.
This would seem to be the most natural mode, were not the grape even
more liable to sport than almost any other fruit. It is, however, the
only method upon which we can depend for obtaining new and more
valuable varieties than we already possess, and to which we are already
indebted for all the progress made in varieties, a progress which is,
indeed, very encouraging; for who would deny that we are to-day
immeasurably in advance of what we were ten years ago. Among the
innumerable varieties which spring up every day, and which find ready
purchasers, just because they
are new, there are certainly some of decided merit. But those
who grow seedlings, should bear in mind, that the list of our varieties
is already too large; that it would be better if three-fourths of them
were stricken off, and that no new variety should be brought before the
public, unless it has some decided superiority over any of the
varieties we already have, in quality, productiveness and exemption
from disease. It is poor encouragement to the grape growing public, to
pay from two to five dollars a vine for a new variety, with some
high-sounding name, if, after several years of superior cultivation and
faithful trial, they find their costly pet inferior to some variety
they already possessed, and of which the plants could be obtained at a
cost of from ten to fifty cents each.
The grapes from which the seed is to be used, should be fully ripe,
and none but well developed, large berries, should be taken. Keep these
during the winter, either in the pulp, or in cool, moist sand, so that
their vitality may remain unimpaired. The soil upon which your seed-bed
is made, should be light, deep and rich, and if it is not so naturally,
should be made so with well decomposed leaf-mould. As soon as the
weather in spring will permit, dig up the soil to the depth of at least
eighteen inches, pulverising it well; then sow the seed in drills,
about a foot apart, and about one inch apart in the rows, covering them
about three-quarters of an inch deep. It will often be found necessary
to shade the young plants when they come up, to prevent the sun from
scalding them, but this should not be continued too long, as the plants
will become too tender, if protected too long. When the young plants
have grown about six inches, they may be supplied with small sticks, to
which they will cling readily; the ground should be kept clean and
mellow, and a light mulch should be applied, which will keep the soil
loose and moist. The young plants should be closely watched, and if any
of them show signs of disease, they should at once be pulled up; also
those which show a very feeble and delicate growth; for we should only
try to grow varieties with good, healthy constitutions. In the Fall,
the young plants should be either taken up, and carefully heeled in, or
they should be protected by earth, straw, or litter thrown over them.
In the Spring, they may be transplanted to their permanent locations;
the tops shortened in to six inches, and the roots shortened in to
about six inches from the stem. The soil for their reception should be
moderately light and rich, and loosened up to the depth of at least
Make a hole about eight inches deep, then throw in soil so as to
raise a small mound in the centre of the hole, about two inches high;
on this place the young vine, and carefully spread the roots in all
directions; then fill up with well pulverized soil, so that the upper
eye or bud is even with the surface of the ground; then press the soil
down lightly; place a good stake, of about four feet high, with the
plant, and allow but one shoot to grow, which should be neatly tied to
the stake as it grows. The vines may be planted in rows six feet apart,
and three feet apart in the rows, as many of them will prove worthless,
and have to be taken out. Allow all the laterals to grow on the young
cane, as this will make it short-jointed and stocky. Cultivate the
ground well, stirring it freely with plough, cultivator, hoe, and rake,
which generally is the best mulch that can be applied.
With the proper care and attention, our seedlings will generally
grow from three to four feet, and make stout, short-jointed wood this
second season. Should any of them look particularly promising, fruit
may be obtained a year sooner by taking the wood of it, and grafting
strong old vines with it. These grafts will generally bear fruit the
next season. The method to be followed will be given in another place.
At the end of the second season the vines should be pruned to about
three eyes or buds, and the soil hilled up around them so as to cover
them up completely. The next spring take off the covering, and when the
young shoots appear allow only two to grow. After they have grown about
eighteen inches, pinch off the top of the weakest, so as to throw the
growth into the strongest shoot, which keep neatly tied to the stake,
treating it as the summer before, allowing all the laterals to grow.
Cultivate the soil well. At the end of this season's growth the vines
should be strong enough to bear the following summer. If they have made
from eight to ten feet of stocky growth, the leading cane may be pruned
to ten or twelve eyes, and the smaller one to a spur of two eyes. If
they will fruit at all, they will show it next summer, when only those
promising well should be kept, and the barren and worthless ones
II.—BY SINGLE EYES.
As this method is mostly followed only by those who propagate the
vine for sale in large quantities, and but to a limited extent by the
practical vineyardist, I will give only an outline of the most simple
manner, and on the cheapest plan. Those wishing further information
will do well to consult "The Grape Culturist," by Mr.
A. S. Fuller, in which excellent work they will find full instructions.
The principal advantages of this mode of propagation are the
following: 1st. The facility with which new and rare kinds can be
multiplied, as every well ripened bud almost can be transformed into a
plant. 2d. As the plants are started under glass, by bottom heat, it
lengthens the season of their growth from one to two months. 3d. Every
variety of grape can be propagated by this method with the greatest
ease, even those which only grow with the greatest difficulty, or not
at all, from cuttings in open ground.
As to the merits or demerits of plants grown under glass from single
eyes, to those grown from cuttings or layers in open ground, opinions
differ very much, and both have their advocates. For my part, I do not
see why a plant grown carefully from a single eye should not be as good
as one propagated by any other method; a poor plant is not worth
having, whether propagated by this or any other method, and,
unfortunately, we have too many of them.
THE PROPAGATING HOUSE.
I will only give a description of a lean-to of the cheapest kind, for which any common hot-bed sash, six feet long, can be used.
Choose for a location the south side of a hill, as, by making the
house almost entirely underground, a great deal of building material
can be saved. Excavate the ground as for a cellar—say five feet deep on
the upper side, seven feet wide, and of any length to suit convenience,
and the number of plants you wish to grow. Inside of the excavation set
posts or scantlings, the upper row to be seven feet long above the
ground, and two feet below the ground; the lower row four and one-half
feet above the ground, so that the roof will have about two and
one-half feet pitch. Upon these nail the rafters, of two-inch planks.
Then take boards, say common inch-plank, and set them up behind the
posts, one above the other, to prevent the earth from falling in. This
will make all the wall that is needed on both sides. On the ends,
boards can be nailed to both sides of the posts, and the intervening
space tilled with spent tan or saw-dust. Upon the rafters place the
sash on the lower side; the upper side may be covered with boards or
shingles, where also the ventilating holes can be left, to be closed
with trap-doors. The house is to be divided into two compartments—the
furnace-room on one end, about eight feet long, and the propagating
house, The furnace is below the ground, say four feet long, the flue to
be made of brick, and to extend under the whole length of the bench. To
make the flue, lay a row of bricks flat and crosswise; on the ends of
these place two others on their edges, and across the top lay a row
flat, in the same way as the bottom ones were placed. This gives the
flue four inches by eight in the clear. The flue should rise rather
abruptly from the furnace, say about a foot; it can then be carried
fifty feet with, say six to nine inches rise, and still have sufficient
draft. Inside of the propagating room we have again two
compartments—the propagating bench, nearest to the furnace, and a shelf
for the reception of the young plants, after their first transplanting
from the cutting-pots or boxes. Make a shelf or table along the whole
length of the house; at the lower end it should be about eighteen
inches from the glass, and five feet wide. To a house of, say fifty
feet, the propagating bench may be, say twelve feet long, and the room
below it and around the flue should be inclosed with boards, as it will
keep the heat better.
MODE OF OPERATING.
The wood should be cut from the vines in the fall, as soon as the
leaves have dropped. For propagating, use only firm, well-ripened wood
of the last season's growth, and about medium thickness. These are to
be preferred to either very large or very small ones. The time to
commence operating will vary according to climate; here it should be
the early part of February. The wood to be used for propagating can be
kept in a cool cellar, in sand, or buried in the ground out doors. Take
out the cuttings, and cut them up into pieces as represented in Figure
Throw these into water as they are cut; it will prevent them from
becoming dry. It will be found of benefit with hard-wooded varieties to
pack them in damp moss for a week or so before they are put into the
propagating pots or boxes; it will soften the alburnous matter, and
make them strike root more readily. They should then be put into, say
six-inch pots, filled to about an inch of the top with pure coarse
sand, firmly packed. Place the cuttings, the buds up, about an inch
apart, all over the surface of the pot; press down firmly with thumb
and forefinger until the bud is even with the surface; sift on sand
enough to cover the upper point of the bud about a quarter of an inch
deep; press down evenly, using the bottom of another pot for the
purpose, and apply water enough to moisten the whole contents of the
pot. Instead of the pots, shallow boxes of about six inches deep, can
also be used, with a few holes bored in the bottom for drainage.
After the pots have been filled with cuttings they are placed in a
temperature of from 40° to 45°, where they remain from two to three
weeks, water being applied only enough to keep them moist, not wet. As
roots are formed at a much lower degree of temperature than leaves,
they should not be forced too much at the beginning, or the leaves will
appear before we have any roots to support them. But when the cutting
has formed its roots first, the foliage, when it does appear, will grow
much more rapidly, and without any check. Then remove them to another
position, plunging the pots into sand to the depth of, say three
inches, and raise the temperature at first to 60° for the first few
days, then gradually raise it to 80°. When the buds begin to push,
raise the temperature to 90° or 95°, and keep the air moist by frequent
waterings, say once a day. The best for this purpose is pure
rain-water, but it should be of nearly the same temperature as the air
in the house, for, if applied cold, it would surely check the growth of
the plants. The young growth should be examined every day, to see if
there is any sign of rotting; should this be the case, give a little
more air, but admit no sudden cold currents, as they are often fatal.
The glass should be whitewashed, to avoid the direct rays of the sun.
When the young vines have made a growth of two or three inches shift them into three-inch pots.
So far we have used only pure sand, which did not contain much plant
food, because the growth was produced from the food stored up in the
bud and wood, and what little they obtained from the sand, water, and
air. Now, however, our young vines want more substantial food. They
should therefore be potted into soil, mixed from rotten sod,
leaf-mould, and well-decomposed old barnyard manure. This should be
mixed together six months before using; add, before using, one-quarter
sand, then mix thoroughly, and sift all through a coarse sieve. In
operating, put a quantity of soil on the potting bench, provide a
quantity of broken bricks or potsherds for drainage, loosen the plants
from the pots by laying them on their side, giving them a sudden jar
with the hand, to loosen the sand around them; draw out the plant
carefully, holding it with one hand, while with the other you place a
piece of the drainage material into the pot; cover it with soil about
an inch; then put in the plant, holding it so that the roots spread out
naturally; fill in soil around them until the pot is full; press the
soil down firmly, but not hard enough to break the roots. When the
plants are potted give them water to settle the earth around the roots,
and keep the air somewhat confined for a few days, until they have
become established, when more air may be given them. Keep the
temperature at 85° to 95° during the day, and 70° to 80° during the
When the plants have made about six inches of growth they can either
be placed in another house, or in hot-bed frames, if they are to be
kept under glass. The usual manner of keeping them in pots during
summer, shifting them into larger and larger sizes, I consider
injurious to the free development of the plants, as the roots are
distorted and cramped against the sides of the pots, and cannot spread
naturally. I prefer shifting them into cold frames, in which beds have
been prepared of light, rich soil, into which the young plants can be
planted, and kept under whitewashed hot-bed sashes for a while, which,
after several weeks, may be removed, and only a light shading
substituted in their place, which, after several weeks more, can also
be removed. Thus the young plants are gradually hardened, their roots
have a chance to spread evenly and naturally, without any cramping; and
such plants, although they may not make as tall a growth as those kept
under glass all the season, will really stand transplanting into the
vineyard much better than those hot-house pets, which may look well
enough, but really are, like spoiled and pampered children, but poorly
fitted to stand the rough vicissitudes of every-day life.
The young plants should be lightly tied to small sticks provided for
the purpose, as it will allow free circulation of air, and admit the
sun more freely to the roots. In the fall, after their leaves have
dropped, they should be carefully taken up, shortened to about a foot
of their growth, and they are then ready either to sell, if they are to
be disposed of in that way, or for planting into the vineyard. They
should, however, be carefully assorted, making three classes of
them—the strongest, medium, and the smallest—each to be put separate.
The latter generally are not fit to transplant into the vineyard, but
they may be heeled in, and grown in beds another year, when they will
often make very good plants. Heeling in may be done as shown in Figure
2, laying the vines as close in the rows as they can conveniently be
laid, and then fill the trench with well-pulverized soil. They can thus
be safely kept during the winter.
I have only given an outline of the most simple and cheapest mode of
growing plants from single eyes, such as even the vineyardist may
follow. For descriptions of more extensive and costly buildings, if
they desire them, they had better apply to an architect. I have also
not given the mode of propagating from green wood, as I do not think,
plants thus propagated are desirable. They are apt to be feeble and
diseased, and I think, the country at large would be much better off,
had not a single plant ever been produced by that method.
Plants from single eyes may also be grown in a common hot-bed; but
as in this the heat can not be as well regulated at will, I think it,
upon the whole, not desirable, as the expense of a propagating house on
the cheap plan I have indicated, is but very little more, and will
certainly in the long run, pay much better. Of course, close attention
and careful watching is the first requisite in all the operations.
III.—BY CUTTINGS IN OPEN AIR.
This is certainly the easiest and most simple method for the
vineyardist; can be followed successfully with the majority of
varieties, which have moderately soft wood, and even a part of the hard
wood varieties will generally grow, if managed carefully.
MODE OF OPERATING.
There are several methods, which are followed with more or less
success. I will first describe that which I have found most successful,
namely, short cuttings, of two or three eyes each, which are made of
any sound, well ripened wood, of last season's growth. Prune the vines
in the fall or early winter, and make the cuttings as soon as
convenient; for if the wood is not kept perfectly fresh and green, the
cuttings will fail to grow. Now, cut up all the sound, well-ripened
wood into lengths of from two to four eyes each, making them of a
uniform length of say eight inches, and prepare them as shown in Figure
These should be tied into convenient bundles, from 100 to 250 in
each, taking care to even the lower ends, and then buried in the
ground, making a hole somewhat deeper than the cuttings are long, into
which the bundles are set on their lower ends, and soil thrown in
between and over them. In spring, as soon as the ground is dry enough,
the cutting-bed should be prepared. Choose for this a light, rich soil,
which should be well pulverized, to the depth of at least a foot, and
if not light enough, it should be made so by adding some leaf mould.
Now draw a line along the whole length of the bed; then take a spade
and put it down perpendicular along the line or nearly so, moving it a
little backwards and forwards, so as to open the cut. Now take the
cutting and press it down into the cut thus made, until the upper bud
is even with the surface of the soil. The cuttings may be put close in
the rows, say an inch apart, and the rows made two feet apart. Press
the ground firmly down with your foot along the line of cuttings, so as
to pack it closely around the cutting. After the bed is finished, mulch
them with straw, or litter, spent tan or saw-dust, say about an inch
thick, and if none of these can be had, leaves from the forest may be
used for the purpose. This will serve to protect the young leaves from
the sun, and will also keep an even moisture during the heat of summer,
at the same time keeping the soil loose and porous. If weeds appear,
they should be pulled up, and the cuttings, kept clean through the
summer. They will generally make a firm, hardy growth of from one to
four feet, have become used to all the hardships and changes of the
weather; and as they have formed their roots just where they ought to
be, about eight inches below the ground, will not suffer so much from
transplanting, as either a single eye or a layer, whose roots have to
be put much deeper in transplanting, than they were before, and thus,
as it were, become acclimated to the lower regions. For these reasons,
I think, that a good plant grown from a cutting is preferable to that
propagated by any other method. In the Fall, the vines are carefully
taken up, assorted and heeled in, in the same manner as described, with
single eyes, and cut back to about three inches of their growth. They
are then ready for transplanting into the vineyard.
This is a very convenient method of increasing such varieties as
will not grow readily from cuttings; and vines thus propagated will, if
treated right, make very good plants. To layer a vine, shorten in its
last season's growth to about one-half; then prepare the ground
thoroughly, pulverizing it well; then, early in spring make a small
furrow, about an inch deep, then bend the cane down and fasten it
firmly in the bottom of the trench, by wooden hooks or pegs, made for
the purpose. They may thus be left, until the young shoots have grown,
say six inches; then fill up with finely pulverized soil or leaf-mould.
The vines will thus strike root generally at every joint. The young
shoots may be tied to small sticks, provided for the purpose, and when
they have grown about a foot, their tips should be pinched off to make
them grow more stocky. In the Fall they are taken up carefully,
commencing to dig at the end furthest removed from the vine, and
separate each plant between the joints, so that every shoot has a
system of roots by itself. They are then either planted immediately, or
heeled in as described before.
The principal advantages to be gained by this method are: 1st. The
facility by which new and rare kinds may be increased, by grafting them
on strong stocks of healthy varieties, when they will often grow from
ten to twenty feet the first season, producing an abundance of wood to
propagate. 2d. The short time in which fruit can be obtained from new
and untried varieties, as their grafts will generally bear the next
season. 3d. In every vineyard there are, in these days of many
varieties, vines which have proved inferior, yet by grafting into them
some superior variety, they may be made very valuable. 4th. The
facility by which vines can be forced under glass, by grafting on small
pieces of roots, and the certainty with which every bud can thus be
made to grow.
The vine, however, does not unite with the same facility as the pear
and apple, and, to ensure success, must be grafted under ground, which
makes the operation a difficult and disagreeable one. It will therefore
hardly become a general practice; but, for the purposes above named, is
of sufficient importance, to make it desirable that every vineyardist
should be able to perform it. I have generally had the best success in
grafting here about the middle of March, in the following manner: Dig
away the ground around the vine you wish to graft, until you come to a
smooth place to insert your scion; then cut off the vine with a sharp
knife, and insert one or two scions, as in common cleft-grafting,
taking care to cut the wedge on the scion very thin, with shoulders on
both sides, as shown in Figure 4, cutting your scion to two eyes, to
better insure success. Great care must be taken to insert the scion
properly, as the inner bark or liber of the vine is very thin, and the
success of the operation depends upon a perfect junction of the stock
and scion. If the vine is strong enough to hold the scion firmly, no
further bandage is necessary; if not, it should be wound firmly and
evenly with bass bark. Then press the soil firmly on the cut, and fill
up the hole with well pulverized earth, to the top of the scion.
Examine the stock from time to time, and remove all wild shoots and
suckers, which it may throw up, as they will rob the graft of
nourishment and enfeeble it.
Others prefer to graft in May, when the leaves have expanded, and
the most rapid flow of sap has ceased, keeping the scions in a cool
place, to prevent the buds from starting. The operation is performed in
precisely the same manner, and will be just as successful, I think, but
the grafts that have been put in early, have the advantage of several
weeks over the others, and the latter will seldom make as strong a
growth, or ripen their wood as well as those put in early.
A. S. Fuller
performs the operation in the fall, preventing the graft from
freezing by inverting a flower-pot over it, and then covering with
straw or litter. He claims for this method—1st. That it can be
performed at a time when the ground is more dry, and in better
condition, and business not so pressing as in spring.—2d. That the
scion and stock have more time to unite, and will form their junction
completely during the winter, and will therefore start sooner, and make
a more rapid growth than in spring. It certainly looks feasible enough,
and is well worth trying, as, when the operation succeeds, it must
evidently have advantages over any of the other modes.
Vines I had grafted in March have sometimes made twenty to thirty
feet of growth, and produced a full crop the next season. This will
show one the advantage to be derived from it in propagating new and
scarce varieties, and in hastening the fruiting of them. Should a
seedling, for instance, look very promising in foliage and general
appearance, fruit may be obtained from it from one to two seasons
sooner by grafting some of the wood on strong stocks, than from the
original plant. Hence the vast importance of grafting, even to the
LOCATION AND SOIL.
As the selection of a proper location is of vast importance, and one
of the main conditions of success, great care and judgment should be
exercised in the choice. Some varieties of grapes may be grown on
almost any soil, it is true; but even they will show a vast difference
in the quality of the fruit, even if the quantity were satisfactory; on
indifferent soil, and in an inferior location. Everybody should grow
grapes enough for his own use, who owns an acre of ground, but every
one cannot grow them and make the most delicious wine.
The best locations are generally on the hillsides, along our larger
rivers, water-courses, and lakes, sloping to the East, South, and
Southwest, as they are generally more exempt from late spring frosts
and early frosts in fall. The location should be sheltered from the
cold winds from the north and northwest, but fully exposed to the
prevailing winds in summer from the south and southwest. If a hill is
chosen at any distance from a large body of water, it should be high
and airy, with as gentle a slope as can be obtained. The locations
along creeks and smaller water-courses should be particularly avoided,
as they are subject to late spring frosts, and are generally damp and
The soil should be a dry, calcareous loam, sufficiently deep, say
three feet; if possible, draining itself readily. Should this not be
the case naturally, it should be done with tiles.
I was much struck by the force of a remark made by medical friend
last summer, when, in consequence of the continual rains, the ague was
very prevalent. It was this: wherever you will find the ague an
habitual guest with the inhabitants you need not look for healthy
grapevines. Wherever we find stagnant water let us avoid the
neighboring hillsides, for they would not be congenial to our
grape-vines. But on the bluffs overhanging the banks of our large
streams, especially on the northern and western sides, where the vines
are sheltered from the north and west winds, and fully exposed to the
warm southern winds of our summer days, and where the fogs arising from
the water yet give sufficient humidity to the atmosphere, even in the
hottest summer days, to refresh the leaf during the night and morning
hours; where the soil on the southern and eastern slopes is a mixture
of decomposed stone and leaf-mould, and feels like velvet to the
feet—there is the paradise for the grape; and the soil is already
better prepared for it than the hand of man can ever do. Such locations
should be cheap to the grape-grower at
price. We find them very frequently along the northern banks of the
Missouri and Mississippi rivers, and they will no doubt become the
favored grape regions of the country. The grape grows there with a
luxuriance and health which is almost incredible to those living in
less favored locations.
But the question may be asked here, what shall be done by those who
do not live in these favored regions, and yet would like to grow
grapes? I answer, let them choose the best location they have, the most
free and airy, and let them choose only those sturdy varieties that
withstand everything. They cannot grow the most delicate varieties—the
Herbemont, the Delaware, the Clara, are not for them; but they can grow
the Concord, Hartford Prolific, and Norton's Virginia, and they at
least are "very good," although they may not be the "best." There is no
excuse for any one in this country why he should not grow his own
grapes, for the use of his family at least, if he has any ground to
grow them on.
PREPARING THE SOIL.
In this, the foundation of all grape-growing, the vineyardist must
also look to the condition in which he finds the soil. Should it be
free of stones, stumps, and other obstructions, the plough and sub-soil
plough will be all-sufficient.
Should your soil be new, perhaps a piece of wild forest land, have
it carefully grubbed, and every tree and stump taken out by the roots.
After the ground is cleared take a large breaking-plough, with three
yoke of sturdy oxen, and plough as deep as you can, say twelve to
fourteen inches. Now follow in the same furrow with an implement we
call here a sub-soil stirrer, and which is simply a plough-share of
wedge shape, running in the bottom of the furrow, and a strong coulter,
running up from it through the beam of the plough, sharp in front, to
cut the roots; the depth of the furrow is regulated by a movable wheel
running in front, which can be set by a screw. With two yoke of oxen
this will loosen the soil to the depth of, say twenty inches, which is
sufficient, unless the sub-soil is very tenacious. In land already
cultivated, where there are no roots to obstruct, two yoke of oxen or
four horses attached to the plough, and one yoke of oxen or a pair of
horses or mules to the sub-soil plough, will be sufficient. In stony
soil the pick and shovel must take the place of the plough, as it would
be impossible to work it thoroughly with the latter; but I think there
is no advantage in the common method of trenching or inverting the
soil, as is now practiced to a very great extent. If we examine the
growth of our native vines we will generally find their roots extending
along the surface of the soil. It is unnatural to suppose that the
grape, the most sun-loving of all our plants, should be buried with its
roots several feet below the surface of the soil, far beyond the reach
of sun and air. Therefore, if you can afford it, work your soil deep
and thoroughly; it will be labor well invested; is the best preventive
against drouth, and also the best drainage in wet weather; but have it
in its natural position—not invert it; and do not plant too deep.
Should the soil be very poor it may be enriched by manure, ashes,
bone-dust, etc.; but it will seldom be found necessary, as most of our
soil is rich enough; and it is not advisable to stimulate the growth
too much, as it will be rank and unhealthy, and injurious to the
quality and flavor of the fruit.
Wet spots may be drained by gutters filled with loose stones, or
tiles, and then covered with earth. Surface-draining can be done by
running a small ditch or furrow every sixth or eighth row, parallel
with the hillside, and leading into a main ditch at the end or the
middle of the vineyard. Steep hillsides should be terraced or benched;
but, as this is very expensive, they should be avoided.
WHAT SHALL WE PLANT?
CHOICE OF VARIETIES.
It is a very difficult matter, in a vast country like ours, where
the soil and climate differ so much, to recommend any thing; and I
think it a mistake, into which many of our prominent grape-growers have
fallen, to recommend
variety, simply because it succeeded well
with them, for
cultivation. Grape-growing is, perhaps, more than any other branch
of horticulture or pomology, dependent upon soil, location and climate,
and it will not do to dictate to the inhabitants of a country, in which
the "extremes meet," that they should
plant one variety. Yet this has been done by some who
to be authorities, and it shows, more than any thing else, that
they have more arrogance than knowledge. I, for my part, have seen such
widely different results, from the same varieties, under the same
treatment, and in vineyards only a few miles apart, but with a
different soil and different aspect, that I am reluctant to recommend
to my next neighbor, what he shall plant.
But, while the task is a difficult one, yet we may lay down certain
rules, which can govern us in selection of varieties to a certain
extent. We should choose—1st. The variety which has given the most
general satisfaction in the State or county in which we live, or the
nearest locality to us. 2d—Visit the nearest accessible vineyard in the
month of August and September, observe closely which variety has the
healthiest foliage and fruit; ripens the most uniformly and perfectly;
and either sells best in market, or makes the best wine, and which, at
the same time, is of good quality, and productive enough. Your
observations, thus taken, will be a better guide than the opinion of
the most skillful grape grower a thousand miles off.
I will now name a few of the most prominent varieties which should at least be tried by every grape grower.
This grape seems to have given the most general satisfaction all over the country, and seems to be
"grape for the million." Wherever heard from, it seems to be
uniformly healthy and productive. Our Eastern friends complain of its
inferior quality; this may be owing partly to their short seasons, and
partly to the too early gathering of the fruit. It is one of those
varieties which color early, but should hang a long time after
coloring, to attain its full perfection. Here it is at least
good; makes an excellent wine, and, if we take into consideration
its enormous productiveness, its vigor and adaptability to all soils
and climates, we must acknowledge that as yet it stands without a
rival, and will be a safe investment almost anywhere. Our long summers
bring it to a perfection of which our Eastern friends have no idea,
until they try it here. It will do well in almost any soil.
This, so far, is the leading grape for red wine, and its reputation
here and in the entire West is now so fully established, that it would
be difficult indeed to persuade our people into the belief, that any
other grape could make a better red wine. It is healthy and uniformly
productive, and will be safe to plant, I think, in nearly all the
Western States. I rather doubt that our Eastern friends will succeed in
making a first class wine from it, as I think their summers are too
short, to develop all its good qualities. Will succeed in almost any
soil, but attains its greatest perfection in southern slopes with
somewhat strong soil.
This is a truly delicious grape, but somewhat tender, and wants a
long season to fully ripen its fruit and bring out all its good
qualities. Will hardly do much further north than we are here, in
Missouri, but is, I think, destined to be one of the leading grapes for
the Southern States. If you have a warm, southern exposure, somewhat
stony, with limestone foundation, plant the Herbemont, and you will not
be disappointed. It is healthy and very productive; more refreshing
than the Delaware, and makes an excellent wine.
Is much recommended by Eastern authorities, and where it succeeds,
is certainly a fine grape and makes a delicious wine. Here at the West,
it has proved a failure in most locations, being subject to
leaf-blight, and a feeble grower. There are some locations, however,
where it will flourish; and whoever is the fortunate possessor of such
a one should not forget to plant it. It seems to flourish best in
light, warm, somewhat sandy soil.
This is immensely productive; of very fair quality here; hardy and
healthy; and if planted for early marketing, will give general
satisfaction. It hangs well to the bunch, and even makes a very fair
wine. Will flourish in almost every soil.
Hardy, healthy and productive; will make a fair wine, but is here
not equal even to the Concord, and far behind the Norton's Virginia in
quality. May be desirable further north.
The distance at which the vines may be planted will of course vary
somewhat with the growth of the different varieties. The rows may all
be six feet apart, as this is the most convenient distance for
cultivating, and gives ample space for a horse and man to pass through
with plough or cultivator. Slow-growing varieties, such as the Delaware
and Catawba, may be planted six feet apart in the rows, making the
distance six feet each way; but the Concord, Norton's Virginia,
Herbemont, Hartford Prolific, Cunningham, and all the strong growers,
will need more room, say ten feet in the rows, so as to give the vines
ample room to spread, and allow free circulation of air—one of the
first conditions of health in the vines, and quality of the fruit.
The next question to be considered is: Shall we plant cuttings or
rooted plants? My preference is decidedly for the latter, for the
following reasons: Cuttings are uncertain, even of those varieties
which grow the most readily; and we cannot expect to have anything like
an even growth, such as we can have if the plants are carefully
assorted. Some of the cuttings will always fail, and there will be gaps
and vacancies which are hard to fill, even if the strongest plants are
taken for replanting. Therefore, let us choose plants.
But we should not only choose rooted plants, but the best we can
get; and these are good one year old, whether grown from cuttings,
layers or single eyes. A good plant should have plenty of strong,
well-ripened roots; not covered with excrescences and warts, which is
always a sign of ill health; but smooth and firm; with well-ripened,
short-jointed wood. They should be of uniform size, as they will then
make an even stand in the vineyard, when not forced by the propagator
into an unnaturally rank growth by artificial manures. This latter
consideration, I think, is very important, as we can hardly expect such
plants, which have been petted and pampered, and fed on rich diet, to
thrive on the every-day fare they will find in the vineyard. Do not
take second or third rate plants, if you can help it; they may live and
grow, but they will never make the growth which a plant of better
quality would make. We may hear of good results sometimes, obtained by
planting second-rate plants, but certainly the results would be better
if better plants had been chosen. Especially important is the selection
of good plants with those varieties which do not propagate and
transplant readily, such as the Norton's Virginia, Delaware, and other
hard-wood varieties. Better pay double the price you would have to give
for inferior plants; the best are the cheapest in the end, as they will
make the healthiest vines, and bear sooner.
But I would also caution my readers against those who will sell you "extra large layers, for
bearing," and whose "plants are better than those whom anybody else
may grow," as their advertisements will term it. It is time that this
humbug should cease; time that the public in general should know, that
they cannot, in nature and reason, expect any fruit from a plant
transplanted the same season; and that those who pretend it can be
done, without vital injury to the plant, are only seeking to fill their
pockets at the cost of their customers. They know well enough
themselves that it cannot be done without killing or fatally injuring
the plant, yet they will impose upon the credulity of their confiding
customers; make them pay from $3 to $5 a piece for a plant, which these
good souls will buy, with a vision of a fine crop of grapes before
their eyes, plant them, with long tops, on which they may obtain a few
sickly bunches of fruit the first season; but if they do the vines will
make a feeble growth, not ripen their fruit, and perhaps be
winter-killed the next season. It is like laying the burden of a full
grown man on the shoulders of a child; what was perhaps no burden at
all to the one, will kill the other. Then, again, these "plants,
superior to those of every one else." It is the duty of every
propagator and nursery-man to raise good plants; he can do it if he
tries; it is for his interest as much as for the interest of his
customers to raise plants of the best quality; and we have no reason to
suppose that we are infinitely superior to our neighbors. While the
first is a downright swindle, the latter is the height of arrogance. If
we had a good deal less of bombast and self laudation, and more of
honesty and fair dealing in the profession, the public would have more
confidence in professional men, and would be more likely to practice
what we preach. Therefore, if you look around for plants, do not go to
those who advertise, "layers for immediate bearing," or "plants of
superior quality to all others grown;" but go to men who have honesty
and modesty enough to send you a sample of their best plants, if
required, and who are not averse to let you see how they grow them.
Choose their good, strong healthy, one year old plants, with strong,
firm, healthy roots, and let those who wish to be humbugged buy the
bearing. You must be content to wait until the third year for the
first crop; but, then, if you have treated your plants as you ought to
do, you can look for a crop that will make your heart glad to see and
gather it. You cannot, in reason and nature expect it sooner. If your
ground has been prepared in the Fall, so much the better, and if thrown
into ridges, so as to elevate the ground somewhat, where the row is to
be, they may be planted in the Fall. The advantages of Fall planting
are as follows: The ground will generally work better, as we have
better weather in the Fall; and generally more time to spare; the
ground can settle among the roots; the roots will have healed and
callused over, and the young plant be ready to start with full vigor in
Mark your ground, laying it off with a line, and put down a small
stick or peg, eighteen inches long, wherever a plant is to stand. Dig a
hole, about eight to ten inches deep, as shown in Figure 5, in a
slanting direction, raising a small mound in the bottom, of
well-pulverized, mellow earth; then, having pruned your plant as shown
in Figure 6, with its roots and tops shortened in, as shown by the
dotted lines, lay it in, resting the lower end on the mound of earth,
spread out its roots evenly to all sides, and then fill in among the
roots with rich, well-pulverized earth, the upper bud being left above
the ground. When planted in the fall, raise a small mound around your
vine, so that the water will drain off, and throw a handful of straw or
any other mulch on top, to protect it. Of course, the operation should
be performed when the ground is dry enough to be light and mellow, and
will readily work in among the roots.
TREATMENT OF THE VINE THE FIRST SUMMER.
The first summer after planting nothing is necessary but to keep the
ground free from weeds, and mellow, stirring freely with hoe, rake,
plough, and cultivator, whenever necessary. Should the vines grow
strong they may be tied to the stakes provided in planting, to elevate
them somewhat above the ground. Allow all the laterals to grow, as it
will make the wood stronger and more stocky. They may even be
summer-layered in July, laying down the young cane, and covering the
main stem about an inch deep with mellow soil, leaving the ends of the
laterals out of the ground. With free-growing kinds, such as the
Concord and Hartford Prolific, these will generally root readily, and
make very good plants, the laterals making the stems of the layers.
With varieties that do not root so readily, as the Delaware and
Norton's Virginia, it will seldom be successful, and should not be
practiced. The vineyard may thus be made to pay expenses, and furnish
the vines for further plantations the first year. They are taken up and
divided in the fall, as directed in the chapter for layers. In the
fall, prune the vine to three buds, if strong enough, to one or two if
it has only made a weak growth. A fair growth is from four to five feet
the first summer. During the winter, trellis should be provided for the
vines, as we may expect them to grow from twelve to fifteen feet the
coming summer. The cheapest and most economical are those of strong
upright posts, say four inches in diameter, made of red cedar if it can
be had, if not, of any good, durable timber—mulberry, locust, or white
oak—and seven feet long, along which No. 10 wire is stretched
horizontally. Make the holes for the posts with a post-hole auger, two
feet deep; set in the posts, charred on one end, to make them durable.
If wire is to be used, one post every sixteen feet will be enough, with
a smaller stake between, to serve as a support for the wires. Now
stretch your wire, the lowest one about two feet from the ground, the
second one eighteen inches above it, and the third eighteen inches
above the second. The wires may be fastened to the posts by nails,
around which they can be twisted, or by loops of wire driven into the
post. Where timber is plenty, laths made of black oak may be made to
serve the same purpose; but the posts must then be set much closer, and
the wire will be the cheapest and neatest in the end. A good many
grape-growers train their vines to stakes, believing it to be cheaper,
but I have found it more expensive than trellis made in the above
manner, and it is certainly a very slovenly method, compared with the
latter. Trellis is much more convenient for tying the vines, the canes
can be distributed much more evenly, and the fruit and young wood, not
being huddled and crowded together as on stakes, will ripen much more
evenly, and be of better quality, as the air and sun have free access
TREATMENT OF THE VINE THE SECOND SUMMER.
We find the young vine at the commencement of this season pruned to
three buds of the last season's growth. From these we may expect from
two to three strong shoots or canes. Our first work will be to
cultivate the whole ground, say from four to six inches deep, ploughing
between the rows, and hoeing around the vines with a two-pronged German
karst. Figure 7 shows one of these implements, of the best
form for that purpose. The ground should be completely inverted, but
never do it in wet weather, as this will make the ground hard and
Of the young shoots, if there are three, leave only the two
strongest, tying the best of them neatly to the trellis with bass, or
pawpaw bark, or rye straw. If a Catawba or Delaware, you may let them
grow unchecked, tying them along the uppermost wire, when they have
grown above it. The Concord, Herbemont, Norton's Virginia, and other
strong-growing varieties, I treat in the following manner: When the
young shoot has reached the second wire I pinch off its leader. This
has the tendency to force the laterals into stronger growth, each
forming a medium-sized cane. On these we intend to grow our fruit the
coming season, as the buds on these laterals will generally produce
more and finer fruit than the buds on the strong canes. Figure 8 will
show the manner of training the second summer, with one cane layered,
for the purpose of raising plants. This is done as described before;
only, as the vine will make a much stronger growth this season than the
first, the layering maybe done in June, as soon as the young shoots are
strong enough. Figure 9 shows the vine pruned and tied, at the end of
the second season. Figure 10 illustrates the manner of training and
tying the Catawba or Delaware.
Fig. 8. and Fig. 9.
The above is a combination of the single cane and bow system, and
the horizontal arm training, which I first tried on the Concord from
sheer necessity; when the results pleased me so much that I have
adopted it with all strong-growing varieties. The circumstances which
led me to the trial of this method were as follows: In the summer of
1862, when my Concord vines were making their second season's growth,
we had, in the beginning of June, the most destructive hail storm I
have ever seen here. Every leaf was cut from the vines, and the young
succulent shoots were all cut off to about three to three and a half
feet above the ground. The vines, being young and vigorous, pushed out
the laterals vigorously, each of them making a fair-sized cane. In the
fall, when I came to prune them, the main cane was not long enough, and
I merely shortened in the laterals to from four to six buds each. On
these I had as fine a crop of grapes as I ever saw, fine, large,
well-developed bunches and berries, and a great many of them, as each
had produced its fruit-bearing shoot. Since that time I have followed
this method altogether, and obtained the most satisfactory results.
The ground should be kept even and mellow during the summer, and the vines neatly tied to the trellis with bast or straw.
There are many other methods of training; for instance, the old bow
and stake training, which is followed to a great extent around
Cincinnati, and was followed to some extent here. But it crowds the
whole mass of fruit and leaves together so closely that mildew and rot
will follow almost as a natural consequence, and those who follow it
are almost ready to give up grape-culture in despair. Nor is this
surprising. With their tenacious adherence to so fickle a variety as
the Catawba, and to practices and methods of which experience ought to
have taught them the utter impracticability long ago, we need not be
surprised that grape-culture is with them a failure. We have a class of
grape-growers who never learn, nor ever forget, anything; these we
cannot expect should prosper. The grape-grower, of all others, should
be a close observer of nature in her various moods, a thinking and a
reasoning being; he should be trying and experimenting all the time,
and be ready always to throw aside his old methods, should he find that
another will more fully meet the wants of his plants. Only thus can he
expect to prosper.
There is also the arm system, of which we hear so much now-a-days, and which certainly looks very pretty
on paper. But paper is patient, and while it cannot be denied
that it has its advantages, if every spur and shoot could be made to
grow just as represented in drawings, with three fine bunches to each
shoot; yet, upon applying it practically, we find that vines are
stubborn, and some shoots will outgrow others; and before we hardly
know how, the whole beautiful system is out of order. It may do to
follow in gardens, on arbors and walls, with a few vines, but I do not
think that it will ever be successfully followed in vineyard culture
for a number of years, as it involves too much labor in tying up,
pruning, etc. I think the method described above will more fully meet
the wants of the vinyardist than any I have yet seen tried; it is so
simple that every intelligent person can soon become familiar with it,
and it gives us new, healthy wood for bearing every season. Pruning may
be done in the fall, as soon as the leaves have dropped.
TREATMENT OF THE VINE THE THIRD SEASON.
At the commencement of the third season, we find our vine pruned to
two spurs of two eyes each, and four lateral canes, of from four to six
eyes each. These are tied firmly to the trellis as shown in Figure 12,
for which purpose small twigs of willows (especially the golden willow,
of which every grape-grower should plant a supply) are the most
convenient. The ground is ploughed and hoed deeply, as described
before, taking care, however, not to plough so deep as to cut or tear
the roots of the vine.
Our vines being tied, ploughed, and hoed, we come to one of the most
important and delicate operations to be performed; one of as great—nay,
greater—importance than pruning. I mean summer-pruning, or pinching,
thumb or finger pruning. Fall-pruning, or cutting back, is but the
beginning of the discipline under which we intend to keep our vines;
summer-pruning is the continuation, and one is useless, and cannot be
followed systematically without the other.
Let us look at our vine well, before we begin, and commence near the
ground. The time to perform the first summer-pruning is when the young
shoots are about six to eight inches long, and when you can see plainly
all the small bunches or buttons—the embryo fruit. We commence on the
lower two spurs, having two buds each. From these two shoots have
started. One of them we intend for a bearing cane next summer;
therefore allow it to grow unchecked for the present, tying it, if long
enough, to the lowest wire. The other, which we intend for a spur again
next fall, we pinch with thumb and finger to just beyond the last bunch
or button, taking out the leader between the last bunch and the next
leaf, as shown in Figure 11, the cross line indicating where the leader
is to be pinched off. We now come to the next spur, on the opposite
side, where we also leave one cane to grow unchecked, and pinch off the
other. We now go over all the shoots coming from the arms or laterals
tied to the trellis, and also pinch them beyond the last bunch. Should
any of the buds have pushed out two shoots, we rub off the weakest; we
also take off all barren or weak shoots. If any of them are not
sufficiently developed we pass them over, and go over the vines again,
in a few days after the first pinching.
This early pinching of the shoot has a tendency to throw all the
vigor into the development of the young bunch, and the leaves remaining
on the shoot, which now grow with astonishing rapidity. It is a gentle
checking, and leading the sap into other channels; not the violent
process which is often followed long after the bloom, when the wood has
become so hardened that it must be cut with a knife, and by which the
plant is robbed of a large quantity of its leaves, to the injury of
both fruit and vine. Let any of my readers, who wish to satisfy
themselves, summer-prune a vine, according to the method described
here, and leave the next vine until after the bloom, and he will
plainly perceive the difference. The merit of first having practised
this method here, which I consider one of vast importance in
grape-culture, belongs to Mr.
William Poeschel, of this place, who was led
to do so, by observing the rapid development of the young bunches on a
shoot which had accidentally been broken beyond the last bunch. Now,
there is hardly an intelligent grape-grower here, who does not follow
it; and I think it has added more than one-third to the quantity and
quality of my crop. It also gives a chance to destroy the small, white
worm, a species of leaf-folder, which is very troublesome just at this
time, eating the young fruit and leaves, and which makes its web among
the tender leaves at the end of the shoot.
The bearing branches having all been pinched back, we can leave our
vines alone until after the bloom, only tying up the young canes from
the spurs, should it become necessary. But do not tie them over the
bearing canes, but lead them to the empty space on both sides of the
vine; as our object must be to give the fruit all the air and light we
By the time the grapes have bloomed, the laterals will have pushed
from the axils of the leaves on the bearing shoots. Now go over these
again, and pinch each lateral back to one leaf, as shown in Figure 12.
This will make the leaf which remains grow and expand rapidly, serving
at the same time as a conductor of sap to the young bunch opposite, and
shading it when it becomes fully developed. The canes from the spurs,
which we left unchecked, and which we design to bear fruit the next
season, may now also be stopped or pinched, when they are about three
feet long, to start their laterals into stronger growth. Pinch off all
the tendrils; this is a very busy time for the vine-dresser, and upon
his close attendance and diligence now, depends, in a great measure,
the value of his crop. Besides, "a stitch in time saves nine," and he
can save an incredible amount of labor by doing everything at the
In a short time, the laterals on the fruit-bearing branches which
have been pinched will throw out suckers again. These are stopped
again, leaving one leaf of the young growth. Leave the laterals on the
canes intended for next years' fruiting to grow unchecked, tying them
neatly with bass, or pawpaw bark, or with rye straw.
This is about all that is necessary for this summer, except an
occasional tying up of a fruiting branch, should its burden become more
than it can bear. But the majority of the branches will be able to
sustain their fruit without tying, and the young growth which may yet
start from the laterals may be left unchecked, as it will serve to
shade the fruit when ripening. Of course, the soil must be kept clean
and mellow, as in the former summer. This short pruning is also a
partial preventative against mildew and rot, and the last extremely wet
season has again shown the importance of letting in light and air to
all parts of the vine; as those vineyards, where a strict system of
early summer pruning had been followed, did not suffer half as much
from rot and mildew as those where the old slovenly method still
My readers will perceive, that Fall-pruning, or shortening-in the
ripened wood of the vine, and summer-pruning, shortening in and
thinning out the young growth, have one and all the same object in
view, namely, to keep the vine within proper bounds, and concentrate
all its energies for a two-fold object, namely, the production and
ripening of the most perfect fruit, and the production of strong,
healthy wood for the coming season's crop. Both operations are, in
fact, only different parts of one and the same system, of which
summer-pruning is the preparatory, and fall pruning the finishing part.
If we think that a vine is setting more fruit than it is able to
bear and ripen perfectly, we have it in our power to thin it, by taking
away all imperfect bunches, and feeble shoots. We should allow no more
wood to grow than we need for next season's bearing; if we allow three
canes to grow where only two are needed, we waste the energies of the
vine, which should all be concentrated upon ripening its fruit in the
most perfect condition, and producing the necessary wood for next
season's bearing, and that of the best and most vigorous quality, but
no more. If we prune the vine too long, we over-tax its energies;
making it bear more fruit than it can perfect, and the result will be
poor, badly-ripened fruit, and small and imperfect wood. If, on the
contrary, we prune the vine too short, we will have a rank, excessive
growth of wood and leaves, and encourage rot and mildew. Only practice
and experience will teach us the exact medium, and the observing
vintner will soon find out where he has been wrong, better than he can
be taught by a hundred pages of elaborate advice. Different varieties
will require different treatment, and it would be foolishness to
suppose that two varieties so entirely different, as for instance, the
Concord and the Delaware, could be pruned, trained and pinched in the
same manner. The first, being a rank and vigorous grower, with long
joints, will require much longer pruning than the latter, which is a
slow-growing, short-jointed vine. Some varieties, the Taylor for
instance, also the Norton, will fruit better if pruned to spurs on old
wood, than on the young canes; it will therefore be the best policy for
the vintner in pruning these, to retain the old arms or canes, pruning
all the healthy, strong shoots they have to two buds, as long as the
old arms remain healthy; always, however, growing a young cane to fall
back upon, should the old arm become diseased; whereas, the Catawba and
Delaware, being only moderate growers, will flourish and bear best when
pruned short, and to a cane of last season's growth. The Concord and
Herbemont, again, will bear best on the laterals of last season's
growth, and should be trained accordingly. Therefore it is, because
only a few of the common laborers will take the pains to think and
observe closely, that we find among them but few good vine-dressers.
At the end of this season, we find our Concords or Herbemonts, with
the old fruit-bearing cane, and a spur on each side, from which have
grown two canes; one of which was stopped, like all other fruit-bearing
branches, and which we now prune to a spur of two eyes; and another,
which was stopped at about three feet, and on which the laterals were
allowed to grow unchecked. We therefore have one of these canes, with
its laterals, on each side of the vine. These laterals are now pruned
precisely as the last season, each being cut back to from four to six
eyes, and the old cane, which has borne fruit, is cut away altogether.
With Norton's Virginia, Taylor, and some others, which will bear more
readily on spurs from old wood, the old cane is retained, provided the
shoots on it are sound and healthy, with well developed buds; the weak
ones are cut away altogether, and the others cut back to two eyes each.
One of the canes is pruned, as in the Concord, to be tied to one side
of the trellis, the next spring. This closes our summer and fall
pruning for the third year. Of the gathering of the fruit, as well for
market as for wine, I shall speak in another chapter.
TREATMENT OF THE VINE THE FOURTH SUMMER.
We may now consider the vine as established, able to bear a full
crop, and when tied to the trellis in spring, to present the
appearance, as shown in Fig. 13. The operations to be performed are
precisely the same as in its third year.
In addition, I will here remark, that in wet seasons the soil of the
vineyard should be stirred as little as possible, as it will bake and
clog, and in dry seasons it should be deeply worked and stirred, as
this loose surface-soil will retain moisture much better than a hard
surface. Should the vines show a decrease in vigor, they may be manured
with ashes or compost, or still better, with surface-soil from the
woods. This will serve to replenish the soil which may have been washed
off and is much more beneficial than stable manure. When the latter is
applied, a small trench should be dug just above the vine, the manure
laid in, and covered with soil. But an abundance of fresh soil, drawn
up well around the vine, is certainly the best of all manures.
Where a vine has failed to grow the first season, replant with extra
strong vines, as they will find it difficult to catch up with the
others; or the vacancy can be filled up the next season, by a layer
from a neighboring vine, made in the following manner: Dig a trench
from the vine to the empty place, about eight to ten inches deep, and
bend into it one of the canes of the vine, left to grow unchecked for
that purpose, and pruned to the proper length. Let the end of it come
out to the surface of the ground with one or two eyes above it, at the
place where the vine is to be, and fill up with good, well pulverized
earth. It will strike roots at almost every joint, and grow rapidly,
but, as it takes a good deal of nourishment from the parent vine, that
must be pruned much shorter the first year. When the layer has become
well established, it is cut from the parent vine; generally the second
Pruning is best done in the fall, but it can be done on mild days
all through the winter months, even as late as the middle of March.
Fall-pruning will prevent all flow of sap, and the cuttings are also
better if made in the fall, and buried in the ground during winter. All
the sound, well-ripened wood of last season's growth may be made into
cuttings, which may be either planted, as directed in a former chapter,
or sold; and are an accession to the product of the vineyard not to be
despised, for they will generally defray all expenses of cultivation.
TRAINING THE VINES ON ARBORS AND WALLS.
This is altogether different from the treatment in vineyards; the
first has for its object to grow the most perfect fruit, and to bring
the vine, with all its parts, within the easy reach and control of the
operator; in the latter, our object is to cover a large space with
foliage, for ornament and shade, fruit being but a secondary
consideration. However, if the vine is treated judiciously, it will
also produce a large quantity of fruit, although not of as good quality
as in the vineyard.
Fig. 14. and Fig. 15.
Our first object must be to grow very strong plants, to cover a very
large space. Prepare a border by digging a trench two feet deep and
four feet wide. Fill with rich soil, decomposed leaves, burnt bones,
ashes, etc. Into this plant the strongest plants you have, pruned as
for vineyard planting. Leave but one shoot to grow on them during the
first summer, which, if properly treated, will get very strong. Cut
back to three buds the coming fall. These will each throw out a strong
shoot, which should be tied to the arbor they are designed to cover, as
shown in Figure 14, and allowed to grow unchecked. In the fall
following cut each shoot back to three buds, as our first object must
be to get a good basis for our vines. These will give us nine canes the
third summer; and as the vine is now thoroughly established and strong,
we can begin to work in good earnest. It will be perceived that the
vine has three different sections or principal branches, each with
three canes. Cut one of these back to two eyes, and the other two to
six or eight buds each, according to the strength of the vine, as shown
in Figure 15. The next spring tie these neatly to the trellis, and when
the young shoots appear thin out the weakest, and leave the others to
grow unchecked. The next fall cut back as indicated by the black cross
lines, the weakest to be cut back to one or two eyes, and the stronger
ones to three or four, the spurs at the bottom to come in as a reserve,
should any of the branches become diseased. Figure 16 shows the manner
In this manner a vine can be made, in course of time, to cover a
large space, and get very old. The great vine at Windsor Palace was
planted more than sixty years ago, and in 1850 it produced two thousand
large bunches of magnificent grapes. The space covered by the branches
was one hundred and thirty-eight feet long, and sixteen feet wide, and
it had a stem two feet nine inches in circumference. This is one of the
largest vines on record. They should, however, be strongly manured to
come to full perfection.
Other authorities prefer the Thomery system of training, but I think
it much more complicated and difficult to follow. Those wishing to
follow it will find full directions in
books, which are very explicit on this method.
OTHER METHODS OF TRAINING THE VINE.
There are many other systems in vogue among vine-dressers in Germany
and France, but as our native grapes are so much stronger in growth,
and are in this climate so much more subject to mildew and rot, I think
these methods, upon the whole, but poorly adapted to the wants of our
native grapes, however judicious they may be there. I will only mention
a few of them here; one because it is to a great extent followed in
Mexico and California, and seems to suit that dry climate and arid soil
very well; and the other, because it will often serve as a pretty
border to beds in gardens. The first is the so-called buck or stool
method of training. The vine is made to form its head—i.e.,
the part from which the branches start—about a foot above the ground,
and all the young shoots are allowed to grow, but summer-pruned or
checked just beyond the last bunch of grapes. The next spring all of
the young shoots are cut back to two eyes, and this system of "spurring
in" is kept up, and the vine will in time present the appearance of a
bush or miniature tree, producing all its fruit within a foot from the
head, and without further support than its own stem. Very old vines
trained in this manner often have twenty to twenty-five spurs, and
present, with their fruit all hanging in masses around the main trunk,
a pleasing but rather odd aspect. This method could not be applied here
with any chance of success only to those varieties which are slow
growers, and at the same time very hardy. The Delaware would perhaps be
the most suitable of all varieties I know for a trial of this method;
such strong growers as the Concord and Norton's Virginia could never be
kept within the proper bounds, and it would be useless to try it on
them. It might be of advantage on poor soil, where there is at the same
time a scarcity of timber. Figure 17 shows an old vine pruned after
The other method of dwarfing the grape is practiced to make a pretty
border along walks in gardens, and is as follows: Plant your vines
about eight feet apart; treat them the first season as in common
vineyard planting, but at the end of the first season cut back to two
eyes. Now provide posts, three to three and a half feet long; drive
them into the ground about eighteen inches to two feet, which can be
easily done if they are pointed at one end, and nail a lath on top of
them. This is your trellis for the vines, and should be about eighteen
inches above the ground when ready. Now allow both shoots which will
start from the two buds to grow unchecked; and when they have grown
above the trellis, tie one down to the right, the other to the left,
allowing them to ramble at will along it. The next fall they are each
cut back to the proper length, to meet the next vine, and in spring
tied firmly to the lath, as shown in Figure 18. When the young shoots
appear, all below the trellis are rubbed off, but all those above the
trellis are summer-pruned or pinched immediately beyond the last bunch
of grapes, as in vineyard culture, and the trellis, with its garland of
fruit, will present a very pretty appearance throughout the summer. In
the fall all of these shoots are pruned to one bud, from which will
grow the fruit-bearing shoot for the next season, as shown in Figure
19; and the same treatment is repeated during the summer and fall.
Fig. 18. and Fig. 19.
DISEASES OF THE VINE.
I cannot agree with Mr.
that the diseases of the vine are not formidable in this
country. They are so formidable that they threaten to destroy some
varieties altogether; and the Catawba, once the glory and pride of the
Ohio vineyards, has for the last fifteen years suffered so much from
them, that many of the grape-growers who are too narrow-minded to try
anything else are about giving up grape-growing in despair.
It is very fortunate, therefore, that we have varieties which do not
suffer from these diseases, or only in a very slight degree; and my
advice to the beginner in grape-culture would be, "not to plant largely
of any variety which is subject to disease." Men may talk about
sulphuring, and dusting their vines with sulphur through bellows; but I
would rather have vines which will bear a good crop without these windy
appliances. We can certainly find some varieties for
locality which do not need them, and these we should plant.
The mildew is our most formidable disease, and will very often sweep
away two-thirds of a crop of Catawbas in a few days. It generally
appears here from the first to the fifteenth of June, after abundant
rains, and damp, warm weather. It seems to be a parasitic fungus, and
sulphur applied by means of a bellows, or dusted over the fruit and
vine is said to be a partial remedy. Close and early summer-pruning
will do much to prevent it, throwing, as it does, all the strength of
the vine into the young fruit, developing it rapidly, and also allowing
free circulation of air. In some varieties—for instance, the
Delaware—it will only affect the leaves, causing them to blight and
drop off, after which the fruit, although it may attain full size, will
not ripen nor become sweet, but wither and drop off prematurely. In
seasons when the weather is dry and the air pure, it will not appear.
It is most prevalent in locations which have a tenacious subsoil, and
under-draining will very likely prove a partial preventive, as excess
of moisture about the roots is no doubt one of its causes.
The gray rot, or so-called grape cholera, generally follows the
mildew, and I think that the latter is the principal cause of it, as I
have generally found it on berries whose stems have been injured by the
mildew. The berry first shows a sort of gray marbling; in a day or two
it turns to a grayish-blue color, and finally withers and drops from
the bunch. It will continue to affect berries until they begin to
color, but only attack a few varieties—the Catawba, To Kalon,
Kingsessing, and sometimes the Diana.
The spotted, or brown rot, will also attack many of our varieties;
it is very destructive to the Isabella and Catawba, and even the
Concord is not quite free from it. But it is, after all, not very
destructive, and not half as dangerous as the mildew or gray rot.
Early and close summer-pruning is a partial preventative against all
these diseases, as it will hasten the development of the fruit, allow
free circulation of air, and the young leaves which appear on the
laterals after pinching seem to be better able to withstand the effects
of the mildew, often remaining fresh and green, and shading the fruit,
when the first growth of leaves have already dropped.
But "an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure," and our
best preventive is to plant none but healthy varieties. A grape,
however good it may be in quality, is not fit for general cultivation
if seriously affected with any of these diseases. Nothing can be more
discouraging to the grape-grower than to see his vines one day rich in
the promise of an abundant crop, and a few days afterwards see
two-thirds or three-fourths swept away by disease. It is because I have
so often felt this bitter disappointment, that I would warn my readers
against planting varieties subject to them. I would save
from the discouragement and bitter losses which I have experienced, when it was out of my power to prevent it. They
prevent it, for the grape-growing of to-day is no longer the same
uncertain occupation it was ten years ago. We of to-day have our choice
of varieties not subject to disease; let us make it judiciously, and we
may be sure of a paying crop every year.
INSECTS INJURIOUS TO THE GRAPE.
The grape has many enemies of this kind, but if they are closely
watched from the beginning their ravages are easily kept within proper
The common gray cut-worm will often eat the young tender shoots of
the vine, and draw them into the ground below. Wherever this is
perceived the rascal can easily be found by digging for him under some
of the loose clods of ground below the vine, and should be destroyed
Delaware.—Berries ½ diameter.
Small worms, belonging to the family of leaf-folders, some of them
whitish gray, some bluish green, will in spring make their webs among
the young, downy leaves at the end of the shoots, eating the young
bunches or buttons, and the leaves. These can be destroyed when summer
pruning for the first time. Look close for them, as they are very
small; yet very destructive if let alone.
A small, gray beetle, of about the size and color of a hemp-seed,
will often eat a hole into the bud, when it is just swelling, and thus
destroy it. He is very shy, and will drop from the vine as soon as you
come near him. It is a good plan to spread a newspaper under the vine,
and then shake it, when he will drop on the paper and can be caught.
Another bug, of about the size of a fly, gray, with round black
specks, will sometimes pay us a visit. They will come in swarms, and
eat the upper side of the leaves, leaving only the skeletons. They are
very destructive, devouring every leaf, as far as they go; they can
also be shaken off on a paper or sheet spread under the vine.
The thrip, a small, rather three-cornered, whitish-green insect, has
of late been very troublesome, as they eat the under side of the leaves
of some varieties, especially the Delaware and Norton's Virginia, when
the leaf will show rusty specks on the surface, and finally drop off.
It has been recommended to go through the vineyard at night, one man
carrying a lighted torch, and the other beating the vines, when they
will fly into the flame, and be burnt. They are a great annoyance, and
have defoliated whole vineyards here last fall.
Another leaf-folder makes his appearance about mid-summer, making
its web on the leaf, drawing it together, and then devouring his own
house. It is a small, greenish, and very active worm, who, if he
"smells a rat," will drop out of his web, and descend to the ground in
double-quick time. I know of no other plan, than to catch him and crush
his web between the finger and thumb.
The aphis, or plant louse, often covers the young shoots of the
vine, sucking its juices. When a shoot is attacked by them, it will be
best to take it off and crush them under your feet, as the shoot is apt
to be sickly afterwards, any way.
The grape vine sphynx will be found occasionally. It is a large,
green worm, with black dots, and very voracious. Fortunately, it is not
numerous, and can easily be found and destroyed.
There are also several caterpillars—the yellow bear, the hog
caterpillar, and the blue caterpillar, which will feed upon the leaves.
The only remedy I know against them is hand picking, but they have not
as yet been very numerous, nor very destructive.
Wasps are sometimes very troublesome when the fruit ripens, stinging
the berries and sucking the juice. A great many can be caught by
hanging up bottles, with a little molasses, which they will enter, and
get stuck in the molasses.
These are sometimes very troublesome at the time of ripening, and
especially the oriole is a "hard customer," as he will generally dip
his bill into every berry; often ruining a fine bunch, or a number of
them, in a short time. I have therefore been compelled to wage a war
upon some of the feathered tribe, although they are my especial
favorites, and I cannot see a bird's nest robbed. However, there are
some who do not visit the vineyard, except for the purpose of
destroying our grapes, and these can not complain if we "won't stand it
any longer," but take the gun, and retaliate on them. The oriole, the
red bird, thrush, and cat bird are among the number, and although I
would like to spare the latter three, in thankful remembrance of many a
gratuitous concert, the first must take his chance of powder and lead,
for the little rascal is too aggravating. A few dry bushes, raised
above the trellis will serve as their resting place before they
commence their work of destruction, where they can be easily killed.
Although our winters are seldom severe enough to destroy the hardy
varieties, yet they will often fatally injure such half hardy varieties
as the Herbemont and Cunningham, and the severe winter of 1863,-'64,
killed even the Catawba, down to the snow line, and severely injured
the Norton's Virginia, and even the Concord. Fortunately, such winters
occur but rarely, and even in localities where the vines are often
destroyed by the severe cold in winter, this should deter no one from
growing grapes, as, with very little extra labor he can protect them,
and bring them safely through the winter. I always cover my tender
varieties, in fact, all that I feel not quite safe to leave out, even
in severe winters, in the following manner: The vines are properly
pruned in the fall; then select a somewhat rainy day, when the canes
will bend more easily. One man goes through the rows, and bends the
canes to the ground along the trellis, while another follows with the
spade, and throws earth enough on them to hold them in their places.
Afterwards, I run a plough through the rows, and cover them up
completely. In the spring when all danger from frost is over, I take a
so-called spading fork, and lift the vines. The entire cost of covering
an acre of grape vines and taking them up again in spring, will not
exceed $10; surely a trifling expense, if we can thereby ensure a full
We have thus a protection against the cold in winter, but I know
none against early frosts, in fall, and late spring frosts; and the
grape grower should therefore avoid all localities where they are
prevalent. The immediate neighborhood of large streams, or lakes, will
generally save the grape grower from their disastrous influence; and
our summers, here, along the banks of the Missouri river, are in
reality full two months longer than they are in the low, small valleys,
only four to six miles off. Let the grape grower, in choosing a
locality, look well to this, and avoid the hills along these narrow
valleys. Either choose a location sufficiently elevated, to be beyond
their influence, or, what is better still, choose it on the bluffs
above our large streams; where the atmosphere, even in the heat of
summer, will never become too dry for the health of the vine. It is a
sad spectacle to see the hopes of a whole summer frustrated by one cold
night; to see the vines which promised an abundant crop but the day
before, browned and wilted beyond all hopes of recovery, and the
cheerless prospect before you, that it may occur every spring; or to
see the finest crop of grapes, when just ripening, scorched and wilted
by just one night's frost, fit for nothing but vinegar. Therefore, look
well to this, when you choose the site of your vineyard, and rather pay
five times the price for a location free from frost, than for the
richest farm along the so-called creek bottoms, or worse still, sloughs
of stagnant water.
GIRDLING THE VINE TO HASTEN MATURITY.
The practice of girdling to induce early ripening is supposed to have been invented by Col.
Buchatt, of Metz, in 1745. He claimed for it
that it would also greatly improve the quality of the fruit, as well as
hasten maturity. That it accomplishes the latter, cannot be denied; it
also seems to increase the size of the berries, but I hardly think the
fruit can compare in flavor with a well developed bunch, ripened in the
natural way. As it may be of practical value to those who grow grapes
for the market, enabling them to supply their customers a week earlier
at least, and also make the fruit look better, and be of interest to
the amateur cultivator, I will describe the operation for their
Norton's Virginia—Berries 1/3 diameter.
It can be performed either on wood of the same season's growth, or
on that of last year, but in any case only upon such as can be pruned
away the next fall. If you desire to affect the fruit of a whole arm or
cane, cut away a ring of bark by passing your knife all around it, and
making another incision from a quarter to half an inch above the first,
taking out the intermediate piece of bark clean, down to the wood. It
should be performed immediately after the fruit is set. The bunches of
fruit above the incision will become larger, and the fruit ripen and
color finely, from a week to ten days before the fruit on the other
canes. Of course, the cane thus girdled, cannot be used for the next
season, and must be cut away entirely. The result seems to be the
consequence of an obstruction to the downward flow of the sap, which
then develops the fruit much faster.
Ripening can also be hastened by planting against the south side of
a wall or board fence, when the reflection of the rays of the sun will
create a greater degree of warmth.
But nothing can be so absurd and unnatural than the practice of
some, who will take away the leaves from the fruit, to hasten its
ripening. The leaves are the lungs of the plants; the conductors and
elevators of sap; and nothing can be more injurious than to take them
away from the fruit at the very time when they are most needed. The
consequence of such an unwise course will be the wilting and withering
of the bunches, and, should they ripen at all, they will be deficient
in flavor. Good fruit must ripen
in the shade, only thus will it attain its full perfection.
Another practice very injurious to the vines is still in practice in
some vineyards, and cannot be too strongly condemned. It is the
so-called "cutting in" of the young growth in August. Those who
practice it, seem to labor under the misapprehension that the young
canes, after they have reached the top of the trellis, and are of the
proper length and strength for their next year's crop, do not need that
part of the young growth beyond these limits any more, and that all the
surplus growth is "of evil." Under the influence of this idea they arm
themselves with a villainous looking thing called a bill-hook, and cut
and slash away at the young growth unmercifully, taking away one-half
of the leaves and young wood at one fell swoop. The consequence is a
stagnation of sap: the wood they have left, cannot, and ought not to
ripen perfectly, and if anything like a cold winter follows, the vines
will either be killed entirely, or very much injured at least. The
intelligent vine dresser will tie his young canes, away from the
bearing wood as much as he can, to give the fruit the fullest
ventilation; but when they have reached the top of the trellis, tie
them along it and let them ramble as they please. They will thus form a
natural roof over the fruit, keep off all injurious dews, and shade the
grapes from above. There is nothing more pleasing to the eye than a
vineyard in September, with its wealth of dark green foliage above, and
its purple clusters of fruit beneath, coyly peeping from under their
leafy covering. Such grapes will have an exquisite bloom, and color, as
well as thin skin and rich flavor, which those hanging in the scorching
rays of the sun can never attain.
MANURING THE VINE.
As remarked before, this will seldom be necessary, if the vintner is
careful enough to guard against washing of the top-soil, and to turn
under all leaves, etc., with the plow in the Fall. The best manure is
undoubtedly fresh surface soil from the woods. Should the vines,
however, show a material decrease in vigor, it may become necessary to
use a top-dressing of decomposed leaves, ashes, bone-dust, charcoal,
etc. Fresh stable-yard manure I would consider the last, and only to be
used when nothing better can be obtained. Turn under with the plow, as
soon as the manure is spread. Nothing, I think, is more injurious than
the continual drenching with slops, dish-water, etc., which some good
souls of housewives are fond of bestowing on their pet grape vines in
the garden. It creates a rank, unwholesome growth, and will cause
mildew and rot, if anything can.
THINNING OF THE FRUIT.
This will sometimes be necessary, to more fully develop the bunches.
The best thinning is the reduction of the number of bunches at the time
of the first summer pruning. If a vine shows more fruit, than the vine
dresser thinks it can well ripen, take away all weak and imperfect
shoots, and also all the small and imperfect bunches. If the number of
bunches on the fruit bearing branches is reduced to two on each, it
will be no injury, but make the remaining number of bunches so much
more perfect. Thinning out the berries on the bunches, although it will
serve to make the remaining berries more perfect and larger, is still a
very laborious process, and will hardly be followed to any extent in
vineyards, although it can well be practised on the few pet vines of
the amateur, and will certainly heighten the beauty of the bunches and
RENEWING OLD VINES.
Should a vine become old and feeble, it can be renewed by layering.
The vine is prepared in the following manner: Prune all the old wood
away, leaving but one of the most vigorous of your canes; then dig a
trench from the vine along the trellis, say three feet long, eight
inches deep; into this bend down the old vine, stump, head and all,
fastening it down with a strong hook, if necessary, letting the end of
the young cane come out about three eyes above the ground, and fill up
with rich, well pulverized soil. The vine will make new roots at every
joint, and become vigorous, and, so to say, young, again. Some
recommend this process for young vines, the first year after planting;
but if good plants have been chosen and planted, it will not be
necessary. Feeble and poor plants may need this process, but if plants
have good strong roots when planted, (and
such should be planted when they can be obtained), they will not be benefited by it.
A FEW NECESSARY IMPROVEMENTS.
These are very handy, and with them the work can be done quicker,
and with less labor, as but a slight pressure of the hand will cut a
strong vine. Fig. 22 will show the shape of one for heavy pruning. They
are made by
J. T. Henry, Hampden, Connecticut, and can
be had in almost all hardware stores. The springs should be of brass,
as steel springs are very apt to break. A much lighter and smaller
kind, with but one spring, is very convenient for gathering grapes, as
it will cut the stem easily and smoothly, and not shake the vine, as
cutting with the knife will do. They are also handy to clip out unripe
and rotten berries, and should be generally used instead of knives.
It will sometimes be necessary to use these, to cut out old stumps,
etc., although, if a vine is well managed, it will seldom be necessary.
Fig. 23 will show a kind which is very convenient for the purpose, and
will also serve for orchard pruning; the blade is narrow, connected
with the handle, and can be turned in any direction.
GATHERING THE FRUIT FOR MARKET.
In this, the vineyardist, of course, only aims at profit, and for
that purpose the grapes are often gathered when they are hardly
colored—long before they are really ripe—because the public will
generally buy them at a high price. Let us hope, however, that better
taste will in time prevail, and that even a majority of the public will
learn to appreciate the difference between ripe and unripe fruit. I
would advise my readers at least to wait until the fruit is fully and
evenly colored; for it is our duty to do all we can to correct this
vicious leaning towards swallowing unripe fruit, which is so prevalent
in this nation, and the producer will not lose anything either, because
his fruit will look much better, it will therefore bring the same price
which half ripened fruit would have brought, even a week sooner, and
will weigh heavier. Every grape will generally color full two weeks
before it is fully ripe; and as they are one of the fruits that will
they are gathered, they will shrivel and look indifferent if gathered before.
To ship them to market any distance, they should be packed in low,
shallow boxes, say six inches high, so that they will hold about two
layers of grapes. Cut the branches carefully, with as long a stem as
possible, for more convenient handling, taking care to preserve all the
bloom, and clipping out all the unripe berries. They are generally
weighed in the basket before packing. Now put a layer of vine leaves on
the bottom of the box; then make a layer of grapes, laying them as
close as possible; then put a layer of leaves over them; on them put
another layer of grapes, filling up evenly; then spread leaves rather
thickly over them, and nail on the cover. The box should be perforated
with holes, to admit some air. The grapes must be perfectly dry when
gathered, and the box should be well filled to prevent shaking and
PRESERVING THE FRUIT.
For this purpose, the fruit must be thoroughly ripe. When fully
ripe, the stem will turn brown, and shrivel somewhat. The fruit is then
carefully gathered, and laid upon a dry floor, or shelves, for a day or
two, so that some of the moisture will evaporate. They can then be
packed in boxes, in about the same manner as described before, but
paper will be better than leaves for this purpose. They are then put
away on shelves, in an airy room, which must, however, be free from
frost, in an even temperature of from 30° to 40°. They should be
examined from time to time, and the decayed berries taken out. They may
thus be kept for several months.
GATHERING THE FRUIT TO MAKE WINE.
For this purpose, the grapes should hang as long as it is safe to
allow them; for it will make a very material difference in the quality
of the wine, as the water will evaporate, and only the sugar remain;
and the flavor or the bouquet will only be fully developed in fully
ripened fruit. For gathering, use clean tin or wooden pails; cut the
stems as short as possible, and clip or pinch out all unripe or rotten
berries, leaving none but fully ripe berries on the bunch. The further
process will be described under "wine making."
VARIETIES OF GRAPES.
I would here, again remark, that I consider the question of "what to
plant" as chiefly a local one, for which I do not presume to lay down
fixed rules; but which every one must, to a certain extent, determine
for himself, by visiting vineyards as nearly similar in soil and
location to the one he intends to plant, and then closely observing the
habits of the varieties after planting. Only thus can we obtain certain
results; not by following blindly in the footsteps of so-called
authorities, who may live a hundred, or a thousand miles from us, and
whose success with certain varieties, on soil entirely different from
ours, under different atmospheric influences, can by no means be taken
by us as evidence of our success under other circumstances.
1.—Varieties most generally used.
Originated with Mr.
E. Bull, of Concord, Mass. This variety seems
to be the choice of the majority throughout the country, and however
much opinions may differ about its quality, nobody seems to question
its hardiness, productiveness, health and value as a market fruit. Here
it is of very good quality—and our Eastern brethren have no idea what a
really well ripened Missouri grown Concord grape is. It seems to become
better the further it is grown West and South; an observation which I
think applies with equal force to the Hartford Prolific, Norton's
Virginia, Herbemont and others.
Bunch large, heavy shouldered—somewhat compact; berries large, round, black, with blue bloom; buttery, sweet and rich
here, when well ripened; with very thin skin and tender pulp.
A strong and vigorous grower; with healthy, hardy foliage; free from
mildew, and but slightly subject to rot; succeeds well in almost any
soil; and is, so far, the most profitable grape we grow. A fine market
fruit, and also makes a fine, light red wine, which is generally
preferred to the Catawba. Can be easily grown from cuttings.
NORTON'S VIRGINIA, (NORTON'S SEEDLING, VIRGINIA SEEDLING).
Dr. N. Norton, of Richmond, Virginia. This
grape has opened a new era in American grape culture, and every
successive year but adds to its reputation. While the wine of the
Catawba is often compared to Hock, in the wine of Norton's Virginia, we
have one of an entirely different character; and it is a conceded fact
that the best red wines of Europe are surpassed by the Norton as an
astringent, dark red wine, of great body, fine flavor, and superior
medical quality. Vine vigorous and hardy, productive; starting a week
later in the Spring than the Catawba, yet coloring a week sooner; and
will succeed in almost any soil, although producing the richest wine in
warm, southern aspects. Bunches medium, compact; berries small, black,
sweet and rich; with dark bluish red juice; only moderately juicy.
Healthy in all locations, as far as I know, but I doubt its utility in
the East, as I do not think the summers warm and long enough. Seems to
attain its greatest perfection in Missouri, but is universally esteemed
in the West. Very difficult to propagate, as it will hardly grow from
cuttings in open air.
Herbemont.—Berries 1/3 diameter.
HERBEMONT (HERBEMONT MADEIRA, WARREN).
Origin uncertain. Wherever this noble grape will succeed and fully
ripen, it is hard to find a better, for table, as well as for wine. Its
home seems to be the South; and I think it will become one of the
leading varieties, as soon as the new order of things has been fully
established, and free, intelligent labor has taken the place of the
drudging, dull toil of the slave. It is particularly fond of warm,
southern exposures, with light limestone soil, and it would be useless
to plant it on soil retentive of moisture. Bunch long, large shouldered
and compact; berry medium, black, with blue bloom—"bags of wine," as
Downing fitly calls them; skin thin, sweet flesh, without pulp, juicy
and high flavored, never clogs the palate; fine for the table, and
makes an excellent wine, which should be pressed immediately after
mashing the grapes, when it will be white, and of an exquisite flavor;
generally ripens about same time as Catawba. A very vigorous and
healthy grower, but tender in rich soils, and should be protected in
winter. Extremely productive.
Raised by Mr.
Steel, of Hartford, Conn.: hardy, vigorous
and productive; bunch large, shouldered, rather compact; berry full
medium, globular, with a perceptible foxy flavor; skin thick, black,
covered with blue bloom; flesh sweet, juicy; much better here than at
the East; of very fair quality for its time of ripening; hangs well to
the bunch here, although said to drop at the East. For market, this is
perhaps as profitable as any variety known, as it ripens very early and
uniformly, producing immense crops. I have made wine from it, which,
although not of very high character, yet ranks as fair.
Origin uncertain; from Western New York; vigorous, hardy and
productive; free from disease; bunch medium, long and narrow, generally
shouldered, compact; berry medium, roundish oblong, black, covered with
bloom; juicy; somewhat acid; colors early, but should hang late to
become thoroughly ripe; brisk vinous flavor, but somewhat of the aroma
of the frost grape; makes a dark red wine, of good body, and much
resembling claret, but not equal to Norton's Virginia, or even the
Concord, in my estimation. Although safe and reliable, I think it has
lately been over praised as a wine grape, and as it is a very long,
straggling grower, it is one of the hardest vines to keep under
control. Propagates with the greatest ease.
First disseminated and made known to the public by Mr.
A. Thompson, of Delaware, Ohio. This is
claimed by many to be the best American grape; and although I am
inclined to doubt this, and prefer, for my taste, a well ripened
Herbemont, it is certainly a very fine fruit. Unfortunately, it is very
particular in its choice of soil and location, and it seems as if there
are very few locations at the West where it will succeed. Whoever has a
location, however, where it will grow vigorously and hold its leaves,
will do well to plant it almost exclusively, as it makes a wine of very
high character, and is very productive. A light, warm soil seems to be
the first requisite, and the bluffs on the north side of the Missouri
river seem to be peculiarly adapted to it, while it will not flourish
on those on the south side. Bunch small, compact, and generally
shouldered; berry below medium, round; skin thin, of a beautiful
flesh-color, covered with a lilac bloom; very translucent; pulp sweet
and tender, vinous and delicious; wood very firm; short-jointed;
somewhat difficult to propagate, though not so much so as Norton's
Virginia. Subject in many locations, to leaf-blight, and is
a very slow grower. Fine for the table, and makes an excellent
white wine, equal to, if not superior, to the best Rhenish wines, which
sells readily at from five to six dollars per gallon. Although I cannot
recommend it for general cultivation, it should be tried every where,
and planted extensively where it will succeed. Ripens about five days
later than Hartford Prolific.
2.—Healthy varieties promising well.
CYNTHIANA (RED RIVER).
Origin unknown—said to come from Arkansas. This grape promises fair
to become a dangerous rival to Norton's Virginia, which variety it
resembles so closely in wood and foliage, that it is difficult if not
impossible to distinguish it from that variety. The bunch and berry are
of the same color as Norton's Virginia, but somewhat larger, and more
juicy; sweeter, with not quite as much astringency, and perhaps a few
days earlier. Makes an excellent dark red wine, with not as much
astringency, but even more delicate aroma, and was pronounced the "best
red wine on exhibition," at the last meeting of the State Horticultural
Society, where it was in competition with eight samples of the Norton's
Virginia. A strong grower, and productive; as difficult to propagate as
the Norton. Mr.
evidently has not the true variety, when he calls it worthless,
and identical with the Chippewa and Missouri, from both of which it is
Closely resembles the foregoing, and will also make an excellent
wine of a similar character. I consider both of these varieties as
great acquisitions, as they are perfectly healthy, very productive, and
will make a wine unsurpassed in merit by any of their class.
This grape, under proper treatment, has proved very productive with
me, and will make a wine of very high quality. The bunches and berries
are small, it is true; but not much more so than the Delaware; it also
sets its fruit well, and as it is hardy, healthy, and a strong grower,
it promises to be one of our leading wine grapes. Bunches small, but
compact, shouldered; berry small; white at the East; pale flesh-color
here; round, sweet, and without pulp; skin very thin. Requires long
pruning on spurs, to bring out its fruitfulness.
Hartford Prolific.—Berries ½ diameter.
This new grape, grown from the seed of the Concord, by that enthusiastic and warm-hearted horticulturist,
Samuel Miller, of Lebanon, Pa., promises to
be one of the greatest acquisitions to our list of really hardy and
good grapes, which have lately come before the public. It has fruited
with me the last extremely unfavorable season, and has stood the
hardest test any grape could be put to, without flinching. Bunch
medium, but compact and heavy, shouldered; berry pale yellow, covered
with a white bloom; perhaps a trifle smaller than the Concord; round;
pulpy, but sweet as honey, with only enough of the foxy aroma to give
it character; juicy—very good. I esteem it more highly than any other
white grape I have, as it has the healthy habit and vigorous growth of
its parent, and promises to make an excellent white wine. Hangs to the
bunch well, and will ripen some days before the Concord.
Another very promising white grape—a strong grower, and healthy; may
be somewhat too late in the east, but will, I think, be valuable at the
West and South. Bunch medium to large—-not shouldered; berry above
medium; oval; pale yellow, with a slight amber tint on one side; pulp
tender, sweet and sprightly; few seeds; fine aroma; quality, best.
Ripens about same time as Catawba; seems to be productive.
ROGERS' HYBRID, NO. 1.
This variety, which is also too late in ripening for the East, to be
much esteemed there, fruited with me last season, and more than
fulfilled all the expectations I entertained of it. It is the best of
Hybrids, which I have yet tasted; and its productiveness,
healthy habit, large berry, and good quality, makes it one of the most
desirable of all the grapes we raise here, for the table and market.
Bunch medium, loose, shouldered; berry very large, oblong, pale
flesh-color; skin thin; pulp tender; few seeds, separating freely from
the pulp; sweet, vinous and juicy; quality very good. Ripens about same
time as Catawba. It is to be regretted that Mr.
has not named some of the best of his hybrids, as the numbers
give rise to many mistakes, and a great deal of confusion. It would be
in the interest of grape-growing if this was avoided, by naming at
least the best of them.
CREVELING, (CATAWISSA) (BLOOM).
This grape, although not quite perhaps so early as has been claimed
for it—ripening about five days after Hartford Prolific—is yet of much
better quality; and if it only should prove productive enough, will no
doubt make an excellent wine. Bunch long, loose, shouldered; berry full
medium, black, round, with little bloom; pulp tender; dark juice, sweet
and very good—seems to be hardy and healthy.
NORTH CAROLINA SEEDLING.
Bunch large, shouldered, compact; berry large, oblong, black, with
blue bloom; pulpy, but sweet and good; ripens only a few days after
Hartford Prolific—very productive, hardy and healthy; strong grower.
One of the most showy market grapes we have—not much smaller than Union
Village—and as it ripens evenly, and is of very fair quality, is quite
a favorite in the market. Makes also a wine of very fair quality.
For the West, and very likely further South, this is a very
desirable grape for wine, of the Herbemont class. Bunch compact and
heavy, sometimes shouldered; berry rather small, black, without pulp,
juicy sweet and good; productive, but somewhat tender; strong grower;
should be covered in Winter; makes a very delicious wine, of the
Madeira class, which very often remains sweet for a whole year. Ripens
late, about a week after the Catawba.
evidently does not know this grape, as he says it is the same as
Logan. The Rulander we have here, is claimed to be a true foreign
variety. I am inclined to think, however, that it is either a seedling
from foreign seed, raised in the country, or one of the Southern grapes
of the Herbemont class. Be this as it may however, it certainly bears
no resemblance to the Logan, which is a true Fox, of the Labrusca
family. Vine a strong, vigorous, short-jointed grower, with
heart-shaped, light green, smooth leaves; very healthy, and more hardy
than either the Herbemont or Cunningham. Bunch rather small, very
compact, shouldered; berry small, black, without pulp, juicy sweet and
delicious; not subject to rot or mildew: makes a delicious, high
flavored wine, but not a great deal of it. The wine of this variety is
certainly one of the most delicate and valuable ones we have yet made
here and on the soil around Hermann, it will, I think, take preference
over the Delaware. Ripens a few days later than Concord.
Introduced here by Mr.
F. Muench, who received it from Mr.
Theard, of Louisiana, where it has been
cultivated for some time. Some claim that it is the grape which makes
the famous white Burgundy wine of Europe. I am inclined to think it is
also a native, grown from foreign seed, like the foregoing, which it
closely resembles in foliage and wood; but will, I think, make a wine
of still higher quality, perhaps the most delicate white wine we yet
have. It can hardly be distinguished from the Rulander in appearance,
but has a more sprightly flavor. Ripens at the same time.
This nice little grape will certainly make one of the most delicious
red wines we have, if it can only be raised in sufficient quantity. It
is healthy and moderately productive, but a slow grower. Bunch loose,
small, shouldered; berry small, black, without pulp, juicy, sweet and
delicious; quality best. Ripens about the same time as the Concord.
Bunch medium, very compact, shouldered; berry medium, round,
greenish-white, covered with white bloom; thick skin, pulpy, but very
sweet, and of fine flavor; makes an excellent white wine; very
productive, but somewhat subject to leaf-blight in wet seasons; does
not rot or mildew.
Concord.—Berries ½ diameter.
Has often been confounded with Mary Ann, as both varieties were
disseminated here, by different persons, under the same name. The true
Blood's Black is a few days later than Hartford Prolific; bunch heavy
and compact, shouldered; berry round, black, full medium, of very fair
quality, and an excellent early market grape. The vine is healthy,
hardy, and enormously productive.
Perhaps the largest native grape, of fair quality; bunch large,
heavy and compact, shouldered; berry very large, oval, black, with blue
bloom, pulpy, but juicy, sweet and good. Of better quality here than
Isabella; tolerably free from disease, and a splendid market and table
fruit. Ripens rather late.
For those who do not object to a good deal of foxy flavor, this will
be a valuable market grape, on account of its earliness, beautiful
color, and great productiveness. Mr.
has evidently not the true variety, as he describes it as a "black grape, sour and worthless."
Bunch medium, compact, shouldered; berry full medium, oval,
flesh-color, with a beautiful lilac bloom; very sweet, pulpy and foxy.
Ripens at same time with Hartford Prolific. Vine a strong grower,
healthy and hardy.
For family use, there is at present no grape here at the West, which
is superior to this in quality; and although it will not pay to plant
largely, either for market or wine, yet no one who can appreciate a
really good grape, should be without a few vines of it at least.
Bunch long, rather loose, shouldered; berry medium, pale yellow,
translucent, without pulp, sweet, juicy, and of excellent flavor; vine
moderately productive and healthy. Ripens with Catawba.
IVES' SEEDLING, (IVES' MADEIRA).
This variety is recommended so much lately, as a superior grape for
red wine, that I will mention it here, although I have not yet fruited
it. It was first introduced by Col.
Waring, of Hamilton County, Ohio, and is
said to be free from rot, healthy and vigorous, and to make an
excellent red wine, the must having sold from the press at $4 to $5 per
gallon. The following description is from bunches sent me from Ohio
Bunch medium, compact, shouldered; berry rather below medium, black,
oblong, juicy, sweet and well flavored; ripens about the time of the
Concord. Vine vigorous and healthy; said to propagate with the greatest
ease; evidently belonging to the Labrusca species.
We have a seedling here of the Norton's Virginia, raised by Mr.
F. Langendorfer, of this neighborhood, which
promises to be a valuable wine grape for this location. It has not yet
been named, and the owner says will never receive a name, unless it
proves, in some respect, superior to anything we have yet. He has
fruited it twice, and made wine from it the last season, which is of a
very high character, resembling Madeira, of a brownish-yellow color;
splendid flavor, and of great body. The vine is a strong grower,
healthy and very productive; bunch long, seldom shouldered, very
compact; berry small, black, with blue bloom; only moderately juicy,
and ripens a week later than its parent. I am inclined to think that it
will be of great value here and further south as a wine grape, although
it would ripen too late to suit the climate further north.
It may be expected here that I should speak of the Iona, Israella,
and Adirondac, as many, and good authorities too, think they will be
very valuable. The Iona and Israella have fruited but once with me,
last summer, and my experience, therefore, has not been long enough to
warrant a decided opinion. As far as it goes, however, it has been
decidedly unfavorable. My Iona vine set about twenty five bunches, but
mildewed and rotted so badly, that I hardly saved as many berries. It
may improve in time, but I hardly think it will do for our soil;
whatever it may do for others—and I cannot put it down as "promising
well." It is a grape of fine quality,
where it will succeed. The Israella stood the climate and bad
weather bravely, but ripened at least five days later than the Hartford
Prolific close by, and was not as good in quality as that grape; in
fact, the most insipid and tasteless grape I ever tried. They may both
improve, however, upon closer acquaintance, or be better in other
locations. Here, I do not feel warranted in praising them, and a
description will hardly be needed, as their originator has taken good
care to so fully bring their merits, real or imaginary, before the
grape-growing community, that it would be superfluous for me to
The Adirondac I saw and much admired at the East, in 1863; and if its originator, Mr.
Bailey, had only been liberal enough to
furnish me with a scion of two eyes, for which I offered to pay him at
the rate of a dollar per eye, I would, perhaps, be able to report about
it. Instead of the scion, he sent me a dried up vine, which had no life
in it when I received it, and in consequence of these disadvantages, I
have not been able to fruit it yet. It seems to be healthy and
vigorous, however; and should the quality of the fruit be the same as
at the East, may be a valuable acquisition.
On this list I have only mentioned those which have fruited here
from four to five years, with very few exceptions, and which have
generally, during that time, proved successful. To fully warrant the
recommendation of a grape for general cultivation I think, we should
have fruited it at least five or six years; and although there are many
on this list which I should not hesitate to plant largely, yet I have
preferred to be rather a little over cautious than too sanguine.
Class 3.—Healthy varieties, but inferior in quality.
MINOR SEEDLING, (VENANGO).
This grape has attracted some attention lately—some persons claiming for it superior qualities as a
grape, even classing it with the Delaware, a statement which I
cannot believe. It is a rank Fox, and I can therefore hardly think it
will make a wine to suit a fastidious palate.
Bunch medium, very compact, sometimes shouldered; berry full medium,
pale red, round, sweet, but very pulpy and foxy. Ripens later than
Catawba; is very productive, vigorous and healthy—not subject to rot.
Creveling.—Berries ½ diameter.
The earliest grape we have—healthy, hardy and productive—but in
point of quality, a rather poor Isabella, which it much resembles.
Bunch full medium, moderately compact, shouldered; berry medium,
oval, black, pulpy, with a good deal of acidity, and strong flavor.
Ripens about four to five days before the Hartford Prolific, but is
much inferior to that variety in quality.
Very productive and healthy, but too foxy, and liable to drop from the bunch when ripe.
Bunch medium, compact, sometimes shouldered; berry round, brown,
sweet, very foxy—pulpy. Ripens about five days later than Hartford
Ripens about same time with Hartford Prolific—but rather inferior in
quality. Bunch long, loose, shouldered; berry medium, oval; resembling
Resembling Isabella, but more free from disease; good grower and productive; will suit those who like the Isabella.
HYDE'S ELIZA, (CANBY'S AUGUST).
Bunch medium, compact; berry medium, round, black, juicy; rather
pleasant, but unproductive, and of little value, where better varieties
can be had.
Resembles the foregoing; may, perhaps, make a better wine, but cannot be recommended.
Grown here, from seed of the Mammoth Catawba, by Mr.
Bunch medium, compact, sometimes shouldered; berry very large,
round, pale red, pulpy; rather deficient in flavor, but very large;
free from disease. Ripens a week later than Catawba.
CAPE (ALEXANDER, SCHUYLKILL MUSCADELL).
Bunch rather small, compact; berry medium, black, round, pulpy,
rather sweet, dark juice. Said to make a good red wine, but my
experience has not been favorable. Ripens late—a week after the
A Fox Grape, pale red, pulpy, inferior in quality and color to Perkins, which it closely resembles; ripens about same time.
ELSINBURGH, (MISSOURI BIRD'S EYE).
This old variety was largely disseminated under the latter name, by
Nicholas Longworth, of Cincinnati. It is a
nice little grape; but too unproductive to be of any value here,
although it makes a very superior wine. Bunch long and loose,
shouldered; berry small, round, black, moderately juicy, with little
pulp, sweet and good. Ripens a week before the Catawba.
A grape of very fair quality, and rather early, but a shy bearer.
Bunch small, rather loose; berry medium, pale yellow, sweet and good.
A strong grower; said to be very productive; resembling Clinton in
foliage and general habit. Bunch small, compact; berry below medium,
black, juicy, with a marked frost grape flavor, and hardly worthy of
Of the Herbemont class, but about a week earlier; of good quality,
but too unproductive to be recommended. Bunch medium, compact,
shouldered; berry small, round, black, sweet and good.
Early and hardy, but too unproductive, and bunch too small. Bunch
small, shouldered; berry round; of very good quality for its season;
black, juicy. Ripens as early as Hartford Prolific.
Class 4.—Varieties of good quality, but subject to disease.
This well known grape was brought into notice by Major
Adlum, of Georgetown, D.C., who thought he
had, by its introduction, conferred a greater boon upon the American
people, than if he had paid the national debt. For the last ten years,
it has been so much subject to disease, that it cannot be recommended
any longer, except for some peculiar locations. It is said to be
healthy in northern Illinois and Iowa, where it will not stand the
winter, however, without protection.
Bunch large, moderately compact, shouldered; berry medium, red,
covered with lilac bloom; juicy, pulpy, sweet, somewhat astringent, of
good flavor. A fair grape for the table, and makes a good wine,
resembling Hock, but subject to mildew, rot and leaf-blight.
A seedling of the foregoing, raised by Mrs.
Diana Crehore. Perhaps one of the most
variable of all the grapes, being very fine one season, and very
indifferent the next. Bunch large and long, compact, shouldered; berry
pale red, round, somewhat pulpy; thick skin; juicy and sweet, with a
peculiar flavor, which
very aptly calls "feline;" others call it "delicate." Very
productive, but subject to leaf-blight, mildew and rot; although
perhaps not so much as the Catawba. Ripens about a week earlier.
Unworthy of cultivation here, but said to be better at the North.
Bunch long, loose, shouldered; berry medium, oval, black; tough pulp,
with a good deal of acidity, juicy, and a peculiar flavor. Ripens
irregularly. Subject to rot and leaf-blight.
Closely resembling the Isabella, but ripens more evenly, and is of somewhat better quality.
Bunch large, loose, shouldered; berry black, large, sweet and
buttery; of very good quality, but very much subject to disease. Ripens
somewhat later than Catawba.
Bunch large and loose; berry pale amber, covered with white bloom;
sweet, tolerable flavor, but poor bearer, and subject to mildew. Ripens
about same time as Catawba.
ALLEN'S HYBRID, (ALLEN'S WHITE HYBRID).
Bunch large and loose, shouldered; berry medium, nearly round;
white, without pulp, juicy and delicious; quality very good, but
variable; sometimes best. Said to be a hybrid of Vitis Labrusca and a
foreign grape, raised by
J. F. Allen, Salem, Massachusetts, and is
really a fine grape, although too tender and variable for extensive
vineyard culture. Ripens about two weeks before Catawba.
CUYAHOGA (COLEMAN'S WHITE).
Much recommended in Ohio, where it originated, but unworthy of
culture here, being a poor grower, a shy bearer and very much subject
to leaf-blight. Bunch medium, compact; berry dirty greenish-white;
thick skin; pulpy, and insipid.
This is, in dry seasons, a really fine grape, but subject to
leaf-blight and mildew in hot seasons. Bunch often a foot long, loose,
shouldered; berry below medium, round, black, juicy; without pulp,
sweet and vinous. Belonging to the Herbemont family; is a strong
grower; very productive, and rather tender. May be valuable in well
drained soils, and southern climate, as it undoubtedly will make a fine
Bunch long and loose, large, shouldered; berry medium, round, pale
red, with fine lilac bloom; pulpy; of fair quality, but subject to
leaf-blight, and mildew.
ROGERS' HYBRID, NO. 15.
Bunch large, loose, shouldered; berry above medium, red with blue
bloom, roundish-oblong, pulpy, with peculiar flavor, sweet and juicy. A
showy grape, but not very good in quality, and much subject to mildew
and rot. Ripens at the same time with Catawba.
Class 5.—Varieties unworthy of cultivation.
Of all the humbugs ever perpetrated upon the grape-growing public,
this is one of the most glaring. The vine, although a rank and healthy
grower, is unproductive; seldom setting more than half a dozen berries
on a bunch, and these are so sour, have such a hard pulp, with such a
decided frost-grape taste and flavor, and are so deficient in juice,
that no sensible man should think of making them into wine, much less
call it, as its disseminator did, "the true port wine grape."
This was sent me some eight years ago, by
B. M. Watson, as "the best and hardiest white
grape in cultivation," and he charged me the moderate sum of $5 each,
for small pot plants, with hardly two eyes of ripened wood. After
careful nursing of three years, I had the pleasure of seeing my labors
rewarded by a moderate crop of the vilest
Fox Grapes it has ever been my ill luck to try.
The foregoing have all been tried by me, and have been characterized and classified as I have found them
here. The following are varieties I have not fruited yet, although I have them on trial.
Varieties highly recommended by good authorities: Telegraph, Black
Hawk, Rogers' Hybrids, Nos. 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, 13, 19, 22, 33, Hettie,
Lydia, Charlotte, Mottled, Pauline, Wilmington, Cotaction and Miles.
There are innumerable other varieties, for which their originators
all claim peculiar merits, and some of whom may prove valuable. But all
who bring new varieties before the public, should consider that we have
already names enough, nay, more than are good for us, and that it is
useless to swell the list still more, unless we can do so with a
variety, superior in some respects to our best varieties. A new grape,
to claim favor at the hands of the public, should be healthy, hardy, a
good grower, and productive; and of superior quality, either for the
table or for wine.
There are some varieties circulated throughout the country as
natives, which are really nothing but foreign varieties, or, perhaps,
raised from foreign seed. They will not succeed in open air, although
now and then they will ripen a bunch. The Brinkle, Canadian Chief,
Child's Superb, and El Paso belong to this class.
A really good
grape should have a large amount of sugar, but tempered and made
more agreeable by a due proportion of acid, as, if the acid is wanting,
it will taste insipid; a tender pulp, agreeable flavor, a large amount
of juice, a good sized bunch, large berry, small seeds, thin skin, and
hang well to the bunch.
grape should have a large amount of sugar, with the acid in due
proportion, a distinctive flavor or aroma; though not so strong as to
become disagreeable, and for red wines a certain amount of astringency.
It is an old vintner's rule, that the varieties with small berries will
generally make the best wine, as they are generally richer in sugar,
and have more character than varieties with larger berries.
Clara.—Berries ½ diameter.
GATHERING THE GRAPES.
Although I have described the process already, I will here again reiterate that the grapes should be thoroughly
ripe. This does not simply mean that they are well colored.
The Concord generally begins to color here the 5th of August, and we
could gather the majority of our grapes, of that variety, for market,
by the 15th or 20th of that month; but for wine-making we allow them to
hang until the 15th or 20th of September, and sometimes into October.
Thus only do we get the full amount of sugar and delicacy of aroma
which that grape is capable of developing, as the water evaporates, and
the sugar remains; it also loses nearly all the acidity from its pulp;
and the latter, which is so tough and hard immediately after coloring,
nearly all dissolves and becomes tender. The best evidences of a grape
being thoroughly ripe are: 1st. The stem turns brown, and begins to
shrivel; 2nd, the berry begins to shrivel around the stem; 3d, thin and
transparent skin; 4th, the juice becomes very sweet, and sticks to the
finger like honey or molasses, after handling the grapes for some time.
It is often the case that some bunches ripen much later on the
vines. In such a case, the ripest should be gathered first, and those
that are not fully ripe remain on the vines until mature. They will
ripen much quicker if the ripest bunches have been removed first.
The first implements needed for the gathering are clean wooden and
tin pails and sharp knives, or better still, the small shears spoken of
in a former part of this work. Each gatherer is provided with a pail,
or two may go together, having a pail each, so that one can empty and
the other keep filling during the time. If there are a good many unripe
berries on the bunches, they may be put into a separate pail, and all
that are soft will give an inferior wine. The bunch is cut with as
short a stem as possible, as the stem contains a great deal of acid and
astringency; every unripe or decayed berry is picked out, so that
nothing but perfectly sound, ripe berries remain.
The next implement that we need is a wooden tub or vat, to carry the
grapes to the mill; or the wagon, if the vineyard is any distance from
the cellar. This is made of thin boards, half-inch pine lumber
generally; 3 feet high inside, 10 inches wide at the bottom, 20 inches
wide at the top, being flat on one side, where it is carried on the
back, and bound with thin iron hoops. It is carried by two
leather-straps running over the shoulders, as shown in Fig. 29, and
should contain about eight to ten pails, or a little over two bushels
of grapes. The carrier can pass easily through the rows with it to any
part of the vineyard, and lean it against a post until full. If the
vineyard is close to the cellar or press-house, the grapes can be
carried to it directly; if too far, we must provide a long tub or vat,
to place on the wagon, into which the grapes are emptied. I will here
again repeat that the utmost cleanliness should be observed in
the apparatus; and no tub or vat should be used that is in the
least degree mouldy. Everything should be perfectly sweet and clean,
and a strict supervision kept up, that the laborers do not drop any
crumbs of bread, &c., among the grapes, as this will immediately
cause acetous fermentation. The weather should be dry and fair, and the
grapes dry when gathered.
As the wine-cellar and press-house are generally built together, I
will also describe them together. A good cellar should keep about an
even temperature in cold and warm weather, and should, therefore, be
built sufficiently deep, arched over with stone, well ventilated, and
kept dry. Where the ground is hilly, a northern or northwestern slope
should be chosen, as it is a great convenience, if the entrance can be
made even with the ground. Its size depends, of course, upon the
quantity of wine to be stored. I will here give the dimensions of one I
am constructing at present, and which is calculated to store from
15,000 to 20,000 gallons of wine. The principal cellar will be 100 feet
long, by 18½ feet wide inside, and 12 feet high under the middle of the
arch. This will be divided into two compartments; the back one, at the
farthest end of the cellar, to be 40 feet, which is destined to keep
old wine of former vintages; as it is the deepest below the ground, it
will keep the coolest temperature. It is divided from the front
compartment by a wall and doors, so that it can be shut off should it
become necessary to heat the other, while the must is fermenting. The
other compartment will be 60 feet long, and is intended for the new
wine, as the temperature will be somewhat higher, and, therefore,
better adapted to the fermentation of the must. This will be provided
with a stove, so that the air can be warmed, if necessary, during
fermentation. This will also be closed by folding doors, 5½ feet wide.
There will be about six ventilators, or air-flues, on each side of
these two cellars, built in the wall, constructed somewhat like
chimneys, commencing at the bottom, whose upper terminus is about two
feet above the arch, and closed with a grate and trap-doors, so that
they can be closed and opened at will, to admit air and light. Before
this principal cellar is an arched entrance, twenty feet long inside,
also closed by folding doors, and as wide as the principal cellar. This
will be very convenient to store empty casks, and can also be used as a
fermenting room in Fall, should it be needed. The arch of the principal
cellar will be covered with about six feet of earth; the walls of the
cellar to be two feet thick. The press-house will be built above the
cellar, over its entire length, and will also be divided into two
rooms. The part farthest from the entrance of the cellar, to be 60 feet
by 18, will be the press-house proper, with folding doors on both
sides, about the middle of the building, and even with the surface
ground, so that a wagon can pass in on one side and out on the other.
This will contain the grape-mill, wine-presses, apparatus for stemming,
and fermenting vats for white or light-colored wine. The other part, 40
feet long, will contain an apparatus for distilling, the casks and vats
to store the husks for distilling, and the vats to ferment very dark
colored wines on the husks, should it be necessary. It will also be
used as a shop, contain a stove, and be floored, so that it will be
convenient, in wet and cold weather, to cut cuttings, &c. A large
cistern, to be built on one side of the building, so that the necessary
water for cleaning casks, &c., will be handy; with a force-pump,
will complete the arrangement. I need hardly add here, that the whole
cellar should be paved with flags or brick, and well drained, so that
it will be perfectly dry.
This cellar is destined to hold two rows of casks, five feet long,
on each side. For this purpose layers of strong beams are provided,
upon which the casks are laid in such a manner that they are about two
feet from the ground, fronting to the middle, and at least a foot or
eighteen inches of space allowed between them and the wall, so that a
man can conveniently pass and examine them. This will leave five and
a-half to six feet of space between the two rows, to draw off the wine,
This cellar will, at the present rates of work, cost about $6,000.
Of course, the cellar, as before remarked, can be built according to
the wants of the grape-grower. For merely keeping wine during the first
winter, a common house cellar will do; but during the hot days of
summer wine will not keep well in it.
APPARATUS FOR WINE-MAKING.—THE GRAPE MILL AND PRESS.
This mill can be made very simple, of two wooden rollers, fastened
in a square frame, running against each other, and turned with a crank
and cog-wheel. The rollers should be about nine inches in diameter, and
set far enough apart to mash the berries, but not the seeds and stems.
A very convenient apparatus, mill and press, is manufactured by Geiss
& Brosius, Belleville, Ill., and where the quantity to be made does
not exceed 2,000 gallons, it will answer every purpose. The mill has
stone rollers, which can be set by screws to the proper distance, with
a cutting apparatus on top, for apples in making cider, which can be
taken off at will. The press is by itself, and consists of an iron
screw, coming up through the platform, with a zinc tube around it to
prevent the must from coming in contact with it. The platform has a
double bottom, the lower one with grooves; the upper consists simply of
boards, with grooves through it to allow the must to run through. These
boards are held in their places by wooden pegs, and can be taken off at
will. A circular hopper, about a foot in diameter, and made of laths
screwed to iron rings, with about a quarter of an inch space between
them, encloses the zinc tube. The outer frame is constructed in the
same way, is about 2½ feet in diameter, and bound with strong wooden
and iron hoops. The mashed grapes are poured into the frame, a
close-fitting cover is put on, which is held down by a strong block,
and the power is applied by an iron nut just on the top of the screw,
with holes in each end to apply strong wooden levers. The apparatus is
strong, simple, and convenient, and presses remarkably fast and clean,
as the must can run off below, on the outside and also on the inside.
The cost of mill and press is about $90, but each can be had separately
If a large amount of grapes are to be pressed, the press should be
of much larger dimensions, but may be constructed on the same
principle—a strong, large platform, with a strong screw coming through
the middle, and a frame made of laths, screwed to a strong wooden
frame, through which the must can run off freely, with another frame
around the outside of the platform. The must runs off through grooves
to the lower side, where it is let off by a spout. It may be large
enough to contain a hundred bushels of grapes at a single pressing, for
a great deal depends upon the ability of the vintner to press a large
amount just at the proper time, when the must has fermented on the
husks just as long as he desires it to do.
These should correspond somewhat with the size of the casks we
intend to fill; but they are somewhat unhandy if they hold more than,
say four hundred gallons. They are made of oak or white pine boards, 1½
inch thick, bound securely by iron hoops, about three feet high, and,
say, five feet wide. The bottom and inside must be worked clean and
smooth, to facilitate washing. When the must is to ferment a longer
time on the husks, as is often the case in red wines, a false bottom
should be provided, for the purpose of holding the husks down below the
surface of the must. It is made to fit the size of the vat, and
perforated with holes, and held in its place by sticks of two inches
square, let into the bottom of the vat, and which go through the false
bottom. A hole is bored through them, and the bottom held down by means
of a peg passed through this hole. The vat is closed by a tight-fitting
cover, through which a hole is bored, large enough to admit a tin tube
of about an inch in diameter, to let off the gas. The vats are set high
enough above the ground to admit drawing off the must through a faucet
near the bottom of the vat. For those grapes which are to be pressed
immediately we need no false bottoms or covers for the vats. As
fermentation generally progresses very rapidly here, and it is not
desirable with most of our wines to ferment them on the husks very
long, as they generally have astringency enough, operations here are
much more simple than in Europe.
The must is generally allowed to run into a large funnel, filled
with oat straw, and passes through a hose into the casks in the cellar.
A hole can be left through the arch for that purpose, as it is much
more convenient than to carry the must in buckets from the press into
It is sometimes desirable to stem the grapes, although it is seldom
practiced in this country. This can be easily done by passing the
bunches rapidly over a grooved board, made somewhat in the form of a
common washboard, only the grooves should be round at the bottom and
the edges on top. It is seldom desirable here.
THE WINE CASKS.
These should be made of well-seasoned white oak staves, and can, of
course, be of various sizes to meet the wants of the vintner. The best
and most convenient size for cellar use I have found to be about 500
gallons. These are sufficiently large to develop the wine fully, and
yet can be filled quick enough to not interrupt fermentation. Of
course, the vintner must have some of all sizes, even down to the
five-gallon keg; but for keeping wine, a cask of 500 gallons takes less
room comparatively, and the wine will attain a higher degree of
perfection than in smaller casks. The staves to make such a cask should
be about 5 feet long, and 1½ to 2 inches thick, and be the very best
wood to be had. The cask will, when ready, be about as high as it is
long, should be carefully worked and planed inside, to facilitate
washing and have a so-called door on one end, 12 inches wide and 18
inches high, which is fastened by means of an iron bolt and screw, and
a strong bar of wood. This is to facilitate cleaning; when a cask is
empty, the door is taken out, and a man slips into the cask with a
broom and brush, and carefully washes off all remnants of lees, etc.,
which, as the lees of the wine are very slimy and tenacious, cannot be
removed by merely pouring in water and shaking it about. It is also
much more convenient to let these large casks remain in their places,
than to move them about. The casks are bound with strong iron hoops.
To prepare the new casks, and also the vats, etc., for the reception
of the must, they should be either filled with pure water, and allowed
to soak for several days, to draw out the tannin; then emptied, scalded
with hot water, and afterwards steamed with, say two or three gallons
of boiling wine; or they can be made "wine-green," by putting in about
half a bushel of unslaked lime, and pouring in about the same quantity
of hot water. After the lime has fallen apart, add about two quarts of
water to each pound of lime, put in the bung, and turn the cask about;
leaving it lie sometimes on one side, sometimes on the other, so that
the lime will come in contact with every part of the cask. Then pour
out the lime-water; wash once or twice with warm water, and rinse with
a decoction of vine leaves, or with warm wine. Then rinse once more
with cold water, and it will be fully prepared to receive the must.
This is also to be observed with old casks, which have become, by
neglect or otherwise, mouldy, or have a peculiar tang.
MAKING THE WINE.
As we have our apparatus all prepared now, we can commence the
operation itself. This can be done in different ways, according to the
class of wine we are about to make.
To make white, or light-colored wine, the grapes which were gathered
and mashed during the day, can be pressed and put into the cask the
following night. To mash them, we place the mill above one of the
fermenting vats, mashing them as quick as they are carried or hauled to
the press-house. The vat is simply covered with a cloth during the day.
If the season has been good, the must will make good wine without the
addition of anything else. In poor seasons it will be necessary to add
water and sugar, to improve its quality, but I will speak of this
method in a separate chapter. In the evening, the must which will run
off, is first drawn from the vat, and by some kept separate; but I
think, it makes, upon the whole, a better wine, if the pressing is
added to it. The husks, or mashed grapes, are then poured upon the
press, and pressed until fully dry. To accomplish this the press is
opened several times, and the edges of the cake, or "cheese," as some
call it, are cut off with an axe or cleaver and put on top, after which
they are pressed down again. The casks are then filled with the must;
either completely, if it is intended that the must should ferment
above, as it is called, or
under, when the cask is not completely filled, so that the
husks, which the must will throw up, will remain in the cask. Both
methods have their advantages, but I prefer the former, with a very
simple contrivance, to exclude the air, and also prevent waste. This is
a siphon or tin tube, bent in the form of a double elbow, of which one
end fits tightly in the bung hole, and the other empties into a dish of
water, to be set on one end of the cask, through which the gas escapes,
as shown in Fig. 30.
We should, however in pressing, be guided somewhat by the weather.
In warm weather fermentation will commence much sooner, and be more
violent, than when the weather is cold. Consequently we should press
much sooner in warm weather, than when the air is cool. Late in the
fall, it is sometimes advisable to leave the must a day longer on the
husks, than indicated below. The cellar should be kept at an even
temperature of about 60° during the first few weeks, and if it does not
naturally attain this temperature, then it should be warmed by a stove,
as much of the quality of the wine depends upon a thorough fermentation
during the first ten days.
When violent fermentation has ceased, say after about ten or twelve
days, and the must has become quiet, the cask should be closed with a
tight bung, and the wine is left until it is clear. In about two to
three months it ought to be perfectly clear and fine—is then racked,
i.e., drawn from the lees, by means of a faucet, and put into
clean, sweet casks. It is very important that the casks are
"wine-seasoned," that is, have no other tang than of wine. For must,
fresh brandy or whiskey casks may be used, but after the wine has
fermented, it will not do to use such, as the wine will acquire the
smell and taste of the liquor. When a cask has been emptied, it should
be carefully cleaned, as before described, by entering at the door, or
with smaller casks, by taking out the head. After it is thoroughly
cleansed, it may be fumigated slightly, by burning a small piece of
sulphured paper, or a nutmeg in it, and then filled. To keep empty
casks in good condition they should, after cleaning, be allowed to
become thoroughly dry, when they are sulphured, closed tightly, and
laid away in the cellar. The operation of sulphuring should be repeated
every six weeks. If wanted for use, they are simply rinsed with cold
For racking the wine, we should have: 1st a large brass faucet. 2d.
Pails of a peculiar shape, wider at the top, to prevent wastage. 3d. A
wooden funnel, as shown in Fig. 31, to hold about six gallons. In
racking—first carefully lift the bung of the cask, as the exclusion of
air from above would cause a gurgling motion in the cask, if tapped
below, which would stir up the lees in the bottom. Then, after having
loosened with a hammer the wooden peg, closing the tap hole, let your
assistant hold the pail opposite the hole, hold the faucet in your
right hand, and with the left, withdraw the plug, inserting the faucet
quickly. Drive it in firmly with a hammer, and you are ready for the
Do not fully open the faucet at first, because the first pailful is
generally not quite clear, and should run slowly. You can keep this by
itself; and this, and the last from the lees, is generally put into a
cask together and allowed to settle again. It will make a good, clear
wine after a few weeks. As soon as the wine runs quite clear and
limpid, it can be put into the cask destined to receive it, and you can
let it run as fast as it can be emptied. When the wine has run off down
to the tap hole, the cask may be carefully raised on the other end, one
inserting a brick or piece of board under it, while the other lifts
gently and slowly. This may be repeated several times, as long as the
wine runs clear; and even the somewhat cloudy wine may be put with the
first pailful into a separate cask. As soon as it comes thick or muddy,
it is time to stop. The lees are emptied out, and will, if distilled,
make a fine flavored and very strong brandy.
This treatment can be applied to all white and light-colored wines,
when it is not desirable to have a certain astringency in the wine. The
Catawba, Concord, Herbemont, Delaware, Rulander, Cassady, Taylor,
Louisiana, Hartford Prolific, and Cunningham should all be treated in a
similar manner. The Concord, although it will, under this treatment,
make only a light red wine, of which the color can be changed to dark
red by fermenting on the husks, is not desirable if treated in the
latter manner; as the peculiar foxy aroma of the grape will be imparted
to the must to such a degree, as to make the flavor disagreeable, I
shall recur to the subject of flavor in wines in another chapter.
To make red wine, the must should be fermented on the husks, as
generally the darkest color is desired, and also, a certain
astringency, which the wine will acquire principally from the seeds,
skins, and stems of the grapes, which contain the tannin. The grapes
are mashed, and put into the fermenting vat, of the kind described
before, with false bottoms. After the vat is filled about three-fourths
the false bottom is put on, the husks are pressed down by it, until
they are covered about six inches by the must, and the cover put on. It
is seldom desirable here to ferment longer than three days on the
husks, if the weather is warm—in a temperature of 60°—two days will
often be enough, as the wine will become too rough and astringent by an
excessively long fermentation. Only experience will be the proper guide
here, and also the individual taste. It will be generally time to
press, when the must has changed its sweet taste, and acquired a
somewhat rough and bitter one. Where it is desired to make a very dark
colored wine, without too much astringency, the grapes should be
stemmed, as most of the rough and bitter taste is in the stems; and it
can then be fermented on the husks for six or eight days. In this
manner the celebrated Burgundy wines are made; also most of the red
wines of France and Germany. Many of them are even allowed to go
through the whole process of fermentation, and the husks are filled
into the cask with the must, through a door, made in the upper side of
the cask; and it there remains, until the clear wine is drawn off. This
is seldom desirable here, however, as our red wine grapes have
sufficient astringency and color without this process. The treatment
during fermentation, racking, etc., is precisely the same as with white
wine, with only this difference, that the red wine is generally allowed
to stay longer on the lees; for our object in making this class of wine
is different than in making white, or so-called Schiller or light red
wine. In white and light colored wines we desire smoothness and
delicacy of bouquet and taste; in dark red wines, we desire astringency
and body, as they are to be the so-called stomach or medical wines. It
is therefore generally racked but once, in the latter part of February
or March, and the white and light colored wines are racked in December
or January, as soon as they have become clear—and again in March. We
also use no sulphur in fumigating the casks, as it takes away the color
to a certain extent. We generally do not use anything, but simply clean
the casks well, in racking red wine.
I will say a few words in regard to
fermentation. If this method is to be followed, the casks are not
filled, but enough space left to allow the wine to ferment, without
throwing out lees and husks at the bung. The bung is then covered, by
laying a sack filled with sand over it, and when fermentation is
over—as well by this as by the other method—the casks are filled with
must or wine, kept in a separate cask for the purpose. The casks should
always be kept well filled, and must be looked over and filled every
two or three weeks, as the wine will continually lose in quantity, by
evaporation through the wood of the casks. The casks should be
varnished or brushed over with linseed oil, as this will prevent
evaporation to some extent.
In wine making, and giving the wine its character, we can only be
guided by practice and individual taste, as well as the prevailing
taste of the consuming public. If the prevailing taste is for light
colored, smooth and delicate wines, we can make them so, by pressing
immediately, and racking soon, and frequently. If a dark colored,
astringent wine is desired, we can ferment on the husks, and leave it
on the lees a longer period. There is a medium course, in this as in
everything else; and the intelligent vintner will soon find the rules
which should guide him, by practice with different varieties.
Among the wines to be treated as dark red, I will name Norton's
Virginia, Cynthiana, Arkansas, and Clinton, and, I suppose, Ives'
Seedling. It would be insulting to these noble wines to class with them
the Oporto, which may make a very dark colored liquid, but no
worth the name, unless an immense quantity of sugar is added, and
enough of water to dilute the peculiar vile aroma of that grape.
AFTER TREATMENT OF THE WINE.
Even if the wine was perfectly fine and clear, when drawn off, it
will go through a second fermentation as soon as warm weather sets
it—say in May or June. If the wine is clear and fine, however, the
fermentation will be less violent, than if it is not so clear, as the
lees, which the wine has never entirely deposited; act as they ferment.
It is not safe or judicious, therefore, to bottle the wine
this second fermentation is over. As soon as the wine has become
perfectly clear and fine again—generally in August or September—it can
be bottled. For bottling wine we need: 1st. clean bottles. 2d. good
corks, which must first be scalded with hot water, to soften them, and
draw out all impurities, and then soaked in cold water. 3d. a small
funnel. 4th. a small faucet. 5th. a cork-press, of iron or wood. 6th. a
light wooden mallet to drive in the corks.
After the faucet has been inserted in the cask, fill your bottles so
that there will be about an inch of room between the cork and the wine.
Let them stand about five minutes before you drive in the cork, which
should always be of rather full size, and made to fit by compressing it
with the press at one end. Then drive in the cork with the mallet, and
lay the bottles, either in sand on the cellar floor, or on a rack made
for that purpose. They should be laid so that the wine covers the cork,
to exclude all air.
The greater bulk of the wine, however, if yet on hand; can be kept
in casks. All the wine to be kept thus, should be racked once in about
six months, and the casks kept well filled. Most of our native wines,
however, are generally sold after the second racking in March, and a
great many even as soon as clear—in January.
DISEASES OF THE WINE AND THEIR REMEDIES.
These will seldom occur, if the wine has been properly treated.
Cases may arise, however, when it will become necessary to rack the
wine, or fine it by artificial means.
TREATMENT OF FLAT AND TURBID WINE.
The cause of this is generally a want of Tannin. If the wine has a
peculiar, flat, soft taste, and looks cloudy, this is generally the
case. Draw the wine into another cask, which has been well sulphured,
and add some pulverized tannin, which can be had in every drug store.
The tannin may be dissolved in water—about an ounce to every two
hundred gallons of wine—and the wine well stirred, by inserting a stick
at the bung. Should it not have become clear after about three weeks,
it should be fined. This can be done, by adding about an ounce of
powdered gum-arabic to each forty gallons, and stirring the wine well
when it has been poured in. Or, take some wine out of the casks—add to
each forty gallons which it contains the whites of ten eggs, whipped to
foam with the wine taken out—pour in the mixture again—stir up well,
and bung up tight. After a week the wine will generally be clear, and
should then be drawn off.
USE OF THE HUSKS AND LEES.
These should be distilled, and will make a very strong, fine
flavored brandy. The husks are put into empty barrels or vats—stamped
down close, and a cover of clay made over them, to exclude the air.
They will thus undergo a fermentation, and be ready for distillation in
about a month. They should be taken fresh from the press, however; for
if they come into contact with the air, they will soon become sour and
mouldy. The lees can be distilled immediately. Good fresh lees, from
rather astringent wines are also an excellent remedy when the wine
becomes flat, as before described.
DR. GALL'S AND PETIOL'S METHOD OF WINE MAKING.
The process of wine making before described, however, can only be
applied in such seasons, and with such varieties of grapes, that
contain all the necessary elements for a good wine in due proportion.
For unfavorable seasons, with such varieties of grapes as are deficient
in some of the principal ingredients, we must take a different
course—follow a different method. To see our way clearly before us in
this, let us first examine which are the constituent parts of must or
grape juice. A chemical analysis of must, shows the following result:
Grape juice contains sugar, water, free acids, tannin, gummy and
mucous substances, coloring matter, fragrant or flavoring substances,
(aroma bouquet). A good wine should contain all these ingredients in
due proportion. If there is an excess of one, and a want of the other,
the wine will lose in quality. Must, which contains all of these, in
due proportion, we call
must, and only by determining the amount of sugar and acids in this
so-called normal must, can we gain the knowledge how to improve such
must, which does not contain the necessary proportion of each. The
frequent occurrence of unfavorable seasons in Europe, when the grapes
did not ripen fully, and were sadly deficient in sugar, set intelligent
men to thinking how this defect could be remedied; and a grape crop,
which was almost worthless, from its want of sugar, and its excess of
acids, could be made to yield at least a fair article, instead of the
sour and unsaleable article generally produced in such seasons. Among
the foremost who experimented with this object in view I will here name
Petiol; but especially
Dr. Ludwig Gall, who has at last reduced the
whole science of wine-making to such a mathematical certainty, that we
stand amazed only, that so simple a process should not have been
discovered long ago. It is the old story of the egg of Columbus; but
the poor vintners of Germany, and France, and we here, are none the
less deeply indebted to those intelligent and persevering men for the
incalculable benefits they have conferred upon us. The production of
good wine is thus reduced to a mathematical certainty; although we
cannot in a bad season, produce as high flavored and delicate wines, as
in the best years, we can now always make a fair article, by following
the simple rules laid down by
Dr. Gall. When this method was first
introduced, it was calumniated and despised—called adulteration of
wine, and even prohibited by the governments of Europe; but,
fearlessly challenged his opponents to have his wines analyzed
by the most eminent chemists; which was repeatedly done, and the
results showed that they contained nothing but such ingredients which
pure wine should contain; and since men like
and others have openly endorsed and recommended gallizing, prejudice is giving way before the light of scientific knowledge.
But to determine the amount of sugar and acids contained in the must we need a few necessary implements. These are:
THE MUST SCALE OR SACCHAROMETER.
The most suitable one now in use is the
must scale, constructed on the principle that the instrument sinks
the deeper into any fluid, the thinner it is, or the less sugar it
contains. Fig. 32 shows this instrument, "which is generally made of
silver, or German silver, although they are also made of glass. A,
represents a hollow cylinder—best made of glass, filled with must to
the brim, into which place the must scale B. It is composed of the
a, which keeps it suspended in the fluid; of the weight
c, for holding in a perpendicular position; and of the scale
divided by small lines into from fifty to one hundred degrees.
Before the gauge is placed in the must, draw it several times through
the mouth, to moisten it—but allow no saliva to adhere to it. When the
guage ceases to descend, note the degree to which it has sunk; after
which press it down with the finger a few degrees further, and on its
standing still again, the line to which the must reaches, indicates its
so-called weight, expressed by degrees." The must should be weighed in
an entirely fresh state, before it shows any sign of fermentation, and
should be free from husks, and pure.
This instrument, which is indispensable to every one who intends to
make wine, can be obtained in nearly every large town, from the
Jacob Blattner, at St. Louis keeps them for sale.
The saccharometer will indicate the amount of sugar in the must, and
its use is so simple, that every one can soon become familiar with it.
The next step in the improvement of wines was to determine the amount
of acids the must contained, and this problem has also been
successfully solved by the invention of the acidimeter:
THE ACIDIMETER AND ITS USE.
"The first instrument of this kind which came into general use, was one invented by
Dr. Otto, and consists of a glass tube, from
ten to twelve inches in length, half an inch in width, and closed at
the lower end. Fig. 33 shows
"The tube is filled to the partition line
a, with tincture of litmus. The must to be examined, before it
has begun to ferment is then poured into the tube, until it reaches the
line 0. The blue tincture of litmus, which would still be blue, if
water had been added, is turned into rose-color by the action of the
acids contained in the must.
"If a solution of 1,369 per cent, of caustic ammonia is added to
this red fluid, and the tube is turned around to effect the necessary
mixture, keeping its mouth closed with the thumb, after the addition of
more or less of the ammonical fluid, it will change into violet. This
tinge indicates the saturation of the acids, and the height of the
fluid in the tube now shows the quantity of acid in the must, by whole,
half and fourth parts per cent. The lines marked 1, 2, 3, 4, indicate
whole per cents.; the short intermediate lines, one-fourth per cents."
Dr. Gall, shortly before the vintage of 1850,
first publicly recommended the dilution of the acids, he was obliged to
refer to this instrument, as already known, and everywhere at hand,
which was at the same time cheap, and simple in its use. "It is true,
however, that if must is examined by this instrument, the quantity of
acids contained in it, is really somewhat larger than indicated by the
instrument; because the acids contained in the must require for their
saturation a weaker solution of ammonia than acetic acid." As however,
acidimeter shows about one eighth of the acids less than the
must actually contains, and about as much acids combined with earths is
removed during fermentation,
recommends that the quantity of acids be reduced to 6½, or at most 7 thousandths of
acidimeter, and the results have shown that this was about the
right proportion; as the wines in which the acids were thus diluted
were in favor with all consumers.
"The acidimeter referred to was afterwards improved, by making the
tube longer and more narrow, and dividing it into tenths of per cents,
instead of fourths; thus dividing the whole above 0 into thousandths.
But although by this improved acidimeter the quantity of acids could be
ascertained with more nicety, there remained one defect, that in often
turning the glass tube for mixing the fluids, some of the contents
adhered to the thumb in closing its mouth. This defect was remedied in
a new acidimeter, invented by Mr.
Geisler, who also invented the new
vaporimeter for the determination of the quantity of alcohol contained
in wine. It is based on the same principle as
Otto's, but differs altogether in its
construction. It is composed of three parts, all made of glass; the
mixing bottle, Fig. 34; the Pipette, Fig. 35; and the burette, Fig 36.
Besides, there should be ready three small glasses—one filled with
tincture of litmus, the second with a solution of 1,369 per ammonia,
and the third with the must or wine to be tested; also, a taller glass,
or vessel, having its bottom covered with cotton, in which glass the
burette, after it has been filled with the solution of ammonia, is to
be placed in an upright position until wanted.
35. Fig. 36.
"To use this instrument the must and the tincture of litmus, having
first received the normal temperature of 14° Reaumer, are brought into
the mixing bottle by means of the pipette, which is a hollow tube of
glass, open on both ends. To fill it, place its lower end into the
tincture or must, apply the mouth to the upper end, and by means of
suction fill it with the tincture of litmus to above the line indicated
at A. The opening of the top is then quickly closed with the thumb; by
alternately raising the thumb, and pressing it down again, so much of
the tincture is then allowed to flow back into the glass so as to lower
the fluid to the line indicated at A. The remainder is then brought
into the bottle, and the last drops forced out by blowing into the
"In filling it with must, raise the fluid in the same way, until it
comes up to the line indicated at B, and then empty into the mixing
"The burette consists of two hollow tubes of glass. In filling it,
hold the smaller tube with the right hand into the glass containing the
solution of ammonia, apply the mouth to the larger one, and by drawing
in the fluid the tube is filled exactly to the line indicated at 0 of
"Holding the mixing bottle by the neck between the thumb and
forefinger of the left hand, place the smaller tube of the burette into
the mouth of the mixing bottle, which must be constantly shaken; let
enough of the solution of ammonia be brought drop by drop, into the
mixture in the bottle, till the red has been changed into the deep
reddish blue of the purple onion. This is the sign of the proper
saturation of the acids. To distinguish still better, turn the mixing
bottle upside down, by closing its mouth with the thumb, and examine
the color of the fluid in the tube-shaped neck of the bottle, and
afterwards, should it be required, add another drop of the ammonia.
Repeat this until the proper tone of color has been reached, neither
red nor blue. After thus fixing the precise point of the saturation of
the acids, the burette is held upright, and the quantity of the
solution of ammonia consumed is accurately determined,—that is, to what
line on the scale the burette has been emptied. The quantity of the
solution so used corresponds with the quantity of acids contained in
the must—the larger division lines opposite the numbers indicating the
thousandths part, and the smaller lines or dots the ten thousandths
"Until the eye has learned by practice to recognize the points of
saturation by the tone of color, it can be proven by means of litmus
paper. When the mixture in the bottle begins to turn blue, put in the
end of a slip of litmus paper about half an inch deep, and then draw
this end through your fingers, moistened with water. So long as the
ends of the blue litmus paper become more or less reddened, the acids
have not been completely saturated. Only when it remains blue, has the
point of saturation been reached.
must, the method should be modified as follows:—Instead of first
filling the pipette with tincture of litmus, fill it with water to the
line A, and transfer it into the bottle. After the quantity of must has
been added, drop six-thousandths of the solution of ammonia into the
mixture, constantly shaking it while dropping, then test it, and so on,
until, after every further addition required with litmus paper, it is
no longer reddened after having been wiped off."
further gives the following directions, as a guide, to
distinguish and determine the proportion of acids which a must should
contain, to be still agreeable to the palate, and good:
"Chemists distinguish the acid contained in the grape as the vinous,
malic, grape, citric, tannic, gelatinous and para-citric acids. Whether
all these are contained in the must, or which of them, is of small
moment for us to know. For the practical wine-maker, it is sufficient
to know, with full certainty, that, as the grape ripens, while the
proportion of sugar increases, the quantity of acids continually
diminishes; and hence, by leaving the grapes on the vines as long as
possible, we have a double means of improving their products—the must
"All wines, without exception, to be of good and of agreeable taste,
must contain from 4½ to 7 thousandths parts of free acids, and each
must containing more than seven thousandths parts of free acids may be
considered as having too little water and sugar in proportion to its
quantity of acids.
"In all wine-growing countries of Germany, for a number of years
past, experience has proved that a corresponding addition of sugar and
water is the means of converting the sourest must, not only into a good
drinkable wine, but also into as good a wine as can be produced in
in that peculiar and delicate aroma found only in the must of
well-ripened grapes, and which must and will always distinguish the
wines made in the best seasons from those made in poor seasons.
"The saccharometer and acidimeter, properly used, will give us the
exact knowledge of what the must contains, and what it lacks; and we
have the means at hand, by adding water, to reduce the acids to their
proper proportion; and by adding sugar, to increase the amount of sugar
the must should contain; in other words, we can change the poor must of
indifferent seasons into the normal must of the best seasons in
its bouquet or aroma, thereby converting an unwholesome and disagreeable drink into an agreeable and healthy one."
THE CHANGE OF THE MUST, BY FERMENTATION, INTO WINE.
Let us glance for a few moments at this wonderful, simple, and yet
so complicated process, to give a clearer insight into the functions
which man has to perform to assist Nature, and have her work for him,
to attain the desired end. I cannot put the matter in a better light
for my readers than to quote again from
Dr. Gall. He says:—"To form a correct
opinion of what may and can be done in the manufacture of wine, we must
be thoroughly convinced that Nature, in her operations, has other
objects in view than merely to serve man as his careful cook and
butler. Had the highest object of the Creator, in the creation of the
grape, been simply to combine in the juice of the fruit nothing but
what is indispensable to the formation of that delicious beverage for
the accommodation of man, it might have been still easier done for him
by at once filling the berries with wine already made. But in the
production of fruits, the first object of all is to provide for the
propagation and preservation of the species. Each fruit contains the
germ of a new plant, and a quantity of nutritious matter surrounding
and developing that germ. The general belief is, that this nutritious
matter, and even the peculiar combination in which it is found in the
fruit, has been made directly for the immediate use of man. This,
however, is a mistake. The nutritious matter of the grape, as in the
apple, pear, or any similar product, is designed by Nature only to
serve as the first nourishment of the future plant, the germ of which
lies in it. There are thousands of fruits of no use whatever, and are
even noxious to man, and there are thousands more which, before they
can be used, must be divested of certain parts, necessary, indeed, to
the nutrition of the future plant, but unfit, in its present state, for
the use or nourishment of man. For instance, barley contains starch,
mucilaginous sugar, gum, adhesive matter, vegetable albumen, phosphate
of lime, oil, fibre and water. All these are necessary to the formation
of roots, stalks, leaves, flowers and the new grain; but for the
manufacture of beer, the brewer needs only the first three substances.
The same rule applies to the grape.
"In this use of the grape, all depends upon the judgment of man to
select such of its parts as he wishes, and by his skill he adapts and
applies them in the best manner for his purposes. In eating the grapes,
he throws away the skins and seeds; for raisins, he evaporates the
water, retaining only the solid parts, from which, when he uses them,
he rejects their seeds. If he manufactures must, he lets the skins
remain. In making wine, he sets free the carbonic acid contained in the
must, and removes the lees, gum, tartar, and, in short, everything
deposited during, and immediately after fermentation, as well as when
it is put into casks and bottles. He not only removes from the wine its
sediments, but watches the fermentation, and checks it as soon as its
vinous fermentation is over, and the formation of vinegar about to
begin. He refines his wine by an addition of foreign substances if
necessary; he sulphurizes it; and, by one means or another, remedies
"The manufacture of wine is thus a many-sided art; and he who does
not understand it, or knows not how to guide and direct the powers of
Nature to his own purposes, may as well give up all hopes of success in
Dr. Gall; and to the intelligent and unbiased
mind, the truth and force of these remarks will be apparent, without
further extending or explaining them. How absurd, then, the blind
ravings of those who talk about "natural" wines, and would condemn
every addition of sugar and water to the must by man, when Nature has
not fully done her part, as adulteration and fraud. Why, there is no
such thing as a "natural wine;" for wine—good wine—is the product of
art, and a manufacture from beginning to end. Would we not think that
parent extremely cruel, as well as foolish, who would have her child
without clothing, simply because Nature had allowed it to be born
without it? Would not the child suffer and die, because its mother
failed to aid Nature in her work, by clothing and feeding it when it is
yet unable to feed and clothe itself? And yet, would not that
wine-maker act equally foolish who has it within his power to remedy
the deficiencies of Nature with such means as she herself supplies in
good season, and which ought and would be in the must but for
unfavorable circumstances, over which we have no control? Wine thus
improved is just as pure as if the sugar and water had naturally been
in the grapes in right proportions; just as beneficial to health; and
only the fanatical "know-nothing" can call it adulterated. But the
prejudices will disappear before the light of science and truth,
however much ignorance may clamor against it.
Galileo, when forced to abjure publicly his
great discovery of the motion of the earth around the sun as a heresy
and lie, murmured between his teeth the celebrated words, "And yet it
move; and the theory is now an acknowledged truth, with which every
schoolboy is familiar. Thus will it be with improved wine-making. It
will yet be followed, generally and universally, as sure as the public
will learn to distinguish between good and poor wine.
Let us now observe for a moment the change which fermentation makes
in converting the must into wine. The nitrogeneous compounds—vegetable
albumen, gluten—which are contained in the grape, and which are
dissolved in the must as completely as the sugar, under certain
circumstances turn into the fermenting principle, and so change the
must into wine. This change is brought about by the fermenting
substance coming into contact with the air, and receiving oxygen from
it, in consequence of which it coagulates, and shows itself in the
turbid state of must, or young wine. The coagulation of the lees takes
place but gradually, and just in the degree the exhausted lees settle.
The sugar gradually turns into alcohol. The acids partly remain as
tartaric acid, are partly turned into ether, or settle with the lees,
chrystallize, and adhere to the bottom of the casks. The etheric oil,
or aroma, remains, and develops into bouquet; also the tannin, to a
certain degree. The albumen and gluten principally settle, although a
small portion of them remains in the wine. The coloring matter and
extractive principle remain, but change somewhat by fermentation.
Thus it is the must containing a large amount of sugar needs a
longer time to become clear than that containing but a small portion of
it; therefore, many southern wines retain a certain amount of sugar
undecomposed, and they are called
sweet, or liqueur wines; whereas, wines in which the whole of the sugar has been decomposed are called
I have thought it necessary to be thus explicit to give my readers
an insight into the general principles which should govern us in
wine-making. I have quoted freely from the excellent work of
Dr. Gall. We will now see whether and how we can reduce it to practice. I will try and illustrate this by an example.
"Experiments continued for a number of years have proved that, in
favorable seasons, grape juice contains, on the average, in 1,000 lbs.:
This proportion would constitute what I call a
normal must. But now we have an inferior season, and the must contains,
instead of the above proportions, as follows:
What must we do to bring such must to the condition
of a normal must? This is the question thus arising. To solve it, we
calculate thus: If, in six pounds of acids in a normal wine, 240 pounds
of sugar appear, how much sugar is wanted for nine pounds of acids?
Answer, 360 pounds. Our next question is: If, in six pounds of acids in
a normal must, 754 pounds of water appear, how much water is required
for nine pounds of acids? Answer, 1,131 pounds. As, therefore, the must
which we intend to improve by neutralizing its acids, should contain
360 pounds of sugar, nine pounds of acids, and 1,131 pounds of water,
but contains already 150 pounds of sugar, 9 pounds of acids, and 841
pounds of water, there remain to be added, 210 pounds of sugar, no
acids, and 290 pounds of water.
By ameliorating a quantity of 1,000 pounds must by 210 pounds sugar,
and 290 pounds water, we obtain 1,500 pounds of must, consisting of the
same properties as the normal must, which makes a first-class wine."
This is wine-making, according to
method, in Europe. Now, let us see what we can do with it on American soil, and with American grapes.
THE MUST OF AMERICAN GRAPES.
If we examine the must of most of our American wine grapes closely,
we find that they not only contain an excess of acids in inferior
seasons, but also a superabundance of flavor or aroma, and of tannin
and coloring matter. Especially of flavor, there is such an abundance
that, were the quantity doubled by addition of sugar and water, there
would still be an abundance; and with some varieties, such as the
Concord, if fermented on the husks, it is so strong as to be
disagreeable. We must, therefore, not only ameliorate the acid, but
also the flavor and the astringency, of which the tannin is the
principal cause. Therefore it is, that to us the knowledge of how to
properly gallize our wines is still more important than to the European
vintner, and the results which we can realize are yet more important.
By a proper management, we can change must, which would otherwise make
a disagreeable wine, into one in which everything is in its proper
proportion, and which will delight the consumer, to whose fastidious
taste if would otherwise have been repugnant. True, we have here a more
congenial climate, and the grapes will generally ripen better, so that
we can in most seasons produce a drinkable wine. But if we can increase
the quantity, and at the same time improve the quality, there is
certainly an inducement, which the practical business sense of our
people will not fail to appreciate and make use of.
There is, however, one difficulty in the way. I do not believe that
the acidimeter can yet be obtained in the country, and we must import
them direct from the manufacturers,
Dr. L. C. Marquart, of Bonn, on the Rhine; or
J. Diehn, Frankfort-on-the-Main.
However, this difficulty will soon be overcome; and, indeed,
although it is impossible to practice gallizing without a
saccharometer, we may get at the surplus of acids with tolerable
certainty by the results shown by the saccharometer. To illustrate
this, I will give an example:
Last year was one of the most unfavorable seasons for the ripening
of grapes we have ever had here, and especially the Catawba lost almost
nine-tenths of its crop by mildew and rot; it also lost its leaves, and
the result was, that the grapes did not ripen well. When gathering my
grapes, upon weighing the must, I found that it ranged from 52° to 70°;
whereas, in good seasons, Catawba must weighs from 80° to 95°. I now
calculated thus: if normal must of Catawba should weigh at least 80°,
and the must I have to deal with this season will weigh on an average
only 60°, I must add to this must about ½ lb. of sugar to bring it up
to 80°. But now I had the surplus acid to neutralize yet. To do this, I
calculated thus: If, even in a normal Catawba must, or a must of the
best seasons, there is yet an excess of acid, I can safely count on
there being at least one-third too much acid in a must that weighs but
60°. I, therefore, added to every 100 gallons of must 40 gallons of
soft water, in which I had first dissolved 80 lbs. of crushed sugar,
which brought the water, when weighed after dissolving the sugar in it,
up to 80°. Now, I had yet to add 50 lbs., or half a pound to each
gallon of the original must, to bring
up to 80°. I thus pressed, instead of 100 gallons, 150 gallons,
from the same quantity of grapes; and the result was a wine, which
every one who has tasted it has declared to be excellent Catawba. It
has a brilliant pale yellow color, was perfectly clear 1st of January,
and sold by me to the first one to whom I offered it, at a price which
I have seldom realized for Catawba wine made in the best seasons,
without addition of sugar or water. True, it has not as strong an aroma
as the Catawba of our best seasons, nor has it as much astringency; but
this latter I consider an advantage, and it still has abundant aroma to
give it character.
Another experiment I made with the Concord satisfied me, without
question, that the must of this grape will always gain by an addition
of water and sugar. I pressed several casks of the pure juice, which,
as the Concord had held its leaves and ripened its fruit very well,
contained sugar enough to make a fair wine, namely, 75°. This I
generally pressed the day after gathering, and put into separate casks.
I then took some must of the same weight, but to which I had added, to
every 100 gallons, 50 gallons of water, in which I had diluted sugar
until the water weighed 75°, or not quite two pounds of sugar to the
gallon of water, pressed also after the expiration of the same time,
and otherwise treated in the same manner. Both were treated exactly
alike, racked at the same time; and the result is, that every one who
tries the two wines, without knowing how they have been treated,
prefers the gallized wine to the other—the pure juice of the grape. It
is more delicate in flavor, has less acidity, and a more brilliant
color than the first, the ungallized must. They are both excellent, but
there is a difference in favor of the gallized wine.
recommends grape sugar as the best to be used for the purpose.
This is made from potato starch; but it is hard to obtain here, and I
have found crushed loaf sugar answer every purpose. I think this sugar
has the advantage over grape sugar, that it dissolves more readily, and
can even be dissolved in cold water, thus simplifying the process very
much. It will take about two pounds to the gallon of water to bring
this up to 80°, which will make a wine of sufficient body. The average
price of sugar was about 22 cents per pound, and the cost of thus
producing an additional gallon of wine, counting in labor, interest on
capital, etc., will be about 60 cents. When the wine can be sold at
from $2 to $3 per gallon, the reader will easily perceive of what
immense advantage this method is to the grape-grower, if he can thereby
not only improve the quality, but also increase the quantity of the
The efforts made by the Commissioner of Patents, and the
contributors to the annual reports from the Patent Office, to diffuse a
general knowledge of this process, can therefore not be commended too
highly. It will help much to bring into general use, among all classes,
good, pure, native wines; and as soon as ever the poorer classes can
obtain cheap agreeable wines, the use of bad whiskey and brandy will be
abandoned more and more, and this nation will become a more temperate
But this is only the first step. There is a way to still further increase the quantity.
and others found, by analyzing the husks of the grape after the
juice had been extracted by powerful presses, that they not only still
contained a considerable amount of juice, but also a great amount of
extracts, or wine-making principles, in many instances sufficient for
three times the bulk of the juice already expressed. This fact
suggested the question: As there are so many of these valuable
properties left, and only sugar and water exhausted, why cannot these
be substituted until the others are completely exhausted? It was found
that the husks still contained sufficient of acids, tannin, aroma,
coloring matter, and gluten. All that remained to be added was water
and sugar. It was found that this could be easily done; and the results
showed that wine made in this manner was equal, if not superior, to
some of that made from the original juice, and was often, by the best
judges, preferred to that made from the original must.
I have also practiced this method extensively the last season; and
the result is, that I have fully doubled the amount of wine of the
Norton's Virginia and Concord. I have thus made 2,500 gallons of
Concord, where I had but 1,030 gallons of original must; and 2,600
gallons of Norton's Virginia, where I had but 1,300 gallons of must.
The wines thus made were kept strictly separate from those made from
the original juice, and the result is, that many of them are better,
and none inferior, to the original must; and although I have kept a
careful diary of wine-making, in which I have noted the process how
each cask was made, period of fermentation on the husks, quantity of
sugar used, etc., and have not hesitated to show this to every
purchaser after he had tasted of the wine, they generally, and with
very few exceptions, chose those which had either been gallized in
part, or entirely.
Union Village.—Berries 1/3 diameter.
My method in making such wines was very simple. I generally took the
same quantity of water, the husks had given original must, or in other
words, when I had pressed 100 gallons of juice, I took about 80 gallons
of water. To make Concord wine, I added 1¾ lbs. of sugar to the gallon,
as I calculated upon some sugar remaining in the husks, which were not
pressed entirely dry. This increased the quantity, with the juice yet
contained in the husks to 100 gallons, and brought the water to 70;
calculating that from 5° to 10° still remained in the husks, it would
give us a must of about 80°. The grapes, as before remarked, had been
gathered during the foregoing day, and were generally pressed in the
morning. As soon as possible the husks were turned into the fermenting
vat again, all pulled apart and broken, and the water added to them. As
the fermentation had been very strong before, it immediately commenced
again. I generally allowed them to ferment for twenty-four hours, and
then pressed again, but pressed as dry as possible this time. The whole
treatment of this must was precisely similar to that of the original.
In making Norton's Virginia, I would take, instead of 1¾ lbs., 2
lbs. of sugar to the gallon—as it is naturally a wine of greater body
than the Concord—and I aimed to come as near to the natural must as
possible. I generally fermented this somewhat longer, as a darker color
was desired. The time of fermentation must vary, of course, with the
state of the atmosphere; in cooler weather, both pressings should
remain longer on the husks. The results, in both varieties were wines
of excellent flavor, good body, a brilliant color, with enough of
tannin or astringency, and sufficient acid—therefore, in every way
The experiments, however, were not confined to these alone, but
extended over a number of varieties, with good results in every case.
Of all varieties tried, however, I found that the Concord would bear
the most of gallizing, without losing its own peculiar flavor; and I
satisfied myself, that the quantity in this grape can safely be
here, from 100 gallons of must to 250 gallons of wine, and
the quality yet be better, than if the must had been left in its normal
And it is here again where only experience can teach us
we can go with a certain variety. It must be clear and apparent to
any one who is ever so slightly acquainted with wine-making, how widely
different the varieties are in their characteristics and ingredients.
We may lay it down as a general rule, however, that our native grapes,
with their strong and peculiar flavors, and their superabundance of
tannin and coloring matter, will admit of much more gallizing, than the
more delicately flavored European kinds.
I have thus tried only to give an outline of the necessary
operations, as well as the principles lying at the foundation of them.
I have also spoken only of facts as I have found them, as I am well
aware that this is a field in which I have much to learn yet, and where
it but poorly becomes me to act the part of teacher. Those desiring
more detailed information, I would refer to the Patent Office Reports
of 1859-60, where they will find valuable extracts from the works of
Dr. Gall; and also to the original works.
If we look at the probable effect these methods of improving wines
are likely to have upon grape-culture, it is but natural that we should
ask the question: Is there anything reprehensible in the practice—any
reason why it should not become general? The answer to this is very
simple. They contain nothing which the fermented grape juice, in its
purest and most perfect state does not also contain. Therefore, they
are as pure as any grape juice can be, with the consideration in their
favor, that everything is in the right proportion. Therefore, if wine
made from pure grape juice can be recommended for general use, surely,
the gallized wines can also be recommended.
has repeatedly offered to pay a fine for the benefit of the
poor, if the most critical chemical analysis could detect anything in
them, which was injurious to health, or which pure wines ought not to
contain, and his opponents have always failed to show anything of the
I know that some of my wine-making friends will blame me for thus
"letting the cat out of the bag." They seem to think that it would be
better to keep the knowledge we have gained, to ourselves, carefully
even hiding the fact that any of our wines have been gallized. But it
has always been a deep-seated conviction with me, that knowledge and
truth, like God's sun should be the common property of all His
children—and that it is the duty of every one not to "hide his light
under a bushel," but seek to impart it to all, who could, perhaps, be
benefitted by it. And why, in reality, should we seek to keep as a
secret a practice which is perfectly right and justifiable? If there is
a prejudice against it, (and we know there is), this is not the way to
combat it. Only by meeting it openly, and showing the fallacy of it,
can we hope to convince the public, that there is nothing wrong about
it. Truth and justice need never fear the light—they can only gain
additional force from it. I do not even attempt to sell a cask of
gallized wine, before the purchaser is made fully acquainted with the
fact, that it has been gallized.
It is a matter of course, that many, who go to work carelessly and
slovenly, will fail to make good wine, in this or any other way. To
make a good article, the nature of each variety and its peculiarities
must be closely studied—we must have as ripe grapes as we can get,
carefully gathered; and we need not think that water and sugar will
everything. There is a limit to everything, and to gallizing
as well as to anything else. As soon as we pass beyond that limit, an
inferior product will be the result.
But let us glance a moment at the probable influence this discovery
will have on American grape culture. It cannot be otherwise than in the
highest degree beneficial; for when we simply look at grape-culture as
it was ten years ago, with the simple product of the Catawba as its
basis; a variety which would only yield an average of, say 200 gallons
to the acre—often very inferior wine—and look at it to-day, with such
varieties as the Concord, yielding an average of from 1,000 to 1,500
gallons to the acre, which we can yet easily double by gallizing, thus
in reality yielding an average of 2,500 gallons to the acre of
uniformly good wine; can we be surprised if everybody talks and thinks
of raising grapes? Truly, the time is not far distant—of which we
hardly dared to dream ten years ago—and which we
thought we would never live to see; when
American citizen can indulge in a daily glass of that glorious gift
of God to man, pure, light wine; and the American nation shall become a
And there is room for all. Let every one further the cause of
grape-culture. The laborer by producing the grapes and wine; the
mechanic by inventions; the law-giver by making laws furthering its
culture, and the consumption of it; and
by drinking wine, in wise moderation of course.
WINE MAKING MADE EASY.
Some of my readers may think I did not look much to this, which I
told them was one of the objects of this little work. To vindicate it
and myself I will here state, that our object should always be to
attain the highest perfection in everything. But, while I am aware that
I have generally given the outline of operations on a large scale, I
have never for a moment lost sight of the interests of those, who, like
myself, are compelled, by bitter necessity, to commence at the lowest
round of the ladder. And how could I forget the bitter experience of my
first years, when hindered by want of means; but also the feelings of
sincere joy, of glad triumph, when I had surmounted one more obstacle,
and saw the path open wider before me at every step; and I can,
therefore, fully sympathize with the poor laborer, who has nothing but
his industrious hands and honest will to commence with.
While, therefore, it is most advantageous to follow grape-growing
and wine-making with all the conveniences of well prepared soil,
substantial trellis, a commodious wine cellar and all its
appurtenances; yet, it is also possible to do without most of these
conveniencies in the beginning, and yet succeed. If the grape-grower
has not capital to spare to buy wire, he can, if he has timber on his
land, split laths and nail them to the posts instead of wire. He can
layer his plants even the first summer, and thus raise a stock for
further planting; or dispose of them, as already mentioned in the
beginning of this work. Or he can lease a piece of land from some one
who wishes to have a vineyard planted on it, and who will furnish the
plants to him, besides the necessary capital for the first year or so.
I have contracted with several men without means in this manner,
furnished them a small house, the necessary plants, and paid them $150
the first two years, they giving me half the returns of the vineyards,
in plants and grapes; and they have become wealthy by such means. One
of my tenants has realized over $8,000 for his share the last season,
and will very likely realize the same amount next season.
And if he cannot afford to build a large cellar in the beginning, he
can also do with a small one, even the most common house cellar will do
through the winter, if it is only kept free from frost. One of our most
successful wine-growers here, commenced his operations with a simple
hole in the ground, dug under his house, and his first wine press was
merely a large beam, let into a tree, which acted as a lever upon the
grapes, with a press-bed, also of his own making. A few weeks ago the
same man sold his last year's crop of wine for over $9,000 in cash, and
has raised some $2,000 worth more in vines, cuttings, etc. Of course,
it is not advisable to keep the wine over summer in an indifferent
cellar, but during fermentation and the greater part of winter, it will
answer very well, and he can easily dispose of his wine, if good, as
soon as clear. Or he can dispose of his grapes at a fair price, to one
of his neighbors, or take them to market.
But there is another consideration, which I cannot urge too strongly
upon my readers, and which will do much to make grape-growing and
wine-making easy. It is the forming of grape colonies, of
grape-growers' villages. The advantages of such a colony will be easily
seen. If each one has a small piece of suitable land, (and he does not
need a large one to follow grape-growing), the neighbors can easily
assist each other in ploughing and sub-soiling; they will be able to do
with fewer work animals, as they can hitch together, and first prepare
the soil for one and then for the other; the ravages of birds and
insects will hardly be felt; they can join together, and build a large
cellar in common, where each one can deliver and store his wine, and of
which one perhaps better acquainted with the management of wine than
the others, and whom all are willing to trust, can have the management.
If there should be no such man among them, an experienced cooper can be
hired by all, who can also manufacture the necessary casks. An
association of that kind has also, generally, the preference in the
market over a single individual, and they are able to obtain a higher
price for their products, if they are of good quality.
There are thousands upon thousands of acres of the best grape lands
yet to be had in the West, especially in Missouri, at a merely nominal
price, which would be well adapted for settlements of that kind; where
the virgin soil yet waits only the bidding of intelligent labor—of
enterprising and industrious men—to bring forth the richest fruits.
There is room for all—may it soon be filled with willing hearts to
undertake the task.
And how much easier for you to-day, men with the active hand and
intelligent brain, to commence—with the certainty of success before
you—with varieties which will yield a large and sure return
year; with the market open before you, and the experience of those
who have commenced, to guide you; with the reputation of American wines
established; with double the price per gallon—and ten times the
yield—compared with the beginner of only ten years ago, with nothing
but uncertainty; uncertainty of yield, uncertainty of quality, of
price, and of effecting a sale.
It took a brave heart
then, and an iron will; the determination to succeed,—succeed against
obstacles. And yet, hundreds have commenced thus, and have succeeded. Can
hesitate, when the future is all bright before you, and the
thousand and one obstacles have been overcome? If you do, you are not
fit to be a grape-grower. Go toil and drudge for so many cents per day,
in some factory, and end life as you have begun it. God's free air, the
cultivation of one of His noblest gifts, destined to "make glad the
heart in this rugged world of ours," is not for you. I may pity you,
but I cannot sympathize with nor assist you, except by raising a cheap
glass of wine to gladden even
Maxatawny.—Berries ½ diameter.
COST OF ESTABLISHING A VINEYARD.
In this, of course, allowances must be made for soil, locality, cost
of plants, cost of timber, etc., which will vary with the locality. The
estimation given here is about what it would cost
here, with the leading varieties.
COST OF AN ACRE OF CONCORD.
Preparing ground by ploughing, laying off, etc.,
$ 50 00
700 first-class yearling plants, to be planted 6×10, $12 per hundred,
450 posts, 15 feet apart, 10 cents each,
450 intermediate stakes, 3 cents each,
600 lbs. No. 12 wire, 16 cents per lb.,
Cost of erecting trellis,
Attendance, labor, etc., during first year,
Interest on capital,
The following year the vineyard can be made to pay all expenses, by layering, etc.
COST OF AN ACRE OF HERBEMONT.
700 first class plants, 6×10, $25 per hundred,
450 posts, 10 cents each,
450 stakes, 3 cents each,
600 lbs. wire, 16 cents per lb.,
Cost of erecting trellis,
Attendance, labor, during first two years,
Interest on capital during first two years,
COST OF AN ACRE OF NORTON'S VIRGINIA.
Preparation of soil, etc.,
850 plants, first class, to be planted 6×8, $25 per hundred,
450 posts, 10 cents each,
450 stakes, 3 cents each,
600 lbs. No. 12 wire, 16 cents per lb.,
Cost of erecting trellis,
Attendance, labor, etc., during first two years,
Interest on capital during first two years, at 6 per cent. per annum,
COST OF AN ACRE OF DELAWARE.
Cost of preparing ground,
1,200 first-class plants, planted 6×6,
450 posts, 10 cents each,
450 stakes, 3 cents each,
600 lbs. No. 12 wire, 16 cents per lb.
Cost of erecting trellis,
Cost of cultivation two first years,
Interest on capital two years,
COST OF AN ACRE OF CATAWBA.
Cost of 1,200 plants, 6×6,
450 posts, 10 cents each,
450 stakes, 3 cents each,
600 lbs. wire, 16 cents per lb.,
Cost of erecting trellis,
Attendance during two years,
Interest on capital two years,
The following has been the produce of a vineyard of Catawba, now under my management, since 1849:
Which will show the average yield per acre, to have been somewhat over
Deduct from this cost of labor per year, per acre,
Interest on capital,
40 00–90 00
Would leave a clear profit, per acre, of
The poor returns were nearly all occasioned by mildew and rot, with
the exception of 1862, when a very destructive hail-storm swept away
almost the entire crop; and in 1864, when the vines were all killed
down to the snow line by frost the preceding winter.
The following is the cost of a vineyard planted by me in May, 1861,
containing about 3,000 vines, on 2½ acres of ground. The ground could
not be made ready until late in the season, consequently many of the
vines failed to grow, and had to be replanted the second season:
1700 Norton's Virginia,
$20.00 per hundred,
400 Concord (small),
25 per hundred,
50 per hundred,
25 per hundred,
50 per hundred,
Other varieties assorted,
Cost of clearing, ploughing, and planting,
$50 per acre,
Putting up trellis,
$150 per acre,
Interest on capital,
For layers and cuttings made 1st year,
For layers and cuttings made 2d year,
For layers and cuttings made 3d year,
Concord grapes sold, 2,000 lbs., net 16 cents,
Plants and cuttings fourth year,
2,040 lbs. of grapes (Concord), marketed at 24 cents per lb., net
PRODUCE FIFTH YEAR.
1,030 gallons Concord at
1,300 gallons Norton's Virginia
125 gallons Herbemont
30 gallons Cunningham
40 gallons Delaware
10 gallons Clinton
50 gallons Other Varieties
336 gallons Hartford Prolific Grapes
20 cts. per lb.
57,000 Plants from cuttings and layers, average
price $100 per thousand
Leaving the product of the first five years
From which deduct expenses for plants, trellis, etc.,
Interest on capital at 5 per cent.
Cost of labor 1st. year,
Cost of labor 2d. year,
Cost of labor 3d. year,
Cost of labor 4th. year,
Cost of labor 5th. year,
Leaves clear profit for first five years of
The fourth year, nearly all the fruit buds of the vines had been
killed above the snow line, but I made, besides the grapes sold, about
$1,500 worth of wine, which was emptied by the rebels in their raid
that fall, and consequently lost. The vines were not all in bearing
this last season, for reasons already given; and the whole amount of
vines bearing, was not more than 2,200—hardly two acres. If my readers
will contrast this with the yield of the Catawba vineyard, they will
see the difference in yield between varieties suited to the climate and
soil, and those unused to it.
The last season—although unfavorable to the Catawba—produced an
enormous yield of Concord and Norton's Virginia, and cannot be taken as
an average crop. I think about 700 gallons of Norton's Virginia, and
1,200 gallons of Concord would be a fair average estimate per
year—which the vines can easily produce, and remain healthy and
YIELD OF MR. MICHAEL POESCHEL's VINEYARD.—CATAWBA.
Year after planting.
Acres in Vines.
NEW VINEYARD OF MR. MICHAEL POESCHEL, PLANTED IN 1861, 1863—FIRST PARTIAL CROP.
500 Gallons Norton's Virginia—2 acres, at $3 per gallon
Grapes sold from ½ acre of Concords
Plants from cuttings and layers sold
1864.—SECOND CROP.—VINES BADLY FROSTED IN WINTER.
2 Acres of Norton's Virginia produced 600 gallons, at $4 50
2½ Acres of Catawba, produced 400 gallons, at $2 15
Grapes sold from ½ acre of Concord
2¾ Acres of Norton's Virginia, produced 2,000 gallons at $4
2½ Acres Catawba, produced 450 gallons at $1 75
1¼ Acres Concord, produced 1,000 gallons, at $250
½ acre Herbemont produced 400 gallons, at $3 per gallon,
½ acre Rulander produced 50 gallons, at $5
This vineyard was trenched at an average cost of $120 dollars to the
acre, and most of the vines are planted 5×5, evidently too close. They
are trained to wire trellis, as described in a former part of this
work, and receive close attention, and the very best cultivation.
YIELD OF VINEYARD OF MR. WILLIAM POESCHEL—1857.
1½ acres of Catawba produced 1,050 gallons of wine; sold at
1¾ acres of Catawba produced 250 gallons; sold at $1.10 per gallon,
1¾ acres Catawba produced 300 gallons; sold at $1.25 per gallon,
2 acres of Catawba produced 8,843 lbs. of grapes; sold at 10c. per lb.,
120 gallons of wine, at $1.20 per gallon,
230 gallons of wine, at $0.95 per gallon,
2 acres of Catawba produced 270 gallons, at $1.05 per gallon,
2 acres Catawba produced 6,718 lbs. of grapes; sold at 9 cents per lb.,
225 gallons of wine, sold at $1.25 per gallon,
75 gallons of Norton's Virginia, from about 1-10th of an acre, at $2.75 per gallon,
1863—2¼ ACRES IN ALL.
720 gallons of Catawba, at $1.85 per gallon,
60 gallons of Concord, at $2.00 per gallon,
70 gallons of Herbemont, at $2 per gallon,
40 gallons of Norton's Virginia, $3 per gallon,
1864—2¼ ACRES IN BEARING; VINES BADLY FROSTED.
45 gallons Catawba, $2.00 per gallon,
42 gallons Concord, 2.50 per gallon,
20 gallons Norton's Virginia and Delaware mixed, at $5.25 per gallon,
10 gallons Norton's Virginia, second class, at $3
1865—5 ACRES IN BEARING.
2½ acre Catawba produced 900 galls., at $1.75,
½ acre Concord produced 700 galls., at $2.50,
1 acre Norton's Vir. produced 600 galls., at $4.00,
1/3 acre Delaware produced 120 galls., at $5.00,
½ acre Herbemont produced 350 galls., at $2.50,
Balance in other varieties,
This vineyard has one of the best locations for Catawba and Delaware
in the neighborhood, and its proprietor one of the most intelligent and
industrious cultivators and wine-manufacturers in the vicinity.
The following are copied from the report of a special committee
appointed by the Cincinnati Horticultural Society, to inquire into the
condition of vineyards, and report whether or not grape-growing was
still profitable. I regret to say that our Cincinnati friends have not,
generally speaking, paid as much attention to the introduction and
testing of better varieties—and there are but few vineyards in that
neighborhood—where any other variety than the Catawba has been planted
to any extent. It is to be hoped that the signal failure of that
variety last season will do much to open their eyes to the full
importance of the subject, and to abandon the Catawba, which evidently
will not pay any longer.
But, as we have already said, there are other varieties of grapes
being successfully grown in this vicinity, and we have extended our
researches to some of those vineyards, and give the results as
Ives' Seedling is a grape of much promise, not addicted to mildew and rot. Col.
Wahring, of Indian Hill, in this county, has
a small vineyard, only two acres in bearing, which made, the past
season, 650 gallons of wine. The season previous, only one acre in
bearing, yielded 560 gallons. The Colonel makes his account for the
past season's business stand as follows:—
650 gallons of wine, sold at $4.10 per gallon,
Sale of cuttings,
Deduct cost of taking care of vineyard,
Leaving net product of vineyard,
Or over $2,000 per acre.
Norton's Virginia is another promising grape that is being grown considerably hereabouts.
have given us their figures for the product of this grape, as follows:
1863—From 1½ acres, first year in bearing, they made 500 gallons, sold at $3 per gallon,
Sale of cuttings,
Sale of roots from layers,
Deduct from this, for cost of culture,
Or $1,733 per acre.
1864—Yield of same in wine and cuttings,
Or about $1,500 per acre.
Delaware is another grape of very great promise and profit, now being extensively grown throughout the country. The Messrs.
Bogen, from one-third of an acre, first bearing year, give us the following figures for the past season:
87 gallons of wine, sold at $6 per gallon,
Sold roots from layers,
Deduct cost of culture,
Or $9,000 per acre.
J. E. Mottier
gives us, as the result of his Delaware vineyard for the past two years, as follows:
1863—FROM 1½ ACRES.
165 gallons of wine, sold at $5 per gallon,
Sale of cuttings,
Or $1,504 per acre.
1864—FROM SAME VINEYARD.
200 gallons of wine, at $6 per gallon,
Sold roots from layers,
Sales of cuttings,
Or $3,562 per acre
says he might have obtained a larger yield of wine, but his vineyard being young, he would not allow it to overbear.
Your committee, therefore, take pleasure in submitting the foregoing
facts, in refutation, in part, of the loose and reckless statements of
Yeatman, and take this method of entering their protest against the same.
E. A. Thompson.
John E. Mottier.
The foregoing contains some valuable facts, but it would seem to me
that our Cincinnati friends have hardly estimated labor and expenses
high enough. We cannot begin to cultivate our vineyards at as low an
The following is a rough estimate of the last season's crop around
Hermann. It may be rather inaccurate, but it is about as near as I
could come to the result. There are now, I suppose, something like
1,000 acres planted in grapes, of which about 400 may be in bearing.
Unfortunately, nearly all the old vineyards are planted with the
Catawba, which was almost an entire failure this season, the average
crop being only about 75 gallons to the acre. Most of the later
planting has been done with the Concord and Norton's Virginia, but
these vineyards are not bearing yet. Of the Norton's Virginia, the
average crop the last season may have been about 600 gallons to the
acre; of the Concord, 1,000 gallons per acre. The Herbemont may have
yielded about 800 gallons to the acre.
Grapes marketed, mostly Concord, 20,000 lbs. average price, 15c. per lb.,
Catawba wine made, about 25,000 gallons; average value, $1.50 per gallon,
Norton's Virginia wine made, about 10,000 gallons; average value, $4 per gallon,
Concord wine made, about 5,000 gallons; average value, $2.50 per gallon,
Herbemont wine made, about 1,500 gallons; average value, $3 per gallon,
Other varieties made, about 1,000 gallons; average value, $3 per gallons,
Grape roots, cuttings, etc., grown and sold,
I think the above is rather below the real amount; and the value of the crop may come up even as high as $200,000.
Although grape culture is followed to a larger extent around Hermann
than anywhere in the State, yet there are also a great many grapes
grown and wine made around Boonville, in Cooper County; and Augusta,
St. Charles County; also, Hannibal, on the Mississippi river; and St.
Joseph, on the Missouri; and there is hardly a county in the State now
but has some flourishing vineyards.
The above facts may serve to give my readers a clearer insight into
the cost and profits of grape-growing, and also the comparative
varieties. In every case, the figures given can be relied on as actual
In our neighboring States, Illinois and Iowa, grape-growing is
progressing rapidly. There are already a number of vineyards
established in the neighborhood of Alton, Belleville, Mascoutah,
Warsaw, and Nauvoo, in Illinois; and in the neighborhood of Burlington
and Davenport, in Iowa. I am told that in the neighborhood of Makanda
alone, in Jackson County, Illinois, at least 70,000 vines of the
Concord will be planted the coming spring.
Our sister State, Kansas, is also progressing bravely in the good
work; and I do not think that, although our propagators throughout the
country have done their best, there will be half the number of vines
for sale that are wanted to meet the demand.
But, while I am fully aware of the importance of grape-culture
everywhere, I cannot help but believe that the southwest will
take the preference in grape-growing over the eastern and northern
States. We have the advantages of longer seasons and a warmer climate,
generally of richer soil, of cheaper lands; we can cultivate varieties
which cannot be grown by our eastern brethren, and therefore all the
chances are on our side. The mountainous regions of Tennessee, Georgia,
Arkansas, Texas, and Alabama may, perhaps, rival and even surpass us in
the future, but their inhabitants at present are not of the clay from
which grape-growers are formed. They still cling to the demon of
slavery, and their hatred of northern industrious
seems to be stronger than their love of prosperity. Let us hope
that a better spirit may prevail, that they will in time begin to see
their own interest, and welcome with open arms every one who can assist
them in developing the natural advantages of their lands. The grape can
only flourish on
soil, and by