Alternative Opportunities For Small Farms: Bunch Grape Production Review ( Publisher's URL )

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Alternative Opportunities For Small Farms: Bunch Grape Production Review
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Fact sheet
Holbrooks, Mary C.
University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences, EDIS
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Gainesville, Fla.
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Collected for University of Florida's Institutional Repository by the UFIR Self-Submittal tool. Submitted by Melanie Mercer.
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"First Published: June 1987. Date revised: August 1997."
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University of Florida Institutional Repository
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University of Florida
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1.This document is Fact Sheet RF-AC010, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and A g ricultural Sciences, Universit y of Florida. First Published: June 1987. Date revised: Au g ust 1997. Please visit the FAIRS Website at The Institute of Food and A g ricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without re g ard to race, color, sex, a g e, handicap, or national ori g in. For information on obtainin g other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and A g ricultural Sciences / University of Florida / Christine Taylor Waddill, Dean 2.Mar y C. Halbrooks, former Extension Horticulturist, Viticulture; Timoth y E. Crocker, professor, Horticultural Sciences Department, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and A g ricultural Sciences, Universit y of Florida, Gainesville, FL32611.Fact Sheet RF-AC010Alternative Opportunities for Small Farms: Bunch Grape Production Review1 Mar y C. Halbrooks, Updated b y Timoth y E. Crocker2Commercial production of bunch grapes is limited to those cultivars which have resistance to Pierces disease (PD), a bacterial disease spread by leafhopper insects. European type ( Vitis vinifera ) and American type ( Vitis labrusca ) bunch grapes do not have resistance to PD and will lose vigor and die within 7 years of planting. The French-American hybrids are also susceptible to PD. Eleven cultivars with resistance to PD have been released from the breeding program at the Central Florida Research and Education Center at Leesburg. Those recommended for commercial production include `Stover', `Conquistador', `Suwannee', `Orlando Seedless' and `Blanc Du Bois'. Nearly all of the bunch grape acreage under production at this time is contracted to or owned by wineries. Some of these wineries offer contracts with growers to cultivate certain cultivars. As yet undeveloped markets for grapes are juice and fresh sales. Bunch grapes require well-drained sites and productivity is enhanced on sloped areas. Production in north-central Florida appears to be good; however, long-term production records have not been established.Marketin g SituationExpansion of the Florida grape industry based on currently available cultivars would depend on increased capacity of existing wineries or new winery construction, development of juice processors and outlets and large-scale marketing studies to determine the potential for fresh fruit sales. Currently, midwestern and eastern states are successfully fresh marketing Concord grapes suggesting good potential for sales of a similar cultivar such as `Conquistador'. Grapes produced here would have the advantage of reduced shipping costs and time and thus potentially better quality.Labor and CapitalBunch grapes ripen in late June through mid-July. Wine grapes are generally mechanically harvested. Over-the-row type harvesters are recommended due to trellis in the rows. Table grapes must be picked by hand. Once picked, the fruit must be refrigerated as soon as possible. Removal of field heat by refrigerated trucks should be followed by storage at 40 F. Table grapes would require packaging with sulfur-treated paper and storage at 32 F. Total establishment and development costs for an acre of bunch grapes can cost between $3000 and $5000. Annual production costs range from $750 to $1150 per acre. Marketing costs vary considerably depending upon


Alternative Opportunities for Small Farms: Bunch Grape Production Review Pa g e 2June 1998whether the grapes are sold via a fresh market or pick yourmandatory for establishment of the vines and will enhance own operation.yields of older vines. Due to the strong disease pressure of the FloridaSuitabilit y Bunch grapes are particularly suitable for production in north Florida because they are cold hardy. No damage has been reported on any of the cultivars due to freezing temperatures during 1983 and 1985. However, grapes grown in low lying areas with poor air drainage run the risk of late spring frost damage on emerging buds. Bunch grapes grow best on well to moderately drained fine sands and upland soils with underlying clay at about 3 feet and pH of 5.8 to 6.2. Soils not suitable for viticulture are excessively drained deep white sandy soils, (e.g., St. Lucie-Lakewood-Pomello and Palm Beach-Cocoa soil associations) or the poorly drained sandy or organic soils such as marl, peat, and muck. Soils previously under cultivation should be tested for residual herbicide or an over-limed condition which would be damaging to grapevines.Plantin g SituationCultivars appropriate for commercial production must be resistant to Pierce's disease as no other effective control measure of the disease is known. `Stover' and `Suwannee' are light green-fruited cultivars which are recommended for white wines. `Conquistador' is a purple-fruited cultivar which is very similar to a Concord grape, thus it has potential for fresh market sales. `Conquistador' processes well into juice and jelly. `Blanc Du Bois' an excellent white wine selection looks very promising for the premium wine market. Bunch grapes are spaced every 8 feet in rows 10 feet apart for an average of 518 vines per acre. The vines must be trellised to wires along the full length of the row. `Stover' and `Conquistador' cultivars require grafting onto a superior rootstock for increased vigor and yields. Supplies of grafted vines are very low relative to demand at this time.Cultural Pro g ramGrapevines require intensive care, especially during the first 2 years after planting. Each vine must be staked and trained up to the trellis wire then pinched out at the top and trained along the wires. Each winter the vines must be pruned to remove all growth order than 1 year. These new canes are then retied to the wires. Irrigation is environment, grapevines require a specialized type of sprayer which directs the fungicide solution upward and into the vine canopy. Control of the major fungal diseases (anthracnose, bitter rot, black rot and ripe rot) requires 14 or more sprays per season. On clayey soils of the panhandle, 1250 lbs of 12-12-12 fertilizer per acre per season is optimum. Insects which are the most persistent and damaging include grape flea beetle, grape leafhopper and grape root borer. Of these, grape root borer may be the most serious threat to grapes in Florida. The larval stage hatches on the soil surface and tunnels into the root system feeding as it travels. A single larvae feeding on a major root can kill a vine. Currently the only control measure available is a single application of pesticide made in the fall as a barrier spray. Effective application of the pesticide depends on a weed-free strip under the row. Weeds also compete for water and fertilizer and make disease control within the canopy more difficult. The herbicide schedule includes preemergent control and repeated applications throughout the growing season for optimum yields.