28 March 2010

Corwin the viticulturist

I've been really excited about wine variety grapes for the past year or so. I'm not a big fan of the "foxy" flavor of the native North American vitis labrusca grape juice; the European wine varieties of vitis vinifera have a much more delicate and interesting flavor that I like a lot more. Problem is, I don't drink wine, and vinifera juice isn't really sold in stores. I did find a couple of places online you can get it, which is wonderful and I really enjoyed the bottles I ordered, but it's really really expensive.

I was all set to order some vinifera vines and grow my own, until I discovered Idaho has some really lame legal vine importation restrictions which meant no nurseries were willing to ship to me. And the local vinyards are not really in the business of giving half a dozen vines to anyone who asks. (And I can't start with cuttings, because they can't be grown on their own roots -- they must be grafted onto labrusca rootstock to give them resistance to the pervasive phylloxera pest.) So, I sort of despaired until we saw some grape vines for sale at Home Depot. I humored Lemontree when she wanted to look at them, knowing they'd just be common labrusca varieties like Concord or maybe Niagara, but lo and behold, they were Pinot Noir and White Reisling -- two of my favorite viniferas!! My head nearly exploded and next thing you know...

We planted three of each on the south side of our house (they really like a lot of sun). We have yet to build a trellis for them to grow on, but they're just babies so we still have plenty of time. In the meantime, they should start budding in a couple of weeks and you can bet I'll post pics as things progress. :)

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