Edward Staniford Rogers
State of New York Department of Agriculture
Fifteenth Annual Report Vol. 3 Part II
THE GRAPES OF NEW YORK
U. P. HEDRICK
N. O. BOOTH O.M. TAYLOR R. WELLINGTON M* J, DORSEY
Report of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station for the Year 1907
J, B. LYON COMPANY, STATE PRINTERS 1908
State of New York Department of Agriculture
Fifteenth Annual Report VoL 3 Part II
NEW YORK AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION,
Geneva, N. Y., December 31, 1907.
To the Honorable Board of Control of the New York Agricultural Experiment Station:
Gentlemen. I have the honor to submit herewith Part II of the report of this institution for the year 1907, to be known as The Grapes of New York. It is the second in the series of fruit publications which is now being prepared under your authority.
This volume is the result of years of recorded observations by members of the Station staff, to which has been added the collection of a large amount of information from practical growers of the grape. Every effort has been made to insure completeness and accuracy of statement, and to make the work a reliable guide as to all the varieties of grapes that are likely to meet the attention of New York grape-growers. It is believed that this volume will occupy a useful place in grape literature and will be serviceable to an important industry in this State.
W. H. JORDAN,
The purpose of The Grapes of New York is to record the state of development of American grapes. The title implies that the work is being done for a locality but in this matter New York is representative of the whole country. The contents are: Brief historical narratives of Old World and New World grapes; an account of the grape regions and of grape-growing in New York, with statistics relating to the grape, wine and grape juice industries in this State; a discussion of the species of American grapes; and the synonymy, bibliography, economic status, and full descriptions of all of the important varieties of American grapes. In the footnotes will be found brief biographical sketches of those persons who have contributed most to the evolution of the grape and to grape-growing in America and some historical and descriptive notices of certain things pertaining to the grape which do not belong in the text and yet serve to give a better understanding of it or otherwise add to the completeness of the book. Color-plates are shown of varieties which from various standpoints are considered most important.
In the brief account of the Old World grape there is little that is new. Its history is on record from the earliest times in the literature of nearly all civilized peoples. A few facts, selected here and there, have been taken to serve as an introduction to the accounts of the New World grapes. So, too, the history of the American grape has been written by others and, here, only the main facts have been set down as recorded in the score or more books dealing with this fruit. A few excursions have been made in hitherto unexplored fields. The purpose of these historical sketches is to give the reader a proper perspective of the work in hand.
The grape is probably influenced to a greater degree by soil, climate, and culture than any other fruit, and a discussion of its status cannot be complete without due consideration of the environment in which it is growing. Hence there is included as full an account of grape-growing and of the grape regions in New York as space permits. This part of the work may
serve the prospective planter somewhat in selecting soils and locations but as it is not written with this as a chief end, it falls far short of some of the standard treatises on grape culture in this respect.
Comparatively few statistics are given, only those which are necessary to show the volume of grape products and the extent of the vineyards in the State and country at the present time. The figures for the whole country are surpassed by those of no other native fruit, and only by corn and tobacco among all the domesticated native plants.
The botany of the grape has been the most perplexing problem to deal with in the preparation of this work. The variability of the grape is so great, and the variations are so often toward closely related species, that it is difficult to tell where one species ends and another begins. This, of course, has led to differences in opinions. Then, too, the several monographers have not had the same specimens to work with; men do not have the same powers of discrimination; and the arrangement of botanical groups, based upon the characters of the plants and the theory of descent with adaptive modifications, is not governed by definite rules; hence botanical divisions are arbitrary and differ with the judgments of the botanists who make them. For these reasons we have as many different arrangements of species of grapes as there are men who have worked them over.
Since this work is not written from the standpoint of the botanist but of the horticulturist, no effort has been made to revise the botany of the grape. But it has been necessary to select some arrangement of species in order to make such disposition of the cultivated varieties that their characters and relationships can best be shown. In making a choice of the several recent classifications of American grapes, three main considerations have been in mind: First, that the arrangement should separate the species in the genus freely, thus decreasing the size of the groups so that they may be more easily studied. Second, that it should show as clearly as possible the relationships of the various groups and of their development the evolution of the grape. Third, that it be an arrangement in good standing with botanists and horticulturists. After having examined all American classifications of grapes and all recent European ones, Bailey's classification, as set forth in his monograph of the Vitaceae in Gray's Synoptical
Flora, in the Evolution of our Native Fruits, and in the Cyclopedia of American Horticulture, was adopted.
The Grapes of New York makes its chief contribution to the pomology of the country in the description of varieties. The authors have tried to study varieties from every point of view, not alone nor chiefly, it must be said, with regard to their cultural value; for most of the varieties pass out of cultivation and such information would be worthless within a few years at most. But, rather, the effort has been to determine what elementary or unit characters the grape possesses as shown in its botanical and horticultural groups. The Twentieth Century begins with the unanimous judgment of scientists that the characters of plants are independent entities which are thrown into various relationships with each other in individuals and groups of individuals. This conception of unit characters lies at the foundation of plant improvement. We are but beginning the breeding of American grapes and it has seemed to the writer that the most important part of this undertaking is to discover and record as far as possible these unit characters of grapes, thereby aiding to furnish a foundation for grape-breeding. The great problem of plant-breeding in the future will be to correlate the characters known to exist in the plant being improved; we must know what these are before we begin to combine and rearrange them.
The varieties are arranged alphabetically throughout, though, were present knowledge exact enough, it would be far better to arrange them in natural groups. Such a classification is probably possible, but it remains for future workers to search out the relationships which the structures and qualities of plant and fruit indicate and to group the varieties naturally rather than alphabetically. Wherever possible in this work, however, the relationships of varieties have been indicated as fully as knowledge permits, thus making a start toward natural classification.
In the lists of synonyms given, all known names for a variety used in the American literature of the grape are brought together. These lists ought to be useful in correcting and simplifying the nomenclature of the grape which, like that of all of our fruits, is in more or less confusion. It is hoped that the work may become a standard guide, for some time to come at least, in the identification of varieties and in nomenclature, and that it will aid originators of new grapes and nurserymen in avoiding the duplication of names. In matters pertaining to nomenclature, the revised rules of the American Pomological Society have been followed, though in a few cases it has not seemed best to make changes which their strict observance would have required. The necessity for rules is shown by an examination of the synonymy of any considerable number of varieties as given in the body of the work. In some cases varieties have from ten to twenty names and very often different varieties are found to have the same name. This chaotic condition is confusing and burdensome and it has been one of the aims in the preparation of the work to set straight the horticultural nomenclature of the grape, thus lessening the difficulty and uncertainty of identification and making the comparative study of varieties easier.
It would be impossible, and not worth while, could it be done, to give all of the references to be found in even the standard grape literature. Only such have been given as have been found useful by the writers or as would serve to give the future student of the literature of grape varieties a working basis.
A brief history of each variety is given so far as it can be determined by correspondence and from grape literature. In these historical sketches the originator and his method of work justly receive most attention. The place, date and circumstances of origin, the distributor, and the present distribution of the variety, are given when known and are of about equal importance in the plan of this work.
The technical descriptions of grapes are all first-hand and made by members of the present horticultural department of the Station from living plants. But rarely has it been necessary to go to books for any one character of a vine or fruit though the leading authorities have been consulted in the final writing of the descriptions and modifications made when the weight of authority has been against the records of the Station. Some differences must be expected between descriptions of varieties made in different years, different localities and by different men. For most part the varieties described are growing on the Station grounds but every opportunity has been taken to study several specimens of each variety and especially of the fruit. In many instances the descriptions have been submitted to the originators, introducers, or to some recognized grape specialist.
A number of considerations have governed the selection of varieties for full descriptions. These are: First, the value of a variety for the commercial or amateur grower for any part of the State as determined by the records of this Station, by reports collected from over 2000 grape-growers, and by published information from whatever source. Second, the probable value of new sorts as determined by their behavior elsewhere. Third, to show combinations of species or varieties, or new characters hitherto unknown in fruit or vine, or to portray the range in variation, or to suggest to the plant-breeder a course of future development. Fourth, a few sorts have been described because of their historical value for the retrospection of the grape-grower of the present and the future. It is needless to say that many of the varieties described are worthless to the cultivator.
In all of the descriptions the effort has been to depict living plants and not things existing only in books; to give a pen picture of them that will show all of their characters. An attempt has been made, too, to show the breeding of the plants, their relationships; to show what combination of characters exist in the different groups of varieties; to designate, as far as possible, the plastic types; in short to show grapes as variable, plastic plants capable of further improvement and not as unchangeable organisms restricted to definite forms.
It is hoped that the color-plates will be of great service in illustrating the text. All possible means at the command of photography and color printing have been used to make them exact reproductions. The specimens, too, have been selected with the utmost care. In preparing these illustrations the thought has been that technical descriptions, however simply written, are not easily understood, and that the readiest means of comparison and identification for the average reader would be found in the color-plates. Through these and the accompanying descriptions it is hoped that all who desire may acquire, with time and patience, a knowledge of the botanical characters of grapes and thereby an understanding of the technical descriptions. The plates have been made under the personal supervision of the writer.
With all care possible, due allowance must yet be made for the failure to reproduce nature exactly in the color-plates. The plates are several removes from the fruit. Four negatives were taken of each subject with
a color filter between the lens and the fruit. A copper plate was made from each negative, one for each of the four colors, red, yellow, black and blue. The color-plates in the book are composed of these four colors, combined by the camera, the artist, the horticulturist and the printer. With all of these agencies between the fruit and the color-plate they could not be exact reproductions. It must ever be in mind, too, that grapes grown in different localities vary more or less in all characters and that the reproduction can represent the fruit from but one locality. The specimens from which the plates were made came for most part from the Station grounds. The illustrations are life size and as far as possible from average specimens. Acknowledgments are due to Professor Spencer A. Beach of Ames, Iowa, who, while in charge of this Department previous to August, 1905, had begun the collection and organization of information on grapes, much of which has been used in this volume; to Mr. F. H. Hall, who as Station Editor has read the manuscripts and proof sheets and given much valuable assistance in organizing the information presented; to Zeese-Wilkinson et Co., through whose zeal and painstaking skill the color-plates, which add so much to the beauty and value of the book, have been made; and lastly to the grape-growers of New York who have given information whenever called upon and who have generously furnished grapes for descriptive and photographic work.
U. P. HEDRICK,
Horticulturist, New York Agricultural Experiment Station.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Index to Illustrations. ...................................... xiii
Chapter I.The Old World Grape........................... i
Chapter II.American Grapes................................ 26
Chapter III. The Viticulture of New York..................... 68
Chapter IV. Species of American Grapes....................... 95
Chapter V. The Leading Varieties of American Grapes......... 157
Chapter VI. The Minor Varieties of American Grapes.......... 433
Bibliography and References with Abbreviations Used...... 531
THE GRAPES OF NEW YORK
THE OLD WORLD GRAPE
A single species of the grape is cultivated in the Old World. This is Vitis vinifera, the grape of ancient and modern agriculture, the vine of the allegories of sacred record and of the myths, fables and poetry of the Old World countries. It is the vine which Adam and Eve cared for:
" * * * they led the vine
To wed his elm; * * *." Milton.
It is the vine which Noah planted after the deluge; the vine of Judah and Israel, and of the promised land. Dionysus of the Greeks, Bacchus of the Romans, found the grape and devoted his life to spreading it; for which he was raised to the rank of a deity god of vines and vintages. The history of this grape is as old as that of mankind. It has followed civilized man from place to place throughout the world and is one of the chief cultivated plants of temperate climates. This fruit of sacred and profane literature has so impressed itself upon the human mind that when we think or speak of the grape, or vine, it is the Old World species, the vine of antiquity, that presents itself.
The history of the Old World grape goes back to prehistoric times. Seeds of the grape are found in the remains of the Swiss lake dwellings of the Bronze Period and entombed with the mummies of Egypt. Its printed history is as old as that of man and is interwritten with it. According to the botanists, the probable habitat of Vitis vinifera is the region about the Caspian Sea.(1) From here it was carried eastward into Asia and westward into Europe and Africa. It is probable that the Phoenicians, the earliest navigators, tradesmen and colonizers on the Mediterranean, carried it to the countries bordering on this sea. Grape culture was developed in this region a thousand years before Christ, for Hesiod, who wrote at this time, gave directions for the care of the vine which need to be changed but little for present practice in Europe. Pliny, writing a thousand years after, quotes Hesiod as an authority on vine culture. Vergil and Pliny, during Christ's time, gave specific directions for the care of the vine. Vergil describes fifteen varieties while Pliny gives even fuller descriptions of ninety-one varieties and distinguishes fifty kinds of wine.
The authentic written history of the grape and of its culture really begins with Vergil. Many other writers, Greeks and Romans, had discussed the vine, but none so fully nor so well as Vergil in his Georgics, of which the parts having to do with the vine may still be read with profit by the grape-grower; as, for example, the following (2) in which he tells how to cultivate and train:
" Be mindful, when thou hast entomb'd the shoot, With store of earth around to feed the root; With iron teeth of rakes and prongs, to move The crusted earth, and loosen it above. Then exercise thy sturdy steers to plow-Between thy vines, and teach the feeble row To mount on reeds, and wands, and, upward led, On ashen poles to raise their forky head, On these new crutches let them learn to walk, ' Till, swerving upwards with a stronger stalk, They brave the winds, and, clinging to their guide, On tops of elms at length triumphant ride."(3)
His directions for pruning are equally fitting for present practice: cc But in their tender nonage, while they spread Their springing leaves, and lift their infant head, And upward while they shoot in open air, Indulge their childhood, and the nurslings spare; Nor exercise thy rage on new-born life; But let thy hand supply the pruning knife, And crop luxuriant stragglers, nor be loth To strip the branches of their leafy growth. But when the rooted vines with steady hold Can clasp their elms, then, husbandman, be bold To lop the disobedient boughs, that strayed Beyond their ranks; let crooked steel invade The lawless troops, which discipline disclaim, And their surperfluous growth with rigor tame."
The history of the development of the vine from Vergil's time through the early centuries of the Christian Era and of the Middle Ages to our own day, is largely the history of agriculture in the southern European countries; for the vine during this period has been the chief cultivated plant of the Greek and Latin nations. This history should furnish most instructive lessons in grape-growing and in grape-breeding.
But interesting and profitable as a detailed account of the development of the Old World grape would be, the brief outline in the few preceding paragraphs must suffice for this work. The reader who desires further information may find it in the agricultural literature in many languages and dating back two thousand years.
What are the characters of the European grape and how does it differ from the native grapes of America? The Old World grape is grown for wine; the American grapes for the table. The differences in the fruit of the vines of the two continents are largely the differences necessary for the two distinct purposes for which they are grown. The varieties of Vitis vinifera have a higher sugar and solid content than do those of the American species. Because of this richness in sugar they not only make better wine but keep much longer and can be made into raisins. The American grapes do not keep well and do not make good raisins. Taken as a whole the European varieties are better flavored, possessing a more delicate and a richer vinous flavor, a more agreeable aroma, and they lack the acidity and somewhat obnoxious foxy odor and taste of many American varieties. It is true that there is a disagreeable astringency in some Vinifera grapes and that many varieties are without character of flavor, yet, all and all, the species produces by far the better flavored fruit. On the other hand, American table grapes are more refreshing; one does not tire of them so quickly as they do not cloy the appetite as do the richer grapes; and the imfermented juice makes a much more pleasant drink. The characteristic flavor and aroma of the varieties of Vitis labrusca, our most commonly cultivated native species, are often described by the terms "foxy"(4) or " musky." If not too pronounced this foxiness is often very agreeable though, as with the flavor in many exotic fruits, the liking for it must often be acquired, and of course may never be acquired; yet the universal condemnation of this taste by the French and some other Europeans is sheer prejudice. The bunches and berries of the European grape are larger, more attractive in appearance, and are borne in greater quantity, vine for vine or acre for acre. The pulp and skin of the berries of Vitis vinifera are less objectionable than those of any native species and the pulp separates more easily from the seeds. The berries do not shell from the stem nearly so quickly, hence the bunches ship better.
In comparing the vines, those of the Old World grape are more compact in habit, make a shorter and stouter annual growth, therefore require less pruning and training. The roots are fleshier, and more fibrous. The species, taken as a whole, is adapted to far more kinds of soil, and to much greater differences in environment, and is more easily propagated from cuttings, than most of the species of American grapes. The cultivated forms of the wild vines of this country have few points of superiority over their relative from the eastern hemisphere, but these few are such as to make them now and probably ever the only grapes possible to cultivate in America in the commercial vineyards east of the Rocky Mountains. Indeed, but for the fortunate discovery that the vine of Vitis vinifera could be grown on the roots of any one of several species of the American grapes, the vineyards of the Old World grape would have been almost wholly destroyed within the last half century because of one of its weaknesses. This destructive agent is the phylloxera, a tiny plant louse working on the leaf and root of the grape, which in a few years wholly destroys the European vine but does comparatively little harm to most of the American vines. Three other pests are much more harmful in the Old World vineyards than to the vines of the New World; these are black-rot (Guignardia bidwellii (Ell.) V. et R.)] downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola (B. et C.) Berl. et De Toni), and powdery mildew (Uncinula necator (Schw.) Burr.).
The susceptibility of the Old World grape to these parasites debars it from cultivation in eastern America and so effectually that there is but little hope of any pure-bred variety of it ever being grown in this region. American viticulture must, therefore, depend upon the native species for its varieties, though it may be hoped that by combining the good qualities of the foreign grape with those of one or several of the species of this country or by combining and rearranging the best characters of the native species, we may in time secure varieties equal in all respects to those of the Old World. The comparative resistance of the American species to the phylloxera, the mildews, and black-rot has been due to natural selection in the contest that has been waged for untold ages between host and parasite. The fact that the native species have been able to survive and thrive is a guarantee of the permanence of the resistance thus acquired.
We have said that the Old World grape is debarred from cultivation in eastern America. It is worth while considering how thorough the attempts to grow it in this region have been and to give a more exact account of the failures and their causes, for there are yet those who are attempting its culture with the hope that we may sometime grow some offshoot of Vitis vinifera in the region under consideration.
It is probable that the first European grapes planted in what is now American soil, were grown by the Spanish padres at the old missions in New Mexico, Arizona and California. Early accounts of some of these missions speak of grapes which must have been planted before settlements were made in eastern America. We need take no further account of these vineyards except to say that in this region the European grape has always been grown successfully, and that under the skilled hands of the mission fathers, ever notable vineyardists and wine-makers, these early plantings must have succeeded.
The English were the first to plant the Old World grape in the territory in which this species fails because of the attacks of native parasites. Lord Delaware seems to have been the original promoter of grape-growing in the New World. In 1616 he wrote to the London Company urging the culture of the grape as a possible source of revenue for the new colony. His letter seems to have been convincing, for it is on record that the Company in 1619 sent a number of French vine-dressers and a collection of the best varieties of the grapes of France to Virginia. The Colonial Assembly showed quite as much solicitude in encouraging the cultivation of the vine as did the Company in London. The year of the importation of vines and vine-dressers, 1619, the Assembly passed an act compelling every householder to plant ten cuttings and to protect them from injury and stated that the landowners were expected to acquire the art of dressing a vineyard, either through instruction or by observation. The Company, to increase the interest in vine-growing, showed marked favors to all who undertook it with zealousness; promises of servants, the most valuable gifts that could be made to the colonists, were frequent. Under the impulse thus given vineyards were planted containing as many as ten thousand vines.(5)
In spite of a rich soil, congenial climate, and skilled vine-dressers, nothing of importance came from the venture, some of the historians of the time attributing the failure to the massacre of 1622; others to poor management of the vines; and still others to disagreements between the English and their French vine-dressers, who, it was claimed, concealed their knowledge because they worked as slaves. It is probable that the latter explanation was fanciful but the former must have been real for we are told that the farms and outlying settlements were abandoned after the great massacre. But the colony could hardly have recovered from the ravages of the Indians before efforts to force the colonists to grow grapes were again made; for in 1623 the Assembly passed a law that for every four men in the colony a garden should be laid off a part of which was to be planted to vines.(6)
In 1639 the Assembly again tried to encourage vine-growing by legislative enactment, this time with an act giving a premium to successful grape-growers. Later, about 1660, a premium of ten thousand pounds of tobacco was offered in Virginia for each " two tunne of wine " from grapes raised in the colony. Shortly after, some wine was exported to England but whether made from wild plants or cultivated ones does not appear. In spite of the encouragement of legislative acts, grape-growing did not flourish in Virginia. The fact that tobacco was a paying crop and more easily grown than the grape may have had something to do with the failure to grow the latter. Or it may have been that the cheapness of Madeira, "a noble strong drink," as one of the Colonial historians puts it, had a depressing influence on the industry. But still more likely, the foreign plants did not thrive.
Encouragement of the home production of wine did not cease in Virginia for at least one hundred and fifty years; for in 1769 an enactment of the Assembly was passed to encourage wine-making in favor of one Andrew Estave, a Frenchman. As a result of the act of this time, land was purchased, buildings erected, and slaves and workmen with a complete outfit for wine-making were furnished Estave. The act provided that if he made within six years ten hogsheads of merchantable wine land, houses, slaves, the whole plant was to be given to him. It is stated that this unusual subsidy is made "as a reward for so useful an improvement." Estave succeeded in making the wine but it was poor stuff and he had difficulty in getting the authorities to turn over the property which was to be his reward This was finally done by an act of the Assembly, however, the failure to make good wine being attributed by all parties to the "unfitness of the land."
An attempt was made to cultivate the European grape in Virginia early in the eighteenth century on an extensive scale. Soon after taking office as governor in 1710, Alexander Spotswood brought over a colony of Germans from the Rhine and settled them in Spottsylvania County on the Rapidan river. The site of their village on this river is now marked by a ford, Germania Ford, a name which is a record of the settlement. That they grew grapes and made wine is certain, for the Governor's "red and white Rapidan, made by his Spottsylvania Germans" is several times mentioned in the published journals and letters of the time. But the venture did not make a deep nor lasting impress on the agriculture of the colony.(8)
Several early attempts were made in the Carolinas and Georgia to grow the Vinifera grape. It was thought, in particular, that the French Huguenots who settled in these states in large numbers toward the close of the seventeenth century would succeed in grape-growing but even these skilled vine-growers failed. Their failures are recorded by Alexander Hewitt in 1779 as follows: "European grapes have been transplanted, and several attempts made to raise wine; but so overshaded are the vines planted in the woods, and so foggy is the season of the year when they ripen, that they seldom come to maturity, but as excellent grapes have been raised in gardens where they are exposed to the sun, we are apt to believe that proper methods have not been taken for encouraging that branch of agriculture, considering its great importance in a national view/' In Georgia, Abraham De Lyon, encouraged by the authorities of the colony, imported vines from Portugal and planted them at Savannah early in the eighteenth century but his attempt, though carried out on a small scale in a garden, soon failed.
In Maryland, if the records are correct, a greater degree of success was attained than in the states to the south. Lord Charles Baltimore, son of the grantee of the territory, in 1662 planted three hundred acres of land in St. Mary's to vines. It is certain that he made and sold wine in considerable quantities and the old chroniclers report that it was as good as the best Burgundy. Efforts to grow the European grape in Maryland continued until as late as 1828 when the Maryland Society for Promoting the Culture of the Vine was incorporated by the State Legislature.(9) The object of the Society was to " carry on experiments in the cultivation of both the European and native grapes and to collect and disseminate all possible information upon this interesting subject." The organization was in existence for several years and through its exertions practically all of the native sorts were tried in or about Baltimore as well as many seedlings. Besides the achievements of the Society as a body, their Secretary reports in 1831 that, through the individual efforts of its members, there were then under cultivation near the city of Baltimore several vineyards of from three to ten acres each and a great number of smaller ones. This was several years after the introduction of the Catawba and Isabella for which grape-growers in other parts of the United States had largely given up the Vinifera sorts. Seemingly in every part of the Union the grape of the Old World was tried, not once only, but time and again before its culture could be given up.
The Swedes made some attempts at an early day to grow grapes on the Delaware. Queen Christina instructed John Printz, governor of New Sweden, to encourage the " culture of the vine " and to give the industry his personal attention. Later when New Sweden had become a part of Pennsylvania, William Penn encouraged vine-growing by importing cuttings of French and Spanish vines; and several experimental vineyards were set out in the neighborhood of Philadelphia, but all efforts to establish bearing plantations came to naught. Penn's interest in grape-growing seems to have been greatly stimulated by wine made by a friend of his from native grapes which grew about Germantown.
There are no detailed accounts of grape-growing by the Dutch of New York but the following taken from the writings of Jasper Dankers and Peter Sluyter, two Hollanders who visited New York in 1679, soon after the English took possession of New Netherland, indicates that there had been attempts to cultivate grapes.)(10) " I went along the shore to Coney Island, which is separated from Long Island only by a creek, and around the point, and came inside not far from a village called Gravesant, and again home. We discovered on the roads several kinds of grapes still on the vines, called speck (pork) grapes, which are not always good, and these were not; although they were sweet in the mouth at first, they made it disagreeable and stinking. The small blue grapes are better, and their vines grow in good form. Although they have several times attempted to plant vineyards, and have not immediately succeeded, they, nevertheless, have not abandoned the hope of doing so by and by, for there is always some encouragement, although they have not, as yet, discovered the cause of the failure." The "speck " grape was without question Vitis labrusca and the small blue grape was probably Vitis riparia..
Thirty years before the visit of Bankers and
Sluyter the people of New Netherland addressed a remonstrance to the
home government regarding certain abuses in the colony. This documenti
is headed with a chapter on the productions of New Netherland in which
the wild grapes are mentioned and their cultivation is suggested.
"Almost the whole country, as well the forest as the maize lands and
flats, is full of vines, but principally as if they had been planted
there around and along the banks of the brooks, streams and rivers
which course and flow in abundance very conveniently and agreeably all
through the land. The grapes are of many varieties; some white, some
blue, some very fleshy and fit only to make raisins of; some again are
juicy, some very large, others on the contrary small; their juice is
pleasant and some of it white, like French or Rhenish Wine; that of
others, again, a very deep red, like Tent; some even paler; the vines
run far up the trees and are shaded by their leaves, so that the grapes
are slow in ripening and a little sour, but were cultivation and
knowledge applied here, doubtless as fine Wines would then be made as
in any other wine growing countries (11).
Nicolls, the first English governor of New York, greatly desired to grow the vine for wine-making. In 1664 he granted Paul Richards a monopoly of the industry for the colony stipulating that he could make and sell wines free of impost and gave him the right to tax any person planting vines in the colony five shillings per acre.(12) Richards lived in the city of New York but his vineyard, as indicated in the grant, was located on Long Island. It may be assumed that this was the first attempt to grow grapes commercially in the State of New York. It would seem that the governor by granting a monopoly of the grape and wine industry took the surest means of killing the infant industry. The Earl of Bellomont, a later governor of the Colony, wrote to London with assurances of a great future of viticulture in the Colony.(13) For over a century after, there were spasmodic efforts to grow the Old World grape in and about New York City, and at the beginning of the Revolutionary War there were a few small vineyards and some wine-making on Manhattan Island.
There were many attempts to grow foreign grapes in New England. John Winthrop, governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, had planted a vineyard in one of the islands, known as "Governor's Garden," in Boston Harbor before 1630. Vine-planters were sent to this colony in 1629^
to provide vines and to p'pare the ground and make it fitt for production of wines; ffor an Encouragemt to the said Paul Richards in his proceedings therein, I have thought fitt to grant unto him these following privileges (viz.)
" That all wines of the growth of such vines as the said Paul Richards shall plant, or cause to bee planted at the place aforesaid, shall be free from any kind of impositions for ever if sold in grosse, and not by retaile:
" That the said Paul Richards, his heirs, executors, or assignes shall have the privilege to have such wines sold by retaile in any one house in New York for the term of thirty years to come, from the time of the first selling of his wines, free from all imposts or excise:
" That every person who shall hereafter for thirty years to come, plant vines within any place in this Government, shall upon the first yeares improvement pay unto the said Paul Richards, his heirs, executors, or assignes, five shillings for every acre so planted as an acknowledgement of his being the first undertaker and planter of vines in these parts. For the confirmacon of the privileges above specified, I have hereunto put my hand and seale.
" Given at ffort James in New York this 10th day of January, 1664. RIC. NICOLLS."
THE GRAPES OF NEW YORK. 13
There were plantations at the mouth of the Piscataqua in Maine as early or before Winthrop's plantings were made. In granting a charter to Rhode Island in 1663, Charles II sought to encourage viticulture in that State by offering liberal inducements to colonists who would grow grapes and make wine.(15) But if grapes were grown, or wine made from the foreign grape, no great degree of success was attained. Wine was made in plenty from the wild grapes in all of the New England colonies so that it was not because of Puritanical prejudices against wine that the grapes were not grown. The glowing terms in which travelers returning to England spoke of the native grapes and of the wine from them undoubtedly stimulated those founding the colonies to make every effort to introduce the cultivated grape even though the cold, bleak climate and thin soils of this northern region were inhospitable to a plant which thrives best in the sunny southern portions of Europe.
In only one of the states east of the Rockies is grape-growing recorded to have gained even a foothold before the introduction of varieties of native grapes. In this instance there is much doubt as to whether the varieties grown were pure-bred Vitis vinifera. Louisiana, while owned by France, grew grapes and made wine in such quantities, and the wine was of such high quality, so several of the old chroniclers say, that the French government forbade grape-growing in the colony. Since the wine-making was in the hands of the Jesuits who had learned the art in Europe, and since there were no cultivated varieties of native grapes at that time of which there is record, the presumption among the early writers was that these vineyards were of European grapes. Louisiana, however, was a vast and undefined region and it is not known where these oft-mentioned vineyards were located. It is probable in the light of what we now know that these Louisiana Jesuits made wine from native grapes either wild or cultivated.
The time covered so far is the two hundred years in which America was being colonized. We have seen that all of our European forefathers brought with them a love of the vine, or more correctly, a love of wine, and that throughout the period many experiments were made in all parts of the eastern United States to grow varieties of Vitis vinifera. The experiments were on a large scale and in the hands of expert vine-growers, as well trained as their fellow colonists in South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and South America, countries where the colonists grew the Old World grapes as easily and as well as they are grown in the most favored parts of Europe. It is certain that the failures recorded for these two hundred years were not due to lack of effort on the part of the settlers. We now pass to more recent efforts, even more thoroughly carried out, to grow the grape of the Old World in this part of the New World. The discussion of these later attempts cannot be full. The reader can readily turn to the horticultural literature of the century just closed and find much fuller records of them than space permits in this work.
One of the first
and most notable of the vineyards in the eighteenth century was that of
Colonel Robert Boiling of Buckingham County, Virginia. An account of
his undertaking written by one of the Boiling family some years later
reads as follows: "It is now but little known that this gentleman had
early turned his attention to the cultivation of the vine, and had
actually succeeded in procuring and planting a small vineyard of four
acres, of European grapes, at Chellow, the seat of his residence: that
he had so far accomplished his object as to have the satisfaction of
seeing his vines in a most flourishing condition, and arrived at an age
when they were just beginning to bear; promising all the success that
the most sanguine imagination could desire, when, unfortunately for his
family, and perhaps for his country, he departed this life while in the
Convention in Richmond, in July, 1775. Thus all his fond anticipations
of being enabled, in a short time, to afford to his countrymen a
practical demonstration of the facility and certainty with which grapes
might be raised, and wine made, in Virginia, were suddenly frustrated;
all his hopes and prospects blasted; and owing to the general want of
information, in the management of vines, among us at that time; and the
confusion produced by the war of the revolution, which immediately
followed, this promising and flourishing little vineyard was totally
neglected and finally perished (16).
THE GRAPES OF NEW YORK. 15
At the time of Boiling's death he was preparing to send to press a book on grape-growing entitled A Sketch of Vine Culture. The book was never printed but the manuscript was copied several times and parts of it were printed contemporaneously in the Virginia Gazette, and subsequently in the Boiling Memoirs and in the American Farmer (17). Boiling's book was largely a compilation from European sources but it contained the experiences and observations of the author in cultivating European grapes in America and though not printed, was sufficiently distributed through manuscript copies and through the papers and books mentioned above, to give its author the honor of being the first American writer on grapes.
In an essay on the cultivation of the vine published in the first volume of the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society (18) printed in Philadelphia in 1771, a Mr. Edward Antill of Shrewsbury, New Jersey, gives explicit directions for grape-growing and wine-making (19). Antill describes only foreign varieties and leads the reader to infer, though he does not say so, that he has grown many varieties of these grapes successfully. But neither his essay, nor his efforts at grape-growing, seemed to have stimulated a grape industry worthy of note. This essay of Antilles is the second American treatise on the cultivation of the grape and was for many years the chief authority on grape-growing in America. It is greatly to be regretted that a treatise which was to be quoted for fifty years could not have been more meritorious. The eighty quarto pages written by Antill give little real or trustworthy information. It is a rambling discussion of European grapes, wine-making, the temperance question, patriotism, et" wellfare of country," and " good of mankind ". He quotes Columella, gives methods of curing grapes for raisins, and winds up with a discussion of figs. Yet a hundred years ago it was the chief work on grape-growing.
A Frenchman, Peter Legaux, founded a company in 1793 for the cultivation of grapes at Spring Mill near Philadelphia. In 1800 he published an account of his venture. (20) A vineyard of European grapes was set out and the prospects seemed favorable for the success of the undertaking. But the grapes began to fail, dissensions arose among the stock-holders, the vineyards were neglected and the company failed. Legaux speaks of his experience in grape-growing as follows: (21) "But if the native grapes of America are not the most eligible for vineyards, others are now within the reach of its inhabitants. Some years since I procured from France three hundred plants from the three kinds of grapes in the highest estimation, of which are made Burgundy, Champagne and Bordeaux wines. These three hundred plants have in ten years produced 100,000 plants; which, were the culture encouraged, would in ten years more, produce upwards of thirty millions of plants; or enough to stock more than 8000 acres, at 3600 plants to the acre, set about three feet and a half apart. I have also about 3000 plants raised from a single plant procured a few years since from the Cape of Good Hope, of the kind which produces the excellent Constantia wines. The gentlemen who at different times have done me the honour to taste these wines can bear testimony to their good quality. Although made in the hottest season, (about the middle of August) yet they were perfectly preserved without the addition of a drop of brandy or any other spirit. And in this will consist one excellency of the wines here recommended to the notice of my fellow citizens; that being made wholly of the juice of grapes, they will be light, wholesome, and excite an agreeable cheerfulness, without inflaming the blood, or producing the other ill effects of the strong brandied wines, imported from the southern parts of Europe. Since 1793, I have confined my attention chiefly to the multiplication of my vines, to supply the demand for plants, and to furnish an extended vineyard under my own direction, whenever my fellow citizens possessing pecuniary means, should be inclined to encourage and support the attempt."
Out of this venture, however, came the Alexander grape, an offspring of a native species, and not, as Legaux held, a foreign variety, which, as we shall see later, was the first variety to be grown on a commercial scale in eastern America. Johnson, (22) writing of Legaux's work with the grape, says that in 1801 cuttings were sent from the Spring Mill vineyards in quantities of fifteen hundred to Kentucky and Pennsylvania and smaller quantities to Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Ohio, and indicates that these cuttings in their turn were multiplied so that many diverse experiments with foreign grapes arose from Legaux's efforts.
Chief of the experiments which Legaux's partial success in vine-growing stimulated was carried on in Kentucky by The Kentucky Vineyard Society of which John James Dufour, a Swiss, was leader. (23) It was to this Company that Legaux had sent the fifteen hundred cuttings mentioned above as going to Kentucky. Before founding his grape colony, Dufour had made a tour of inspection of all the vineyards that he could hear of in what then constituted the United States. His account of what he saw, given in his book The Vine Dresser's Guide, is the most accurate statement we have of grape-growing in America at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
Dufour's account, pages 18-24, runs as follows: " I went to see all the vines growing that I could hear of, even as far as Kaskaskia, on the borders of the Mississippi; because I was told, by an inhabitant of that town, whom I met with at Philadelphia, that the Jesuits had there a very successful vineyard, when that country belonged to the French, and were afterwards ordered by the French government to destroy it, for fear the culture of the grapes should spread in America and hurt the wine trade of France. As I had seen but discouraging plantations of vines on that side of the Alleghany, and as the object of my journey to America, was purposely to learn what could be done in that line of business; I was desirous to see if the west would afford more encouragement. I resolved therefore on a visit to see if any remains of the Jesuits' vines were still in being, and what sort of grapes they were; supposing very naturally, that if they had succeeded as well as tradition reported, some of them might possibly be found in some of the gardens there. But I found only the spot where that vineyard had been planted, in a well selected place, on the side of a hill to the north east of the town, under a cliff. No good grapes, however were found either there, or in any of the gardens of the country. * * * In my journeying down the Ohio, I found at Marietta a Frenchman, who was making several barrels of wine every year, out of grapes that were growing wild, and abundantly, on the heads of the Islands of the Ohio River, known by the name of Sand grapes, because they grow best on the gravels; a few plants of which are now growing in one of our vineyards, given by the Harmonites under the name of red juice. * * * The various attempts at vineyards that I heard of, which I went to see, at Monticello, President Jefferson's place; which, in 1799, I perceived had been abandoned, or left without any care for three or four years before, which proved evidently, that it had not been profitable: At Spring Mill, on the Schuylkill, near Philadelphia, planted by Mr. Legaux, a French gentleman, and afterwards supported by a wealthy Society formed by subscription, at that City, for the express purpose of trying to extend the culture of the grape. I saw that vineyard in 1796, 1799 and 1806. On the estate of Mr. Caroll, of Carollton, below Baltimore, in Maryland; whither I went on purpose from Philadelphia in 1796, there was a small vineyard kept by a French vinedresser, and where they had tried a few sorts of the indigenous grapes. At the Southern Liberties of Philadelphia, I saw in 1806, a plantation of a large assortment of the best species of French grapes; which a French vinedresser had brought over the Atlantic. They were at their 2d or 3d years: they had not been attacked by the sickness: their nurse was yet full of hope.In 1796, I saw also, near the Susquehannah river, not far from Middletown, a vineyard that had been planted by a German; but who having died sometime before, the vineyard had been wholly neglected. I was told, it had produced some wine; but it had suffered so much delapidation, that I could not recognize the species of grapes."
With full knowledge of the failures of the past in growing grapes, and after his disheartening visits to a score or more of worthless vineyards planted with the grapes of his native country, Dufour embarked in the Kentucky Vineyard Society enterprise and gave the Old World grapes a thorough trial on an extensive scale, with an abundance of capital, and, to care for the vines, as skilled labor as could be obtained in the vineyards of Europe. As was the case with all past undertakings of the kind so this one proved a failure. In the words of Dufour "a sickness took hold of all our vines except a few stocks of Cape and Madeira grapes." The promoters became disheartened and the vineyard after being cultivated for several years was abandoned.
Members of the colony, thinking that a more favorable location might be found elsewhere in the valley of the Ohio, settled at Vevay, Indiana, in 1802. Dufour and several of his relatives were granted the privilege of purchasing lands with extended credit by an act of Congress May 1st, 1802. They purchased 2500 acres at the location of the new colony in Indiana and began anew the culture of the vine. For a time there was an element of prosperity in the enterprise but the vines became diseased and died, only one sort, the Cape or Alexander, gave returns for the care bestowed and by 1835 the Vevay vineyards ceased to exist. Could Dufour have foreseen the value of the native grapes for cultivation and devoted the capital and energy spent on European sorts to the best wild plants from the woods, grape culture in America would have been put forward half a century.
Other experiments with Old World grapes were tried in 1803 by the Harmonists, a religious-socialistic community founded in Germany, but which finally settled in America. After temporary sojourns in other settlements, the Harmonists founded a permanent colony in Pennsylvania near Pittsburg. Here they planted ten acres of European grapes and grew them with but temporary success, if any, for Dufour in 1826 visited the colony and says: "None of the imported grapes do well there except the Black Juice, of which I saw but one plant; it is too small a bearer to be worth nursing."(24) Again there was disaster to an extensive experiment in the hands of skilled men. Besides having tried grape culture in Pennsylvania, the Harmonists made plantations at New Harmony, Indiana, where they settled for a time; but exact accounts of this experiment are wanting.
One other of the many organized attempts to grow the foreign grapes needs mention. When the Napoleonic wars were over a number of Bonaparte's exiled officers came to America. They were impoverished, and in order to help them, as well as to insure their becoming permanent settlers in the United States, the exiles were organized by American sympathizers into a society for the cultivation of the vine and the olive. The society was organized in the early fall of 1816 in Philadelphia and the remainder of the year was spent in prospecting for a suitable location for the venture. The colony finally decided to settle on the Tombigbee river in Alabama and petitioned Congress for a grant of land in that region. In the end the refugees obtained a grant from Congress of four contiguous townships, ^each six miles square (25) for the culture of the vine and the olive.
In 1817, an installment of one hundred and fifty French settlers left Philadelphia taking with them an assortment of grape and olive plants. December 12, 1821, Charles Villars, one of the company, reported to the American government (26) that there were then in the colony eighty-one actual planters, 327 persons all told, with 1100 acres in full cultivation, including 10,000 vines and that the company had spent about $160,000 in the venture. Villars tells in full of the ups and downs of the Society. It was apparent from the start that the olive could not be grown. The history of the vineyards on the Tombigbee, as he tells it, is but a record of misfortune. All efforts to cultivate the foreign vines resulted only in failure. The few vines that the vintners made grow yielded a scant crop of miserable quality which could not be made into wine because of ripening in the heat of summer. The land was not adapted to growing grapes. The Society, meeting failure at every turn, finally disbanded and the colonists were scattered. For a half century after, there were records in the southern agricultural literature of the attempts of stragglers or descendants of this colony to grow European grapes in the South. Yet these grapes are not now cultivated in this region, which seemingly has the climate and the soil of France.
The history of these French settlers on the
Tombigbee is a most pathetic one. (27)
Many of the leaders had been
officers of high rank in Napoleon's armies unaccustomed to field work
and the hardships of a new country. Here, in a rough and hardly
explored country, part of which was overflowed half of the year,
visited by all the sicknesses inherent to such a location, they passed
several years in their attempts to grow European grapes. Failure was
predestined because of natural obstacles which by this time were
apparent, and was foreshadowed by so many previous unsuccessful
attempts that it would seem that this culminating tragedy in growing
European grapes could have been prevented. The certain failure of the
attempt makes all the more pathetic the story of the Vine and Olive
Colony on the Tombigbee. (28)
In closing the record of the Old World grape in America a few of the later individual attempts to grow this grape must be recounted.
Three generations of Princes experimented with European grapes at the famous Linnasan Botanic Garden, Flushing, Long Island. Wm. R. Prince
THE GRAPES OF NEW YORK. 23
Sweetwater grape is not more hardy with me than it was thirty years since, and does not bear as well. I have tried them in all soils and with all exposures.
" I obtained 5,000 plants from Madeira, 10,000 from France; and one-half of them, consisting of twenty varieties of the most celebrated wine grapes from the mountains of Jura, in the extreme northern part of France, where the vine region ends; I also obtained them from the vicinity of Paris, Bordeaux, and from Germany. I went to the expense of trenching one hundred feet square on a side hill, placing a layer of stone and gravel at the bottom, with a drain to carry off the water, and to put in a compost of rich soil and sand three feet deep, and planted on it a great variety of foreign wine grapes. All failed; and not a single plant is left in my vineyards. I would advise the cultivation of native grapes alone, and the raising of new varieties from their seed."(29)
The French Revolution drove a wealthy and educated Frenchman, M. Parmentier, to New York at the beginning of the nineteenth century. He planted about his place in Brooklyn a large garden in which there were many grapes. This garden afterward became a commercial nursery from which was distributed a considerable number of European grapes. Mr. Robert Underhill at Croton Point on the Hudson was induced to plant a vineyard of these but they soon went the way of all their kind, leaving Mr. Underhill only a consuming desire to plant grapes. This desire bore fruit, as we shall see. When the reign of terror had ceased, Parmentier returned to France from whence he sent many grapes to friends in America.
24 THE GRAPES OF NEW YORK.
He left a lasting impress on the horticulture and viticulture of America, through his experimental efforts with plants and his contribution to American horticultural literatuie. The Underhills (the father had been joined by his sons R. T. and W. A. Underhill) planted a vineyard of Catawbas and Isabellas in 1827. These vineyards grew until they covered seventy-five acres, the product of which was marketed in the metropolis and nearby cities. The grapes from this vineyard often sold for twenty-five cents a pound and supplied the whole market of the region. The grape industry of the Hudson River Valley began with Parmentier and the Underhills.
Another Frenchman, Alphonse Loubat, planted a vineyard of forty acres at Utrecht, Long Island, containing about 150,000 plants of foreign varieties. Here, we are told, " he strove against mildew and sun-scald for several years, but had to yield at last, as the elements were too much for human exertions to overcome."(30) Loubat attempted to protect his grapes from mildew by covering them with paper bags and was probably the originator of the practice of bagging grapes.
Not infrequently one may still find some varieties of the Old World grape grown out of doors with a fair degree of success in favored locations but always by the amateur and never in a commercial vineyard. These few pages rehearsing repeated failures without a single success, serve to show the uselessness of attempting to grow foreign grapes in eastern America. Their culture has been tried by thousands on a small scale and by many individuals with experience, knowledge and capital on a large scale. With all, the results have been the same; a year or two of promise, then disease, dead vines and an abandoned vineyard.
The causes for these failures have been indicated. As Dufour says, " a sickness takes hold of the vines." Phylloxera, mildew, rotnative parasites to which native grapes are comparatively immune " take hold " of the foreign sorts and they die.
It is probable, too, that our climate, at the North at least, is not well Suited to the production of the Old World grape. As a species, the Vinifera grapes thrive best in climates equable in both temperature and humidity.
The climate of eastern America is not equable; it alternates between hot and cold, wet and dry. The range in both temperature and humidity is far greater than in the grape-growing regions of Europe, California, South Africa or Australia. The fleshy roots of Vitis vinifera are more tender to cold than are those of the species of northern United States and this would prevent its culture becoming very general in many regions where native grapes can be grown.
It is only in the regions west of the Rocky Mountains, and more particularly in California, that the varieties of Vinifera are successfully grown in America. The great viticultural interests of the far West are founded upon the success of this one species. The native grapes can be grown but they cannot compete in California with Vitis vinifera for any purpose. Nevertheless American species are indispensable in this western region for stocks upon which to graft the Vinifera varieties, and it is probable that the time is not far distant when all California vines will be upon American roots. Within the boundaries of latitude in which Vinifera varieties are grown west of the Rocky Mountains the grape shows wonderful adaptability; it is found at all elevations permitting fruit culture; it grows on practically all soils; it thrives under irrigation or under dry farming; it is given various kinds of treatment, including total neglect, and still thrives; the number of varieties grown for wine, raisin and table grapes runs into hundreds. The truly wonderful success met with in the cultivation of this species west of the great continental divide makes all the more remarkable the fact that in no place east of the divide will varieties of it thrive.
We now pass to a consideration of the American grapes, their
characters, the early notices of them, their rise, their success, and
their future a more pleasing task than to record disaster after disaster
in growing the grape of the Old World.
Footnotes to Old World Grapes
1 Delaware wrote as follows: " In every boske and hedge, and not farr from our pallisade gates we have thousands of goodly vines running along and leaving to every tree, which yealds a plentiful grape in their kinde. Let me appeale, then, to knowledge if these naturall vines were planted, dressed and ordered by skilfull vinearoons, whether we might not make a perfect grape and fruitfull vintage in short time?" Delaware's Relation. Brown's Genesis of the United States. 1611.
2 The clause in this act reads: '' That all workers upon corne and tobacco shall this spring plant five vyne plants per pol, and the next year, before the first day of March, 20 per pol, upon penaltie to forfeite one barrel! of corne for every one that shall make default."3 Probably the northern part of the vine region of France; the Jura mountains are in the east central part.
The grape is preeminently a North American plant. The genus Vitis is a large one, from thirty to fifty species being distinguished for the world; more than half of these are found on this continent. But few other plants in America, or in the world, inhabit such varied and such extended areas. In North America wild grapes abound on the warm, dry soils of New Brunswick and New England, about the Great Lakes in Canada and in the United States, and on the fertile river banks and in the valleys, rich woodlands and thickets of the eastern and southern States. They thrive in the dry woods, sandy sea-plains, and reef-keys of the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida where the vines of the Scuppernong often run more than a hundred feet over trees and shrubs, rioting in natural luxuriance. They flourish in the mountains and limestone hills of the Virginias, Tennessee and Kentucky. They are not so common in the West, yet found in almost all parts of Missouri and Arkansas, and from North Dakota through Kansas to southern Texas. Some wild grape is found in each of the Rocky Mountain States on plain or mountain, or in river chasm or dry canon. Several species are found in New Mexico, Arizona and California, where if they did not furnish the Spanish padres of Santa Fe and San Diego with fruit for wine, they suggested to them the planting of the first successful vineyards in the United States.
How did the grape spread from the Carolinas to California and from subtropical Mexico to the barren plains of Central Canada? Why divide into its manifold forms in the distribution? These questions are of practical import to the grape-grower and breeder who seeks to improve this fruit. The knowledge of the distribution and evolution of plants obtained in the last half century is so complete that these questions present few difficulties to the naturalist of today. In answering them no one would now hold that the numerous species and their sub-divisions were created separately for the regions in which they grow. All would take the ground that the different wild forms come from one ancestral species. We can waive the question as to what the original species was and as to where it first grew.
It is certain that grapes have not been distributed over North America by the hand of man. Probably they have been growing in the regions where they are now found since before the migration of the first savages. The agents of distribution have been natural ones, such as animals, birds, and lake and river currents. These have widened the area of a species to limits imposed by the hostile action of other plants and of animals and by geographical and physical conditions. As a species has encroached upon a new region, climate, soil, all of the conditions of environment, and the contest with other living things, have gradually modified its characters until in time it became so changed that it constituted a new species.
This descent from an original species with plants changed by environment has given us, in America, types of the wild grape as widely diverse as the regions they inhabit. The species found in the forests have developed long slender trunks and branches in their struggle to attain sunlight and air. At least two species are dwarf and shrubby, or infrequently climbing, two to six feet high, growing in dry sands, on rocky hills and mountains where roots must cling to rocks and penetrate into interstices. Still another form runs on the ground and over low bushes and is nearly evergreen, but in the herbarium can hardly be distinguished from a grape whose habit of growth is strikingly different. Some are long-lived, growing and bearing fruit for two or more centuries, while others reach no greater age than the ordinary shrub. Some have enormous stems, a foot or more in diameter, gnarled and picturesque and supporting a great canopy of branch and foliage, while others are slender in stem and graceful, almost delicate, in character of vine. Not less remarkable than the differences in structure is the adaptability of the genus and some of the species to varied climatic conditions. Several of the wild grapes develop full size and display natural luxuriance and fruit-bearing qualities only in the Middle States, but may be found on dry, gravelly, wind-swept hills far to the north or in some hot and humid atmosphere of the South, as if to show indifference to wet or dry, heat or cold.
On the other hand there are many strong points of resemblance between the score or more of species. The organs and characters that do not bear the strain of changed environment, nor suffer in the perpetual warfare of nature, are much the same in all of the species of Vitis. Thus the structure of flowers, fruits and seeds is practically identical; all have naked-tipped tendrils; leaves and leaf-buds are very similar; and the various species usually hybridize freely. They are alike in the unlikeness of individual plants in any of the species; that is, all of the individuals of the genus are most variable and seeds taken from the same vine may produce plants quite unlike one another and quite unlike the parent.
These few facts regarding the evolution and distribution of American grapes lead to two important conclusions:
First, the species are so distributed throughout the United States, and individuals of the species grow in such abundance and luxuriance, as to suggest that we shall be able to improve and domesticate some one or more of them for all of the agricultural regions of the country. For it is proved that nearly all of the wild grapes have horticultural possibilities; and experience with many plants teaches that the boundaries of areas inhabited by the wild species of a given region coincide with those suited to the production of the domesticated plant in that region. It is not possible to tell where the grape-growing regions of the future are to be located; for species and individuals of this fruit are so common that no one can say where the grape is most at home in America.
Second, grapes are so variable and plastic in nature that, were it not known from experience, it could be assumed that they would yield readily to improvement. Besides being variable they hybridize freely and thus the plant-breeder can obtain desirable starting points. There are indications that some of the characters of grapes, at least, follow Mendel's Law, and when once these have been determined, and the more important unit characters segregated and defined, it ought to be possible to combine and rearrange the characters of this fruit with some system and surely with more certainty than in the past.
THE GRAPES OF NEW YORK. 29
This brief introduction leads us to the consideration of American grapes as cultivated plants. We have seen that it is an absolute impossibility to grow the Old World grape in eastern America. The fruit-growers in this great region are forced to plant the native grapes if any. It required two hundred years to establish this fact and it is less than a hundred years since grape-growers have generally acknowledged it as a fact. What was known of American grapes during the two hundred years wasted in attempting to grow the foreign Vinifera? And what has been accomplished in a century in ameliorating the native grapes?
The earliest European visitors to the Atlantic seaboard delighted in the wild grapes which they found everywhere and which reminded them of the Old World vineyards. Had they never seen such a fruit, the wild grapes could not long have escaped their attention; for the Indians knew and used them as they did potatoes, corn, and tobacco. In the narratives of the early voyages the grape is often in the lists of the resources and treasures of the new-found continent. Unfortunately it was not considered of great intrinsic value but only suggested to the explorers that the grape of the old home might be grown in the new home. Could a part of the exaggerated esteem given by the early European travelers and home-seekers to sassafras, ginseng and other such plants, have been bestowed upon the wild grapes which over-run the country, viticulture would have taken rank with the tobacco, lumber and the fish industries of the early settlers.
In the history of Vinland, or more properly Wineland, we find the first record of American grapes. Biarni Heriulfsson, a Norseman, while making a voyage from Iceland to Greenland, 986 A. D., was driven by a storm to the coast of New England but did not touch land. Leif the Lucky, son of Eric the Red, about 1000 A. D., visited the country discovered by Biarni. One of Leifs men, Tyrker, a German who "was born where there is no lack of either grapes or vines," discovered grapes, whereupon Leif named the country "Wineland." Other Norsemen in at least two expeditions visited Wineland, supposed to be a part of Rhode Island or Massachusetts, and for centuries after, the land discovered by Leif the Lucky was known in Icelandic literature as "Wineland the Good." The first European to touch the New World christened it after its grapes.
The next record we have of American grapes comes from an Englishman, one Captain John Hawkins, who visited the Spanish settlements in Florida in 1565. (31) In his account of the colony he speaks of the wild grapes, comparing them, as did all the early explorers, with those of Europe. He indicates further that the Spaniards had discovered the value of the wild grape for domestic purposes and says that they had made twenty hogsheads of wine in a single season. It is almost certain that this grape was Vitis rotundifolia, best represented by the Scuppernong, which is commonly found on the Atlantic sea-coast from Maryland to Florida.
The first English colonists, like the Norsemen, declared the new-found world to be a natural vineyard. Amadas and Barlowe, sent out by Raleigh in 1584, described the land2 " so full of grapes as the very beating and surge of the sea overflowed them, of which we found such plenty, as well there as in all places else, both on the sand and on the green soil, on the hills as on the plains, as well as on every little shrub as also climbing towards the top of high cedars, that I think in all the world the like abundance is not to be found."
Ralph Lane, in a
subsequent expedition of Raleigh's, in a letter to Hakluyt, pronounced
the grapes of Virginia to be larger than those of France, Spain or
The region described by Amadas and Barlowe is that of the two great sounds, Albemarle and Pamlico, on the coast of North Carolina and more specifically Roanoke Island. It was to this place that Raleigh sent his expeditions, with one of which Amadas and Barlowe were connected, and established the earliest colony of Englishmen in the New World. The first home of Europeans in America was in Vinland, named for its grapes. The first home of Englishmen was on Roanoke Island, "so full of grapes that the very sea overflowed them."
A few years later, Thomas Hariot, in a description of Virginia
must have done much to decide the English as to the advisability of
establishing colonies in America, gave a detailed account of the
merchantable commodities the new countries afforded. Among these he
mentions grapes which he describes as being of two kinds that the soil
yields naturally and abundantly, of which one was small and sour and of
the bigness of the European grape while the other was of greater size
and more sweet and luscious. Hariot concludes his description with the
statement that "when they are planted and husbanded as they ought, a
principal commodity of wine may be raised." (33)
Of the later accounts given of grapes in Virginia and the Carolinas by the colonizers and adventurers of the seventeenth century there are so many that it is impossible to present all and difficult to sort out those most apt. A few more may be given:
Captain John Smith, soldier, colonizer and Virginian planter, writing in 1606 describes two sorts of wild grapes. He says: (34) "Of vines great abundance in many parts that climbe the toppes of highest trees in some places, but these beare but few grapes. Except by the rivers and savage habitations, where they are not overshadowed from the sunne, they are covered with fruit, though never pruined nor manured. Of those hedge grapes we made neere twentie gallons of wine, which was like our French Brittish wine, but certainely they would prove good were they well manured. There is another sort of grape neere as great as a Cherry, this they [Indians] call Messamins, they be fatte, and the juyce thicke. Neither doth the taste so well please when they are made in wine."
It is worthy of remark that the first English
colonist in the New World noticed that the vines in the vicinity of the
Indian habitations and along the edges of creeks, rivers and swamps,
where not overshadowed from the sun, were covered with fruit. The
statement of this fact, coupled with the one following, " but
certainely they would prove good were they well manured," indicates
that the possibility of successful cultivation of the wild grapes was
considered at this early time. In fact, as we have seen, Lord Delaware
at once sought to test the virtues of the native grapes by bringing
over a number of French vine-dressers, who not only planted cuttings
imported from Europe but proceeded at once to transplant the vine of
the country. (35) A few years later,
according to Bruce, Sir Thomas Dale "established a vineyard at Henrico not long after the foundation of that
settlement, covering an area of three acres, in which he planted the
vines of the native grape for the purpose of testing their adaptability
to the production of wines that could be substituted for those of
France and Spain." (36)
Francis Maguel, who visited Virginia in 1609, stated that the wine made in the colony reminded him of the Alicante which he had drunk in Spain. (37)
The first Secretary of the Colony, William Strachey, was somewhat fulsome in his praise of the new found fruit. Writing4 in 1610, he says that the vines burden every bush, climb to the top of the highest trees and are always full of clusters of grapes though never pruned or manured. He declares that the grapes are as good as those to be found between Paris and Amiens and that the wine made by the settlers from the wild grapes was equal to French or British wine, " being strong and headdy." In closing his description he states that by art and industry skillful vignerons could bring viticulture unto such perfection as will enable the colony to export wine to the mother country.
anonymous writer in 1649, W^-O sets out to give a "full and true
relation of the present state of the plantations, their health, peace
and plenty," etc., etc., thought that the colony needed only some one
to set an example to the ordinary settlers to induce them to grow
grapes. This writer says: "Vines in abundance and variety, do grow
naturally over all the land, but by the birds and beasts, most devoured
before they come to perfection and ripenesse; but this testifies and
declares, That the Ground, and the Climate is most proper, and the
Commodity of Wine is not a contemptible Merchandize; but some men of
worth and estate must give in these things example to the inferior
inhabitants and ordinary sort of men, to shew them the gain and
Commodity by it, which they will not believe but by experience before
their faces:" (38)
A hundred years later, according to Beverly, the grape was scarcely cultivated, the masses of the people being content with the fruit of the wild vines which grew everywhere in the forest. So far as is known there were in Beverly's time, 1722, no named varieties and there had been no efforts to improve the wild grapes in any way. There are no indications from the early writings to show that the Virginian settlers even knew how to propagate grapes. The reason for this neglect is largely to be sought for in the last sentence in the subjoined footnote from Beverly. This neglect was in spite of the fact that from the first the settlers had noted that when the vines were open to the sun the crop was improved.
In the northern colonies, as in Virginia, about the first object to attract the attention of the early settlers was the wild grape. The grape, possibly more than any other natural product of the soil, is mentioned in the preliminary surveys of the Atlantic Coast as offering reasonable ground for the expectation that American soils would furnish all of the supplies necessary for the sustenance and comfort of settlers. A few statements from the early explorers and visitors in the Middle and New England States will serve to show how plentiful wild grapes were in these regions and the estimation in which they were held.
In Delaware, Beauchamp Plantagenet, describing a "Uvedale under Websneck,"in his account of New Albion, says that it contains "four sorts of excellent great vines running on mulberry and sassafras trees; there are four sorts of grapes, the first is the Thoulouse Muscat, sweet scented, the second the great fox and thick grape, after five months reaped being boiled and salted, and well fined, it is a strong red Xeres; the third a light Claret, the fourth a white grape creeps on the land, maketh a pure gold color white wine; Tenis Pale, the Frenchman, of these four made eight sorts of excellent wine, and of the Muscat acute boiled that the second draught will fox a reasonable pate four months old: and here may be gathered and made two hundred ton in the vintage month, and replanted will mend."
In New England the seventeenth century notices of the wild grape are even more numerous than similar records to the south but they are briefer and the northern observer did not recognize the possibilities of their domestic use and of bringing them under cultivation. This seeming neglect of the Puritans was not because the northern wild grapes are inferior to those of Virginia and the Carolinas, but more likely because of the social and industrial conditions of the colonists. The richer planters in the South had time for wine-making, the only purpose for which grapes were then grown, and for growing the grapes. The New Englanders had to struggle for the necessities of life.
THE GRAPES OF NEW YORK. 35
It is significant, too, that the Southerners were fond of wine, and imported Madeira in large quantities. In New England, rum seems to have been preferred to wine, and as its manufacture from molasses is very simple and the latter was to be had from the West Indies at small cost, wine-making and grape-growing received small attention.
Yet nearly all of the writers on the resources of the New England Colonies mentioned grapes. Thus Governor Edward Winslow writing in 1621 of the country in which the Puritans had found a home says: "here are grapes, white and red, and very sweet and strong also." We have seen that Winthrop was so impressed with the possibility of grape-growing in the new colony that he secured a grant of Governor's Island in Boston Harbor upon which to plant a vineyard.. In Thomas Morton's New English Canaan is found the best account of the wild grapes of New England as the Puritan found them. He says: (39) " Vines, of this kinde of trees, there are that beare grapes of three colours, that is to say: white, black, and red.
" The Country is so apt for vines, that (but for the fire at the spring of the yeare) the vines would so over spreade the land, that one should not be able to passe for them, the fruit is as bigg of some as a musket bullet, and is excellent in taste."
John Josselyn in New England's Rarities, speaks of a grape having "a taste of gunpowder," a short but vivid description of Vitis labrusca. William Wood in New England's Prospect gives still another account of the grapes of New England.
36 THE GRAPES OF NEW YORK.
The references given are sufficient to show that the value of the native grapes as a source of food and for wine was recognized by the first settlers in practically all of the colonies and that their possibilities as cultivated plants were considered by some of the colonizers. Yet for two hundred years there were no zealous efforts made to cultivate American grapes. Indeed, there are far fewer references to the wild grapes of the country in the eighteenth century than in the seventeenth. The reasons for this neglect of a plant which could so easily have been improved by cultivation, and this must have been apparent, are several. During all of this period the European grape was being tried and all hopes for viticulture were centered about it. Again, fruit of any kind was not a common article of diet with Americans until even so recently as a generation ago, and native grapes are dessert fruits, not wine fruits, and wine was the purpose for which all grapes were grown until the Catawba, the Concord and the Delaware whetted the appetites of fruit eaters for a dessert grape.
In the history of the amelioration of the American grapes we can skip the period from the early settlement of the country, a period represented by the above quotations, to the first years of the United States as a lapse of time in which there were no steps forward and in which even information concerning grapes was scarcely increased. The evolution of American grapes began with the opening of the nineteenth century, about the only accounts of grapes during the eighteenth century worthy of note being those of John Lawson, 1714; Robert Beverly, 1722; Col. Robert Boiling, 1765; Edward Antill, 1769; and Peter Legaux, 1800. All of these writers excepting Lawson were concerned with European grapes, and their relations to grape-growing were therefore discussed in the chapter on the Old World grape. It remains, however, to call attention to such statements as were made by them of American grapes.
John Lawson, a Scotch engineer,
spent eight years, beginning in 1700, exploring and surveying North
Carolina. A part of this time he was Surveyor General for the State and
through natural desire and vocation he became familiar with the flora
of North Carolina. In his history of that State, written in 1714, he
gives an account of its natural resources in which the grapes of the
region are several times described. He distinguishes six kinds, three of which he mentions as having been removed to
the gardens. His fullest account runs as follows: (40)
"Among the natural fruits, the vine takes first place, of which I find six sorts, very well known. The first is the black bunch grapes which yield a crimson juice. These grow common and bear plentifully, they are of a good relish, though not large, yet well knit in the clusters. They have a thickish skin and large stone, which makes them not yield much juice. There is another sort of black grapes like the former in all respects, save that their juice is of a light flesh color, inclining to a white. I once saw a spontaneous white bunch grape in Carolina; but the cattle browzing on the sprouts thereof in the spring, it died. Of those which we call fox grapes, we have four sorts; two whereof are called summer grapes, because ripe in July; the other two winter fruits, because not ripe till September or October. The summer fox grapes grow not in clusters or great bunches, but are about five or six in a bunch, about the bigness of a damson or larger. The black sort are frequent, the white not so commonly found. They always grow in swamps and low, moist lands, running sometimes very high and being shady, and therefore proper for arbours. They afford the largest leaf I ever saw to my remembrance, the back of which is of a white horse flesh color. This fruit always ripens in the shade. I have transplanted them into my orchard and find they thrive well, if manured. A neighbor of mine has done the same; mine were by slips, his from the roots, which thrive to admiration, and bear fruit, though not so juicy as the European grape, but of a glutinous nature. However it is pleasant enough to eat.
"The other winter fox grapes are much of the same bigness. These refuse no ground, swampy or dry, but grow plentifully on the sand hills along the sea coast and elsewhere, and are great bearers. I have seen near twelve bushels upon one vine of the black sort. Some of these, when thoroughly ripe, have a very pretty vinous taste and eat very well, yet are glutinous. The white sort are clear and transparent, and indifferent small stones. Being removed by the slip or root, they thrive well in our gardens, and make pleasant shades."
In another part of his history, Lawson says that in 1708 the French Huguenots on Trent River, North Carolina, were cultivating European grapes for wine-making. Again he devotes several pages to the subject of grape-growing in North Carolina. He held that this "noble vegetable" could be brought to the same perfection as in similar latitudes in Europe. He states that Nathaniel Johnson had rejected all exotic vines and was cultivating native sorts from which he was making excellent wine. Lawson admonishes his readers that in a new country the settlers are under the necessity of making use of the natural products of the soil of which, in Carolina, the wild grape is most worthy of notice. He calls attention to the fact that conditions are so different in America that European methods of cultivation and care cannot be followed. Lastly he states that he had planted seeds from the white grapes of Madeira from which he hoped to raise a vineyard. Lawson is deserving of esteem as an energetic pioneer, an accurate historian, as one of the first American naturalists, and as an early vineyardist and horticulturist, for he experimented with other fruits than the grape. Poor Lawson was burned to death by the Indians in the prime of his career, cutting short experiments which might have materially hastened the establishment of viticulture in America.
The best account of the grapes of Virginia given in the later colonial times is that of the historian Robert Beverly who is very explicit in his description of the sorts growing wild in that State. He describes them as follows: (42) "Grapes grow there [Virginia] in an incredible plenty, and variety; some of which are very sweet and pleasant to the taste, others rough and harsh, and perhaps fitter for wine or brandy. I have seen great trees covered with single vines, and those vines almost hid with the grapes. Of these wild grapes, besides those large ones in the mountains, mentioned by Batt in his discovery, I have observed four very different kinds, viz:
"One of the sorts grows among the sand banks, upon the edges of the low grounds, and islands next the bay, and sea, and also in the swamps and breaches of the uplands. They grow thin in small bunches, and upon very low vines. These are noble grapes; and though they are wild in the woods, are as large as the Dutch gooseberry. One species of them is white, others purple, blue and black, but all much alike in flavor; and some long, some round.
"A second kind is produced throughout the whole country, in the swamps and sides of hills. These also grow upon small vines, and in small bunches; but are themselves the largest grapes as big as the English bullace, and of a rank taste when ripe, resembling the smell of a fox, from whence they are called fox grapes. Both these sorts make admirable tarts, being of a fleshly substance, and perhaps, if rightly managed, might make good raisins.
. "There are two species more, that are common to the whole country, some of which are black, and some blue on the outside, and some white. They grow upon vast, large vines, and bear very plentifully. The nice observer might, perhaps, distinguish them into several kinds, because they differ in color, size,and relish; but I shall divide them only into two, viz: the early, and the late ripe. The early ripe common grape is much larger, sweeter, and better than the other. Of these some are quite black, and others blue, and some white or yellow; some also ripen three weeks, or a month before the other. The distance of their ripening, is from the latter end of August, to the latter end of October. The late ripe common grapes are less than any other, neither are they so pleasant to the taste. They hang commonly to the latter end of November, or till Christmas; all that I have seen of these are black. Of the former of these two sorts, the French refugees at the Monacan Town made a sort of claret, though they were gathered off of the wild vines in the woods. I was told by a very good judge who tasted it, that it was a pleasant, strong, and full-bodied wine. From which we may conclude, that if the wine was but tolerably good, when made of the wild grape, which is shaded by the woods from the sun, it would be much better, if produced of the same grape cultivated in a regular vineyard." Beverly could write with some authority on grapes for he was at that time much interested in the general question of grape-growing. Besides he was of an inquiring mind and seems to have been an untiring experimenter with the agricultural plants of his own and other lands. Charles Campbell in his introduction to the reprint of Beverly's Virginia in 1855, gives the following account of a vineyard planted by the historian: "John Fontaine, son of a Huguenot refugee, having come over from England to Virginia, visited Robert Beverly, the author of this work, in the year 1715, at his residence, near the head of the Mattapony. Here he cultivated several varieties of the grape, native and French, in a vineyard of about three acres, situated upon the side of a hill, from which he made in that year four hundred gallons of wine. He went to very considerable expense in this enterprise, having constructed vaults of a wine-cellar. But Fontaine comparing his method with that used in Spain, deemed it erroneous, and that his vineyard was not rightly managed. The home-made wine Fontaine drank heartily of, and found it good, but he was satisfied by the flavor of it that Beverly did not understand how to make it properly. * * * He had laid a sort of wager with some of the neighboring planters, he giving them one guinea in hand, and they promising to pay him each ten guineas, if in seven years he should cultivate a vineyard that would yield at one vintage seven hundred gallons of wine. Beverly thereupon paid them down one hundred pounds, and Fontaine entertained no doubt but that in the next year he would win the thousand guineas." And Beverly won the guineas.
Boiling in his Sketch of Vine Culture, 1765, mentions native grapes only as they indicate to him the adaptability of the country for the European sorts. Yet he suggests, and was probably the first to do so, the possibility of hybridization between American and the European species. He says: "Would it not be well for us to attempt the raising of new varieties, by marrying our native with foreign vines?" He then gives a plan whereby the vines may be planted as to "so interlock their branches as that they shall be completely blended together." He says, "they will then feed from the blossoms of each other, and when the fruit is ripe, and if seeds are saved from it and sown in nurseries, * * * it is probable that we shall obtain other varieties better adapted to our climates and better for wine and table, than either of those kinds from which they sprung. Beyond these brief mentions Boiling does not discuss native grapes, though he tells of the origin of the Bland grape, which we now know to be a native, and wrongly says that it grew from the seed of a European raisin.
Antill, in his Essay
on the Cultivation of the Vine, a treatise discussed in the
chapter, gives no varieties of native grapes, though he says that he
had just entered upon a trial of them. His brief discussion of American vines is well worth quoting in full as showing the
the species known to Antill just previous to the Revolutionary War: (42)
" The reason for my being silent about vines that are natives of America, is, that I know but little of them, having but just entered upon a trial of them, when my very ill state of health forbade me to proceed: From what little observation I have been able to make, I look upon them to be much more untractable than those of Europe, they will undergo a hard struggle indeed, before they will submit to a low and humble state, a state of abject slavery. They are very hardy and will stand a frame, for they brave the severest storms and winter blasts, they shrink not at snow, ice, hail or rain; the wine they will make, I imagine from the austerity of their taste, will be strong and masculine.
"The Fox-Grape, whose berries are large and round, is divided into three sorts, the white, the dark red and the black; the berries grow but thin upon the bunches, which are plain without shoulders. They delight most in a rich sandy lome, here they grow very large and the berries are sweetest, but they will grow in any grounds, wet or dry; those that grow on high dry grounds generally become white, and the colour alters to a dark red or black, according to the lowness and wetness of the ground; the situation I think must greatly affect the Wine, in strength, goodness and colour; the berries are generally ripe the beginning of September, and when fully ripe they soon fall away; thus much I have observed as they grow wild. What alteration they may undergo, or how much they may be improved by proper soils and due cultivation I cannot say.
" There is a small black Grape, a size bigger than the winter Grape, that is ripe in September; it is pleasant to eat, and makes a very pretty Wine, which I have drank of, it was four years old, and seemed to be the better for its age; the colour was amber, owing to the want of knowing how to extract the tincture; this Grape is seldom to be found; there is a Vine of them near John Taylor, Esq; at Middletown, Monmouth, and there are some of them in Mr. Livingston's Vineyard at Piscataqua in New-Jersey, I think they are well worth propagating.
" The frost or winter Grape is known to every body, both the bunches and berries are small, and yield but little juice, but the richness of the Wine may make up for the smallness of the quantity; the taste of the Grape is austere till pretty hard frosts come, and then it takes a favourable turn and becomes very sweet and agreeable; this Vine shoots forth great numbers of slender branches, and might do very well for the south and southeast sides of a summer-house or close walk, if all the useless and barren branches were cut away.
" The Vines of America are fit for strong high espaliers, but if I mistake not, he must watch them narrowly, must take away every unnecessary and unprofitable branch, and trim them sharp and close, that means to keep them within bounds."
Peter Legaux, in his patriotic address " To the People of the American States" (43) wherein he admonishes them the culture of the vine is a national duty, was intent, as we have seen, on making the Old World grape grow in America even if it were necessary to palm off an American sort as an Old World kind. He dismisses American grapes with even less attention than Antill gave them, his sole notice of them being embodied in the remarks that "with skillful management many of them would make good and wholesome wines" and that "if the native grapes of America are not the most eligible for vineyards, others are now within the reach of its inhabitants". Indirectly he was, however, of great service in distributing the first native varieties, for as Rafinesque says, "by calling our Bland and Alexander grapes Madeira and Cape, he was instrumental in diffusing them among those who would not have noticed nor bought them if known as native vines."
Following Legaux's address of 1800 several treatises were written within a few years which give us a very clear idea of the status of the American grapes at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Chief of these, and probably in chronological order, is a paper in The Domestic Encyclopedia on the Vine, written by James Mease, M. D. It appears that Dr. Mease wrote in 1802 but the Encyclopedia did not appear until 1804.(44) Embodied in the article is an " interesting paper on the vines of the United States drawn up by William Bartram at the request of the editor." Bartram's paper was written in the spring of 1802. Mease's discussion of the vine merits especial attention. While the best of Antill's and Legaux's observations are made use of, yet much is added to them and the paper is far more reasonable in every respect than those of either of the two previous writers, and is wholly lacking in the ostentatious modesty and circumlocution of Antill and the grandiloquence and self esteem of Legaux. It may justly be considered the first rational discussion of the culture of the grape in America.
Mease's paper deserves attention for another reason. It contains the first public utterance condemning the culture of the Old World grape and recommending the cultivation of native grapes. He says: "From the experience, however, of the editor and his friends who have found much difficulty in naturalizing foreign vines, he recommends the cultivation of the native grapes of the United States, particularly the Vitis sylvestris, [Vitis aestivalis] or small blue or bunch grape; Bland's, Tasker's or Alexander's, and the bull-grape of Carolina and Georgia." It appears from the whole discussion by Mease and Bartram in this treatise that the only varieties of native grapes cultivated in 1804 were, Alexander's or Tasker's grape, Bland's grape, the Bull grape of Carolina and Georgia, and the Raccoon grape.
Two years later, 1806, S. W. Johnson (45) and Bernard McMahon (46) published accounts of the cultivation of the vine. Johnson mentions three American varieties, the "Bull or Bullet grape, Bland's grape and the Alexander's or Tasker's grape." Johnson has nothing to say of the desirability of cultivating the above or other native sorts and confines his discussion largely to Legaux's work with European grapes. McMahon advocates the introduction of foreign grapes and says almost nothing about the native species. As American varieties he mentions those given by Johnson, omitting the Bull grape.
One of the first, if not the first, extensive centers of native grape-growing in America was about York, Pennsylvania. In 1818, Mr. Thomas Eichelberger, an enterprising German vine-grower, set out four acres of grapes at this place and demonstrated that grapes could be grown successfully. The original vineyard was increased to about twenty acres and other plantations were made until in 1826 there were in the immediate neighborhood of the borough of York one hundred and fifty acres of vineyards. The account of these vineyards states further: " In Adam and Westmoreland the culture of the vine is also attended to and one gentleman in Chester has a vineyard of thirty acres." The grape most commonly grown in this region was known to the growers as "Black or York Madeira" and was supposed to have been introduced from the Island of Madeira. Prince pronounced the grape to be a native and the then commonly grown Alexander. Other popular sorts in this region were the York Claret, a native resembling Alexander; and York Lisbon, described as "having considerable affinity to Alexander but having a larger and more acid fruit." Beside these there were several less well known sorts none of which is heard of now. Before the industry began to wane about York the Catawba and Isabella had taken the place of the first named sorts and these eventually succumbed for most part to grape diseases. In looking up the history of varieties of grapes for this work, a surprisingly large number have been traced back to this early center of the industry, so many that York and Lancaster Counties, Pennsylvania, must be counted among the starting places of American viticulture.
THE GRAPES OF NEW YORK. 45
there had been efforts to grow Vitis vinifera in many widely separated regions. The futility of attempting to grow the Old World grape became apparent, so far as we may judge from written accounts, to but few men, however. To Dr. James Mease must be accorded the honor of first perceiving and setting forth in print the fact that American viticulture must rise from native grapes. Possibly the second man to voice the same sentiment was Thomas Jefferson, ever alert for the agricultural welfare of the country, who wrote to John Adlum in 1809, speaking of the Alexander grape: " I think it will be well to push the culture of that grape without losing time and efforts in search of foreign vines, which it will take centuries to adapt to our soil and climate." It is probable that Jefferson, who it appears was a frequent correspondent of Adlum's, stimulated the latter to the publication of a book on grape culture. This appeared in 1823, " for the purpose ", as the author says in his preface, " of diffusing some practical and useful information throughout the country on the best method of cultivating the native grape and of making Wine ".
Adlum's Cultivation of the Vine was
the first American book on
American grapes. The author's intentions, as indicated in his preface,
quoted above, were good; but his book, as an exposition on native grape
culture, is a failure. The work is concerned for most part with
wine-making and his cultural directions are. taken almost wholly, such as
from European books. In the last four pages of the treatise he
describes twenty-two varieties of grapes of which perhaps a dozen are
native sorts. In this edition the Catawba
is described as the Tokay but
in a second edition, published in 1828, the name is changed from Tokay
to Catawba. Adlum was one
of the first to call attention to the Catawba
and was at the time its chief distributor. He advocated in his book,
and in the papers of the time, the establishment of an experimental
farm upon which could be grown " cuttings of the different species of
the native Vine to be found in the United States, to ascertain their
growth, soil, and produce, and to exhibit to the Nation, a new source
of wealth, which has been too long neglected." (49)
Adlum did not write from theory alone for he was the owner and cultivator of vineyards near Georgetown, in the District of Columbia, where he grew both native and foreign grapes. The latter he finally discarded with the statement that the way to success in America " is to drop most kinds of foreign vines at once (except a few for the table) and seek for the best kinds of our largest native Grapes". The best information from Adlum's pen regarding native grapes and their culture is to be found in the American Farmer', published in Baltimore. He wrote mainly during the years 1824 to 1830. He was neither a clear nor an accurate writer and his imagination and enthusiasm had full sway at all times; yet. notwithstanding these faults, he must be counted as one of the geniuses of his day, as devoted to the welfare of the country, as having almost a prophetic vision, and as actuated by the best of motives. His struggle for a national experimental vineyard, the work of his pen, his dissemination of the Catawba and other grapes, and his vineyard experiments, give Adlum a high place among the improvers of American grapes.
John James Dufour gives the next glimpse
of the beginnings of American viticulture in his Vine Dresser's Guide
published in Cincinnati in 1826. It is but a glimpse, however, for
Dufour was a foreigner, and, as we have seen, came to America to grow
the Old World grape. His efforts at grape-growing furnished the climax
to the two centuries of failures in growing
Vitis vinifera in America but did not benefit the new viticulture of the country greatly. (50) His only contribution of note was one made in spite of himself, namely the introduction of the Alexander, which he incorrectly called Cape, an American grape, as a commercial variety, Legaux having first brought it prominently to notice. Dufour would never admit that this variety, the only one to succeed in his vineyards in Kentucky and Indiana, was a native grape and says of it in the preface of his book: " I will also try to save the character of our Cape grapes from being made merely wild grapes, because some are now found in the woods; and, to put any one in the way to distinguish wild from tame grapes, I will give the description of the botanical characters of the blossom of both sorts." In his text he fulfills the promise in the preface and devotes some pages to "save the character of our Cape grapes."
Dufour's visit of inspection of the vineyards of the country in 1799 has been noted in discussing the Old World grape. In this trip only foreign grapes interested him and he mentioned the wild species but to condemn them for cultivation. In his book published twenty-seven years later he shows no change of opinion and though at this time there were a number of meritorious native sorts he describes only European varieties. Dufour was a true foreigner and could find little of value in the New World that did not come from the Old World.
Rafinesque, writing in 1830, in his American Manual of the Grape Vines, gives an account of forty-one species of native grapes. Unfortunately his "species" are founded upon the slightest differences in vine or fruit and his observations were so poorly made that his botanical studies of the grape are now wholly discredited by botanists. He gives an account of the acreage in vineyards existing in the United States in 1825 and 1830. This is the earliest estimate of the vineyard acreage of the country and is therefore a landmark in American viticulture. It is as follows: "In 1825 I collected an account of our principal vineyards and nurseries of vines. They were then only 60 of 1 to 20 acres each, altogether 600 acres. While now, in 1830, they amount to 200 of 3 to 40 acres, or nearly 5000 acres of vineyards. Thus having increased tenfold within 5 years, at which rate they promise to become a permanent and increasing cultivation."
Viticulture took its place in the literature of American pomology with the advent of William Robert Prince's A Treatise on the Vine. This work, magnificent compared with similar books of the time, introduces native grapes to the fruit-growers of America. Prince was the fourth proprietor of the same name of the Prince nurseries at Flushing, Long Island, and he with his predecessors had assiduously cultivated European varieties of grapes hoping to acclimatize them to American conditions. It is not a matter of wonder therefore, that much of his book is devoted to foreign grapes. His collection at Flushing consisted of over four hundred and fifty sorts and many of these he describes. In spite of his attraction to the foreign varieties, some of which had been tested in his nursery for two or three generations, Prince admitted the impossibility of growing them successfully and recommends to his readers and patrons the cultivation of native varieties. In the latter regard he says: "* * * after all my own experiments I have come to this conclusion, that to establish vineyards of the most profitable description, with a certainty of regular crops in localities north of the highlands in this state, native varieties alone should be selected; and the whole of the eastern states will of course be comprised in this remark."Continuing, he gives an idea of grape production in 1830:
In his treatise, Prince described about seventy varieties of native grapes and several of the native species. Prince's descriptions of these grapes are comprehensive and judging from the sorts described by him which we now have they are accurate. He grew seedlings from many of them. He showed a knowledge of the possibilities of hybridization of American species with Vitis vinifera. He solicited and obtained seeds and vines from all the settled portions of the Union. His grape correspondents in-different parts of America and of the world must have numbered hundreds. Prince's enthusiasm and perseverance in grape culture attached to him votaries in all fruit regions and to him more than to any other man was due that friendly interchange of knowledge and sentiment regarding grapes which characterized the half century after the appearance of his book. Such co-operation as was manifested in grape-growing in the second and third quarters of the nineteenth century has never been known in the culture of any other species of plant in this country and to it is largely due the progress of viticulture in leaps and bounds dating from Prince's time.
With the close of the year 1830, we may consider viticulture a firmly established industry in America with the native grapes as a basis. Rafinesque's estimate of the acreage at this time is given on a preceding page. It is worth while considering, very briefly, the types of grapes under cultivation at this stage of the industry, with some discussion of the origin of the leading varieties.
"The average crop of wine with us is 300 gallons per acre. At York, where 2700 vines are put on one acre, each vine has often produced a quart of wine, and thus 675 gallons per acre, value $675 in 1823, besides $200 for 5000 cuttings. One acre of vineyard did then let for $200 or 300, thus value of the acre about $5000: This was in poor soil unfit for wheat, and for mere Claret.
"Now in 1830, that common French Claret often sells only at 50 cents the gallon, the income must be less. I hope our claret may in time be sold for 25 cents the gallon, and the table grapes at one cent the lb. and even then an acre of vineyard will give an income of $75, and be worth $1000 the acre.
"The greatest check to this cultivation is the time required for grapes to bear well, from 3 to 6 years: our farmers wishing to have quick yearly crops; but then when a vineyard is set and in bearing, it will last forever, the vines themselves lasting from 60 to 100 years, and are easily re-placed as they decay.
"The next check is the precarious crops if badly managed. Every year is not equally plentiful and sometimes there is a total failure when rains drown the blossoms; but an extra good crop of 500 or 600 gallons commonly follows and covers their loss." Rafinesque, C. S. American Manual of the Grape Vines., Philadelphia. 1830. pp. 43-45. 4
The first grape to become generally distributed as a commercial variety, was, as has been remarked before, the Alexander, or Cape. It came into prominence, through the deception of Legaux and the credulity of Dufour, as one of the Viniferas commonly grown at the Cape of Good Hope. It proved, however, to be an offshoot of the fox grape of the woods, Vitis labrusca, and had been grown, long before Legaux palmed it off as the Cape, under the names Alexander and Tasker's, Alexander because of its having been grown by a gardener of this name and Tasker's through its cultivation on a somewhat extensive scale by a Mr. Tasker in Maryland. Its history dates back to the years before the Revolutionary War and its origin was probably on the banks of the Schuylkill in Pennsylvania, hence another of its many synonyms, Schuylkill Muscadell.
Of the several other native varieties of the Labrusca type cultivated in 1830, two deserve attention for their intrinsic and historical value. The Catawba, of uncertain origin, as we shall see in its history, and the Isabella, a native of South Carolina, are both classed by most viticulturists as of the fox or Labrusca type. The two varieties were distributed among vine-growers at about the same time but the Catawba, because of its superior merits, soon took the lead and at the time of which we write was by far the most popular native grape. These, with the Alexander, may certainly be considered the forerunners of the cultivated grapes of the species to which they belong. The Catawba is still in several great grape regions of the country the standard commercial variety.
While varieties of Vitis labrusca were first cultivated in the North, it is probable that Vitis rotundifolia furnished the first domesticated varieties for the South, and likely, too, before the northern kinds were cultivated. Among these are the white and black Scuppernongs, or bullet grapes. Vitis rotundifolia, while it refuses to grow out of its habitat, runs riot from Maryland to Florida from seashore to mountains and in many diverse soils. The Scuppernongs are natural offshoots of this species and are known in the South in legend, tradition and history. Undoubtedly they were cultivated for their fruit or as ornamentals in garden or vineyards from the earliest colonial times. It is certain that wine was made from the different wild types of Vitis rotundifolia from the settlement of Jamestown and if not brought under cultivation at an early day it was because the bountifulness of the wild vines obviated the necessity of domesticating them. It was of this grape that Amadas and Barlowe wrote in 1584 " in all the world the like abundance is not to be found."
The word Scuppernong is often used to designate a group of grapes rather than as a varietal name; for, there are the black Scuppernong, the white or green Scuppernong and the red Scuppernong, all much alike except in color of fruit and in a few minor characters of vine. Indeed, where Vitis rotundifolia grows wild, all of the forms are often included in the term Scuppernong. The species is often known, too, as the Muscadine or Southern Muscadine.
While the Labruscas were becoming established in the North and the Scuppernongs in the South, two other species, one northern and one southern, came into prominence with varieties which for wine-making at least were far superior to any other native sorts. The southern species is Vitis aestivalis, best represented then and now by Norton while the northern species is Vitis riparia and its variety under cultivation was the Clinton, which still remains one of the best representatives of the species. It is strange that these four species were brought under cultivation only when wild forms of them, so striking in value that they still remain a hundred years later standard cultivated varieties, had been found. Vitis labrusca represented by Catawba, Vitis rotundifolia, by Scuppernong, Vitis aestivalis, by Norton, and Vitis riparia, by Clinton, are, after a century of improvement, with several hundred varieties, scarcely excelled by others of their species. Yet it is not so much the wonder that grape-breeders have so little improved upon these first varieties, as that our forefathers could allow them to grow comparatively neglected at their doors for two centuries while they wasted time in the attempt to grow a foreign grape that had been a failure from the very start.
Other species had also been tried at this time. Those indefatigable botanists and horticulturists, the Princes, had grown plants of what we now know as Vitis aestivalis lincecumii Munson, Vitis longii Prince, and Vitis cordifolia Michx., but without finding them of value. It is interesting to note that the first named species, the Post-oak grape, now promises to furnish valuable varieties for the South and that it has some characters desirable for the North if they can be combined with those of our northern species.
We have followed the grape through the settlement, colonization and first statehood days of the United States. We have seen that it had its part, and no mean one, in these dramatic periods. We have found that the wild grapes of the country, valued but uncultivated for two hundred years, became through mere transplanting from the woods into the vineyards, without the slow modifications which nearly all other plants have had to undergo, one of our most important fruits. The domestication of four species of American grapes has been briefly traced. The beginning of American viticulture has been set, somewhat arbitrarily, at 1830, the date of the publication of William Prince's Treatise on the Vine, It remains now to discuss the economic progress of the industry we have seen launched.
The twenty years following 1830 comprise a period of expansion in grape-growing unmarked by the introduction of new types or of any new varieties of particular note. During this time a grape and wine industry of considerable magnitude was developed about Cincinnati, and the Ohio River became known as the Rhine of America a title long since lost and now applied to the Keuka Lake region in New York. According to Buchanan, (51) there were 1550 acres of grapes in the Ohio Valley within twenty miles of Cincinnati; between forty and fifty acres near Hermann, Missouri; a fewScuppernong grape in North and South Carolina. The inference from Buchanan is that the above plantations were for the production of wine; for he specifies that a few vineyards were in cultivation about New York, Philadelphia and Burlington, New Jersey, "but more with a view to supply the market with grapes, than to make wine."
The last statement is significant for it indicates a change in the grape industry which really gave life to the viticulture of eastern America. Until about 1850, grapes were considered valuable and were cultivated only for wine-making. Previous to this time the literature on the grape was concerned more with wine-making than with cultivation, varieties or any other phase of the industry. The American grapes, with few exceptions, do not make good wines; there were few men in the country until within recent years who understood wine-making; and the American people do not take kindly to wines. It was not, therefore, possible to establish viticulture as an industry of any magnitude in eastern America when grapes were used for wine alone. It was only when the demand for table grapes was created and when transportation and market facilities permitted the supply of the demand that the industry took form and substance. It is a significant fact that in those regions in the eastern United States in which grape-growing has been founded and which are chiefly dependent on wine-making, the industry has not prospered or has flourished but temporarily.
We have had Rafinesque's survey of the grape industry of the country in 1830 and Buchanan's in 1850. The next record, and a far more complete one than either of the above, is found in a consular report made by E. M. Erskine, Secretary of the British Legation at Washington, to the British government in 1859. Mr. Erskine reported the acreage as follows: " The banks of the River Ohio are studded with vineyards, between 1,500 and 2,000 acres being planted in the immediate vicinity of Cincinnati, with every prospect of a vast increase. At Cleveland, Ohio, on the southern shore of Lake Erie, there are 100 acres under vine culture; at Hermann, on the Missouri, 80 miles west of St. Louis, 150 or 200 acres are cultivated almost entirely by Germans; at Booneville, higher up the same river; at Belleville, on the * rolling prairies ' of Illinois; at Reading, in Pennsylvania; in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, and generally, in at least twenty-two out of the thirty-two States now constituting the Union, vineyards of more or less promise and extent have been planted. * * *
"About 3,000 acres are cultivated as vineyards in the state of Ohio; 500 in Kentucky; 1,000 in Indiana; 500 in Missouri; 500 in Illinois; 100 in Georgia; 300 in North Carolina; 200 in South Carolina, with every prospect of a rapid increase in all. It is calculated that at least 2,000,000 gallons of wine are now raised in the United States, the average value of which may be taken at a dollar and a half the gallon."
Grape-growing in New York was not considered worthy of mention by Erskine; and Buchanan nine years before reported only a few vineyards about New York City. In the regions of this State now almost wholly devoted to grape-growing a start had hardly been made in 1850. Yet there were some commercial vineyards at this time. Deacon Elijah Fay, the pioneer grape-grower in what is now the great Chautauqua region, planted the first vines in that district in 1818 and though grape-growing did not become of importance until three or four decades later yet this planting was the foundation upon which Deacon Fay built until, largely through his efforts and example and those of his children, grapes were grown everywhere about his home. It is doubtful, however, if there were a hundred acres of commercial vineyards in this region when Erskine made his report in 1859.
The first plantings made about Keuka Lake, now called the " Rhine of America ", were made by the Rev. William Bostwick at Hammondsport about 1830. He grew the Catawba and Isabella in a small way in his garden and for years was the only grape-grower in this part of New York. The commercial industry in this region was not started until 1853 when Andrew Reisinger, a German vintner, planted two acres of Isabellas and Catawbas at Harmonyville in the town of Pulteney. From this start viticulture in the Keuka region grew apace and there must have been four or five hundred acres of grapes planted when Erskine's report was made in 1859. The fact that the region was not mentioned in this report may be accounted for by assuming that Erskine's figures came from men engaged in making wine and at this time wine was not made in large quantities in the Keuka district.
There had been experimental vineyards about New York City and along the Hudson for a century before the time of which we are writing, but these, as we have seen, being largely of foreign grapes, came to naught. Probably native grapes were first planted there in a commercial way by the French Huguenots who settled in Ulster and Orange Counties. At any rate there is record of a vineyard planted by a Frenchman, John Jacques, near Washingtonville in 1837. The varieties were Isabella and Catawba and there were, all told, about half an acre. It is interesting to note that this vineyard is still producing grapes and that some of the vines are as vigorous as in their first maturity. Wine-making as an industry has existed in this region since the vineyard of 183 7 came into bearing but it was not until several years later that table grapes were grown for the market. In 1859 there must have been two or three hundred acres of grapes in commercial vineyards in the country adjacent to the Hudson.
Adding five hundred acres from New York to the 6500 reported for the United States by Erskine in 1859 we have 7000 acres for the whole country a small estimate, for several other states known to have considerable acreages of commercial vineyards were not taken into account in Erskine's survey.
Before passing to a further consideration of grape statistics we must note two important events for American viticulture which took place just previous to the survey which we have been discussing. One of these brought about a revolution, almost brought into existence commercial grape-growing; the other stimulated and laid the foundation of grape-breeding in this country. The first was the introduction of the Concord grape; the second was the production of hybrids between the European and the native grapes.
The history of the Concord will be found in the discussion of that variety in the chapter on Varieties of American Grapes. Its advent is noted here that it may be set as a landmark in the development of American grape-culture. It is first recorded in 1852 by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society as a seedling exhibited by E. W. Bull. The qualities that have made the Concord so important in commercial grape-growing are:
Adaptability to varying sets of cultural conditions; fair shipping qualities; hardiness, productiveness and comparative immunity to fungi and insects. Its influence on the grape-growing of the country has been great, too, because from it have come a considerable number of the most valuable varieties of American grapes; as Worden, Moore Early, Pocklington, Martha and Cottage, all purebred seedlings and many cross-breds.
At a meeting of the American Pomological Society in Philadelphia in 1852, Dr. William W. Valk of Flushing, Long Island, exhibited several bunches of fruit from a seedling grape which he had grown from seeds of Black Hamburg produced from blossoms fertilized by Isabella. The cross had been made in 1845, The first fruit was borne in 1850, and in 1851 specimens of it were examined by Downing who wrote, "There can be no doubt that this is the first genuine cross between the foreign grapes and our natives." The name of the variety, given by the originator, is Ada. Dr. Valk gave full accounts of his hybrid seedlings in the Horticulturist in 1851, and in the Proceedings of the American Pomological Society in 1852. (56) He had previously written on the subject of hybridization, an interesting paper having been contributed to Hovey's Magazine as early as 1845. All available information show^s that Valk's is the first recorded hybrid between a native and the foreign grape. Yet the honor of such a production has usually been given to John Fisk Allen and to the grape, Allen's Hybrid. For the conception of hybridity between species we can go back to the beginning of the cultivation of native grapes. Nearly thirty years before, Nuttall, the then famous botanist of Harvard University, had recommended such hybridization to American grape-growers. Dufour mentions its possibilities in his Vine Dresser's Guide. In 1830, Prince discussed the whole matter and gave specific directions for hybridizing. Indeed it is not unlikely that Prince, who says he grew ten thousand seedling plants "from an admixture under every variety of circumstance" grew the first such hybrid but we have nothing more definite as to this than the above statement.
In 1854, two years following its report of E. W. Bull's ''new seedling," the Concord, the Massachusetts Horticultural Society showed in its exhibits another grape scarcely less worthy of note than the Concord. It was a hybrid between the Golden Chasselas and the Isabella produced by John Fisk Allen of Salem, Massachusetts. The new variety, the Allen's Hybrid, mentioned in a preceding paragraph, had some intrinsic value but, of more importance, was the first introduction of its kind and started similar work which gave us many interesting and some valuable grapes.
Soon after the production of Allen's Hybrid, E. S. Rogers of Salem, Massachusetts, and J. H. Ricketts of Newburgh, New York, began to give grape-growers varieties, the results of hybrids between Vitis vinifera and Vitis labrusca, so promising that for a time enthusiasm and speculation ran riot. Possibly at no other period has the interest in grape-growing been so keen as during the decade succeeding the introduction of these hybrids. It was the "golden era" for the grape propagators. One old nurseryman tells of carrying, during this boom, over a thousand dollars worth of rooted grape cuttings on his back from the nursery to the express office.
Though there was no panic among grape-growers as the result of speculation in hybrids, lovers of grapes the country over were greatly disappointed in the hybrid varieties. The fruit of many of the hybrids produced at this time is of superior quality and many of them are still grown by amateurs. But the vines of all first generation hybrids with Vinifera produced so far, lack hardiness, vigor and usually productiveness; they are susceptible to fungi and the phylloxera and many of them must be cross-pollinated to secure fruit. It is only when the blood of the native species greatly predominates, as in Delaware, Brighton and Diamond, that we have obtained sorts of commercial value through the admixture of foreign blood. But the interest aroused by Allen's Hybrid still continues and in every part of the country may be found some man who hybridizes grapes with the hope that through well planned crosses or a lucky chance he may obtain the grape of grapes for America. Such attempts, stimulated by the hybrids of the fifties, have produced most of our American varieties.
The time between 1853, the date of the introduction of the Concord, and 1880 can be singled out as the period in which viticulture made its great growth in eastern America. The first limit is set because the Concord gave commercial grape-growing its initial impulse; the second limit is put at 1880, because at about that time grapes and wine from California began to compete with the eastern product to such an extent that prices fell and plantings were curtailed. Curtailment did not begin so early as this in New York but for the country at large the period of great expansion ended at about 1880. Fortunately we have an accurate statistical report of the condition of grape culture in the United States at this time. It is found in a work entitled, A Report Upon the Statistics of Grape Culture and Wine Production in the United States for 1880 (58) The report was compiled by Dr. William McMurtrie under the direction of the Commissioner of Agriculture.
Statistics are given for all of the states of the Union but a glance at the tables shows that by this time viticulture had become a specialized industry and that the areas devoted to it are more or less localized. The main areas, with their acreage for 1880, may be set forth as follows:
The Eastern region, comprising the States of New York and Pennsylvania, 14,590 acres.
The Middle region, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, 17,634 acres.
The Western region, Kansas and Missouri, 10,918 acres.
The Southern region, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia, 10,707 acres.
The Pacific region, California, Arizona and New Mexico, 35,518 acres.
Outside of these five regions there were in the United States, according to McMurtrie's report, 12,316 acres. The total acreage for the United States in 1880 was 101,683 acres; the production of wine was 23,453,827 gallons. Unfortunately the total production of grapes is not given.
The following data are taken from the agricultural statistics of 1890 and show well the growth of viticulture in ten years though it is probable that the figures for 1880 were far too low. For the Eastern region, 51,000 acres; the Middle region, 42,633 acres; Western region, 17,306 acres; Southern region, 17,092 acres; Pacific region, 213,230 acres; for the territory outside of these divisions, 60,000 acres. Total area, 401,261 acres. Excluding the acreage of the Pacific division we have 188,031 acres for American grapes, assuming that all of the grapes grown on the Pacific Coast belong to Vitis vinifera.
It is interesting to note that in 1890 four-fifths of the grapes grown in the Eastern region, New York and Pennsylvania, were for table use and that in round numbers the production for this purpose amounted to 60,687 tons, requiring 5000 cars for transportation. Of grapes sold to wineries there were 15,172 tons. The varieties most largely grown were, in order named, Concord, Catawba, Delaware, and Niagara.
In the Middle region, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, about half the grapes grown were for table use and half for wine. By far the largest part of the grapes grown in this region was in Ohio, only about one-fourth of the total area being in the other two states. Between 1880 and 1890, viticulture scarcely held its own in this division. The decrease in the value of the product, competition with California, and, more particularly, ravages of insects and fungi were the causes of the falling off in planting. In some localities many vineyards were destroyed. The grapes sold for table use in this region amounted to 50,337 tons; to wineries, 14,456 tons.
So, too, in the Western region, Missouri and Kansas, but little progress was.made during this ten years and for the same reasons, though the devastation in Missouri was caused chiefly by black-rot, which begun to be troublesome about 1875. The plantings in Missouri were largely for wine-making but in Kansas, which contained 5542 of the 17,306 acres for this region, about half of the crop was sold for table use. The grapes for table use in this region amounted to 30,794 tons, for wineries, 8290 tons.
The crop in the Southern region was about equally divided between wine and table grapes, the production in 1889 amounting to 1,165,832 gallons of wine and 14,539 tons of table grapes. The new plantings about equalled the acreage destroyed so that in total area the region was about holding its own. The chief market for the table grapes was in the North where they were sold early in the season at prices ranging from fifteen to twenty-five cents a pound.
We are concerned with the Pacific region in that its grape products, especially its wines, compete with those of eastern America. The growth of viticulture in the Pacific region in the decade we are discussing was little short of marvelous. In 1880 the acreage was 35,518 acres and in 1890, 213,230 acres, much greater than that of all the eastern regions, and the production of grapes being more than proportionately greater because of the greater productiveness of the vines. In this region 43,414 tons were sold for table grapes; 173,037 tons for wine; 41,166 tons were made into raisins and 23,252 tons used for dried grapes and other purposes than table grapes. The grand total for the region was 280,869 tons against 201,270 for all of eastern America. These figures give an idea of how formidable a competitor to eastern America California had become by 1890.
Tons ofTons of
grapes growngrapes grown
The census of 1900 shows but little increase in the total production of American grapes. A few figures will show the relative status of viticulture in the several regions in 1890 and 1900.
Eastern region . . Middle region . . . Western region. . Southern region . California region.
All of the regions we have been discussing, in which native grapes are grown, show a considerable falling off in production excepting the eastern one where the increase more than counterbalances the decrease in the other regions. The census report for 1900 shows three new states in the list of those producing grapes in commercial quantities. In the decade preceding, Michigan came up from an insignificant commercial production in 1890 to fifth rank in 1900 with 20,765 tons. Iowa and Oklahoma, states from which grapes were not reported in commercial quantities in 1890, produced 3701 and 3055 tons in 1900.
The shifting of grape areas indicated in the above paragraph was caused for most part by the grape diseases. The mildew and rot had ruined the grape industry in some of the older regions. The newer regions, as in Michigan, either enjoy comparative immunity from these troubles or the vineyards had not yet been attacked by them. In the case of the eastern region, New York and Pennsylvania, in the Chautauqua district, along the shores of Lake Erie in both states, where the production increased greatly during this decade, the vineyards are almost wholly immune to black-rot and are comparatively free from the mildew. In the other grape districts of this region these troubles are kept well in check by spraying.
The statistics given in the last few paragraphs show how greatly the grape-growing of eastern America has increased in the last half century. When one considers that at the time Erskine made his survey in 1859 there were but 6100 acres of grapes in the whole of this great region and that the culture of the European varieties was impossible, the total acreage grown in 1900, namely, 237,998 acres, makes an astounding figure. The results achieved seem all the greater when one considers that many of the best varieties now grown are the first and scarcely any are further removed than the second generation from wild plants. It is doubtful if any other cultivated plants have attained such importance as our native grapes in so short a time from the wild state. Yet their domestication has scarcely begun and few who grow them realize their possibilities.
THE WINE AND GRAPE JUICE INDUSTRIES.
For over 200 years the grapes grown on this continent were almost wholly for wine-making. Yet the production of grapes was not sufficient to sustain a wine industry until the middle of the nineteenth century. When, with the introduction of new varieties of. grapes and of better methods of growing them, the crop became sufficient in volume to support wine-making as an industry, its progress was checked by the enormous demand for table grapes, a demand not known in other countries, and by the cheapness of California wines. Furthermore the grapes most commonly cultivated, as the Concord, Worden and Niagara, do not make good wines; and knowledge and facilities for wine-making have not been such that the best wines could be made with varieties adapted for the purpose. All of these obstacles, to which we may add the fact that Americans are not a wine-drinking people, have prevented the building up of a wine industry as it exists in other grape-growing countries.
Although the United States stands second or third in the list of grape-producing countries it took lowest rank in wine production in 1900, falling below the small countries of Greece and Switzerland and such comparatively undeveloped countries as Chili and Argentine. Since by far the greater proportion of American wines come from the European grapes of the Pacific coast, it can be seen that wine made from American grapes is but a drop in the bucket in the world's production. Reliable statistics of viticulture in the United States were not taken until 1890, but careful estimates, as we have seen, had been made by several men at different periods. These with the last two census reports show the output of wine in this country to be, in round numbers, as follows:
1870...................................... 5 ,000,000
According to the American Wine Press (Vol. 22: No. 3:22.), the leading authority on wines in this country, the vintage of 1907 shows the following figures:
Southern States............................ 1,000,000
New Jersey................................ 250,000
New York................................. 4,000,000
Ohio..................................... 2, 500,000
California, dry.............................. 30,000,000
" sweet.............................. 10,000,000
Western States............................. 500,000
All other States............................ 500,000
Total wine yield........................ 50,250,000
Subtracting the product of California from the total we have approximately the yield of wine from native grapes.
The manufacture of champagne from native grapes is beginning to be an important adjunct to grape-growing and is of especial importance in New York which is the chief seat of the new industry. According to statistics from the Bureau of Statistics of the Department of Commerce and Labor, more than two million bottles of genuine champagne wine are now produced annually in the United States. The figures compiled by the Bureau of Statistics show that the manufacture of champagne has quadrupled in ten years and that New York is by far the largest producer in this class of wines. It is held by the writers of the circular quoted above, and a careful study seems to have been made of the subject, that the American product compares favorably with that produced in other countries and that native champagnes are steadily improving with the increased experience of the American producer.
The largest manufacturers of champagne are located about Keuka Lake, Steuben County, New York. About 75 per ct. of the total output of the country is manufactured here. The process used is the French one of fermentation in the bottle and a number of distinct brands are made which in color, taste, sparkle and purity are rapidly approaching the high quality of the celebrated French champagnes. Considerable champagne is also made in Orange County in the southeastern part of New York, in Northern Ohio, in Missouri, and a small amount from European grapes in California.
The manufacture of unfermented grape juice is becoming an industry in New York and promises to substantially increase the production of grapes. Grape juice is what its name purports, the juice of the grape undiluted, unsweetened and unfermented. A good grade of grape juice contains no preservatives, the necessity for such being removed in the process of making, the chief operation of which is sterilization by heat whereby the germs of fermentation are killed. The product is an ancient one, as the Greeks, Hebrews and Assyrians used it as new wine; but the process of making an unfermented grape juice that could be kept for an indefinite length of time is quite modern, and is the outcome of the discoveries of the last half century regarding the control of the agents of fermentation.
The grape juice industry of the country is largely confined to New York and to the Chautauqua grape belt in the western part of the State. About one-fifth of the grape crop of this region was turned into grape juice in 1907. The output of the Chautauqua region is as follows: 1904, 400,000 gallons; 1905, 600,000 gallons; 1906, 1,000,000 gallons; 1907, 1,500,000 gallons. The Concord is used almost entirely in the manufacture of grape juice though a few other dark-colored grapes make a very good product. There is but little demand for a light-colored grape juice but some is made. Since the European grape does not make a good unfermented juice there is no fear among growers of native grapes of competition from California or Europe. The rapid growth which this industry has made is most encouraging to grape-growers for it promises to furnish a permanent and profitable demand for good grapes.
Raisins are not made from American grapes. So far no varieties of the native species have been developed with sufficient sugar and solid contents to make a raisin acceptable to the markets. Even were there varieties from which raisins could be made, it is very doubtful if the climate of eastern America during picking and curing time is such that raisins could be made in competition with the product of California, now the greatest of the world's raisin producing regions, where the climate is almost perfectly adapted to the industry.
Footnotes to American Grapes
1. There is a wild grape vine (probably Vitis aestivalis) near Daphne, Alabama, on the shores of Mobile Bay, known as the "General Jackson vine" because of General Jackson having camped under it during the war with the Seminole Indians in 1817-18, which for age and size is truly remarkable. Mr. E. Q. Norton of Daphne writes of this vine as follows: " There is little known regarding the Jackson grape vine beyond the fact that the oldest man living here when I came here 20 years ago told me that the Indians told him when he came here as a boy 90 years ago that the vine was at that time an old one, which had been growing longer than any of them could remember. It was 27 inches through the trunk, four feet above the ground, when I measured it ten years since, and the vines were running over the surrounding trees for many rods. The grapes were very small, quite hard and not very juicy."
2. The following is an account of the discovery of grapes in Vinland translated from the Icelandic manuscript by Reeves:
" When they had completed their house Leif said to his companions, ' I propose now to divide our company into two groups, and to set about an exploration of the country; one half of our party shall remain at home at the house, while the other half shall investigate the land, and they must not go beyond a point from which they can return home the same evening, and are not to separate. Thus they did for a time; Leif himself, by turns, joined the exploring party or remained behind at the house. * * *
" It was discovered one evening that one of
their party was missing, and this proved to be Tyrker* the German. Leif
was sorely troubled by this, for Tyrker had lived with Leif and his
father for a long time, and had been very devoted to Leif, when the
latter was a child. Leif severely reprimanded his companions, and
prepared to go in search of him, taking twelve men with him. They had
proceeded but a short distance from the house, when they were met by
Tyrker, whom they received most cordially. Leif observed at once that
his foster-father was in lively spirits. * * * Leif addressed him, and
Wherefore art thou so belated, foster-father mine, and astray from the
others' In the beginning Tyrker spoke for some time in German, rolling
his eyes, and grinning, and they could not understand him; but after a
time he addressed them in the Northern tongue: ' I did not go much
further [than you], and yet I have something of novelty to relate. I
have found vines and grapes.' * Is this indeed true, foster-father?'
said Leif. 'Of a certainty it is true', quoth he, 'for I was born
where there is not lack of either grapes or vines.'They slept the
night through, and on the morrow Leif said to his shipmates: * We will
now divide our labours, and each day will either gather grapes or cut
vines and fell trees, so as to obtain a cargo of these for my ship.'
They acted upon this advice, and it is said, that their after-boat was
filled with grapes. A cargo sufficient for the ship was cut, and when
the spring came, they made their ship ready, and sailed away; and from
its products Leif gave the land a name, and called it Wineland."
Finding of Wineland the Good: 66. Oxford University Press, London, 1890.
3. Grape vines of the English stock, as well as those of their own production, bear most abundantly, if they are suffered to run near the ground, and increase very kindly by slipping; yet very few have them at all in their gardens, much less endeavor to improve them by cutting or laying. But since the first impression of this book, some vineyards have been attempted, and one is brought to perfection, of seven hundred and fifty gallons a year. The wine drinks at present greenish, but the owner doubts not of good wine, in a year or two more, and takes great delight that way.
et" When a single tree happens in
clearing the ground, to be left standing, with a vine upon it, open to
the sun and air, that vine generally produces as much as four or five
others, that remain in the woods. I have seen in this case, more grapes
upon one single vine, than would load a London cart. And for all this,
the people till of late never removed any of them into their gardens,
but contented themselves throughout the whole country with the grapes
they found thus wild." Beverly, Robert. The History of Virginia: 260.
1722, Reprint, 1855.
4. "Will fox," i. e. intoxicate. See footnote on page 4.
5. Vine, much differing in the fruit, all of them very fleshy, some reasonably pleasant; others have a taste of Gun Powder, and these grow in swamps, and low wet Grounds. Josselyn, John, Gent. New England's Rarities: 66. London, 1672.
6. Speaking of the Horne-bound
tree (probably hornbeam from his description) he says: '' This Tree
growing with broad spread Armes, the vines winde their curling branches
about them; which vines affoard great store of grapes, which are very
big both for the grape and Cluster, sweet and good: these be of two
sorts, red and white, there is likewise a smaller kind of grape which
groweth in the Islands which is sooner ripe and more delectable; so
that there is no knowne reason why as good wine may not be made in
those parts, as well as in Burdeuax in France; being under the same
degree. It is a great pittie no man sets upon such a venture, whereby
he might in small time inrich himselfe, and benefit the Countrie, I
know nothing which doth hinder but want of skilfull men to manage such
an employment: For the countrey is hot enough, the ground good enough,
and many convenient hills lye towards the south Sunne, as if they were
there placed for the purpose." Wood, William. New England's Prospect:
20. London, 1634.
7. But little is known of Dr. James Mease other than that he was one of the editors of The Domestic Encyclopedia, a Fellow of the American Philosophical Society and Vice-President of the Philadelphia Agricultural Society. That he was a student of American grapes is shown in his letter of transmissal of Bartram's paper to the Medical Repository in which he says: " It is my present intention to publish the description of one species of vine every year in Latin and English, with a coloured plate, and I had made arrangements for the publication of the first fascicle last year; but the very unfavourable season, which had prevented the ripening of the species (Bland's Grape) I had resolved first to describe, obliging me to defer the task until the present year, when I hope the weather will prove more favourable. Medical gentlemen, and others fond of natural history, and anxious to have the description of American vines and their classification completed, will have it much in their power to assist my undertaking. I have taken measures to have the Bull or Bullet grape of Carolina and Georgia sent me; but I shall nevertheless be much indebted for any specimens of the plant that may be transmitted,8. Bartram states that " bull " is an abbreviation of bullet; the grapes being so called because they were of the size of a bullet. He held that the name '" taurina " applied to the species was not proper.
" Wishing to preserve the names of the public
benefactors who had in 1825 established our first vineyards, I herewith
insert their names. They are independent of the vineyards of York,
Vevay, and Vincennes.
"In New York, George Gibbs, Swift, Prince, Lansing, Loubat, etc.
" In Pennsylvania, Carr, James, Potter, J. Webb, Legaux, Echelberger, E. Bonsall, Stoys, Lemoine, Rapp.
" In Delaware, Broome, J. Gibbs, etc.
" In Maryland, Adlum, W. Bernie, C. Varle, R. Sinclair, W. Miles, etc.
" In Virginia, Lockhart, Zane, R. Weir, Noel, J. Browne, J. Duling, etc.
"In Carolina, Habersham, Noisette, etc.
" In Georgia, Maurick, James Gardiner, S. Grimes, Checteau, M'Call.
" In New Jersey, Cooper at Camden. Another at Mount Holly.
" In Ohio, Gen. Harrison, Longworth, Dufour, etc.
" In Indiana, Rapp of Harmony, the French of Vincennes.
"In Alabama, Dr. S. Brown, at Eagleville." *
Tradition relates that
the first Scuppernong vine known by civilized man was found on the
coast of North Carolina by Amadas and Barlowe in 1584 and was
transplanted by them to Roanoke Island. An old vine of great diameter
of stem and spread of vine, gnarled in trunk and branchf evidently of
great age, is known as the "Mother Scuppernong" and is supposed to be
the vine transplanted in 1584.
Calvin Jones writing June 17, 1817, in the American Farmer, 3:332, from Raleigh, North Carolina, gives the following account of the name Scuppernong: "This grape et wine, had the name of Scuppernong, given to them by Henderson et myself, in compliment to Jas. Blount, of Scuppernong, who first diffused a general knowledge of it in several well written communications in our paper and it is cultivated with more success on that river, than in any other part of the state, perhaps, except the Island of Roanoke." It is worthy of note that Scuppernong is largely a sea-board name for Vitis rotundifolia and is not commonly applied to it outside of the Atlantic States.
Nuttall says: '' It is probable that hybrids
Vine (Vitis vinifera) and those of
the United States would better
answer the variable climates of North America, than the unacclimated
vine of Europe. When a portion of the same industry shall have been
bestowed upon the cultivation of the native vines of America, which has
for so many ages and by so many nations, been devoted to the
amelioration of Vitis vinifera,
we cannot imagine that the citizens of
the United States will be longer indebted to Europe for the luxury of
wine. It is not however in the wilds of uncultivated nature that we are
to obtain vines worthy of
Were this the case, Europe would to the present have known no other
Malus than the worthless austere crab, in place of the finest apple; no
other Pyrus than the acerb and inedible Pyraster or stone
which cultivation has obtained all the other varieties. It is from seed
that new and valuable varieties are invariably to be obtained. There is
however at the present time, a variety of one of the native species
cultivated under the name of 'Bland's grape', a hybrid no way in my
opinion inferior to some of the best European grapes."
"People who have a good deal of leisure time, ought to make those experiments which take many years to know the result. If any where in the United States a public Botanic garden should be established, there would be the proper place, to have a corner of it appropriated solely for the purpose of trying the raising of new species of grapes, either by seeds or grafts; and if there was a green or hot house, several species of the best grapes, and even a male plant of the most vigorous indigenous ought to be introduced in it, and trained so that the crossing of the breed may be easily done, by bringing two different sorts of grapes together in time of blossoming, and sow the seeds. I think we may anticipate some very good results from such an arrangement." Vine Dresser's Guide: 228. 1826.
hybridization he says: " In all attempts at artificial fecundation, I
would recommend that one of the varieties selected be of native origin,
as there exists no want of hybrids between European varieties alone; a
large proportion of those now in cultivation having been doubtless
produced by natural admixture of the pollen, in the vineyards where
they originated. For the purpose of hybridizing, the varieties of Vitis
aestivalis should be selected in preference to those of Vitis labrusca,
on account of the much higher vinous properties of the former; and
there cannot exist a doubt but that we may readily produce well
acclimated hybrids between the native and foreign varieties, without
the trouble of continuing the course of reproduction for many
generations, although such reproduction from species so dissimilar may
continue to present additional modifications of character." A Treatise
on the Vine: 253-254. 1830.
Wine is the fermented juice of the grape. When the juice or must of the grape is exposed to temperatures ranging from 550 to 650F. the micro-organisms which accompany the fruit, the yeast of the wine-maker, are transformed from a comparatively dormant state to one of great activity. The action of the organisms on grape must is called fermentation and through it certain physical and chemical changes take place whereby the must is changed in taste and in color, and a part or all of its sugar is changed into alcohol. The methods of making wine differ in different countries and in different localities depending upon the climate, kind of grapes grown, condition of growth, and the kind of wine produced, yet the principles and chief processes are much the same and may be briefly described as follows:
In general grapes are not picked for wine-making until they have reached full maturity thus insuring a higher sugar content, richness of flavor and perfect color. It is customary to determine the composition of the must as to sugar and acid content by various instruments devised for the purpose and if it lack sugar this ingredient is added; if it be too acid water is added; or the composition may be otherwise changed depending upon a number of circumstances though manifestly reputable wine-makers change the natural grape juice as little as possible. Soon after harvesting the grapes are crushed. The ancient method, which still prevails in many parts of Europe, was to tramp the grapes with bare feet or wooden shoes. Tramping is for most part superseded by mechanical crushers which break the skins but do not crush the seeds. For some wines the stems of the grapes are removed; for others it is essential that the grapes be not stemmed. Stemming may be done by hand, by a rake over a screen, or by specially devised machines. If white wine is to be made the juice is separated from skins and pulp at once; if red wine is desired fermentation takes place in the crushed grapes or marc.
Fermentation is carried on in large tanks or vats varying in capacity from 1000 gallons to 10,000 gallons or more. Some wine-makers prefer open vats, others keep them closed. The duration of fermentation depends upon many conditions and varies from two.or three to fifteen or twenty days, depending upon the amount of sugar in the must, the temperature, activity of ferments, etc., etc. Wine-makers observe several distinct stages of fermentation which must be closely watched and controlled. A most important influence is exerted on fermentation by temperature. The limits below which and above which fermentation does not take place are 550 and c]ooF. In general it is desirable that fermentation take place at temperatures ranging about 700. When it is found that the sugar is practically all converted into alcohol, or that such conversion has proceeded far enough, the new wine is drawn or pumped from the fermenting vats into casks or barrels where it ages though it may require special treatment for clearing. Before bottling it is usually necessary to rack the wine into new barrels twice or three times to stop secondary fermentations which invariably take place.
Special treatments result in several distinct classes of wine. Thus we can divide wine into red and white as to color. Red wines are produced from colored grapes the color being extracted in the process of fermentation. White wines are made from light. colored grapes or if from colored fruit the must is not allowed to ferment on the marc and so extract the color. We may again divide wines into dry and sweet. Dry wines are those in which the sugar is practically all converted into alcohol. Sweet wines are those which retain more or less sugar. These are often fortified by the addition of alcohol. A third division is that of still and sparkling wines. Still wines are those in which the carbonic acid gas formed by fermentation has wholly escaped. Sparkling wines retain 3 greater or less amount of this carbonic acid gas.
All of the above classes are further divided into well marked types according to their color and taste, their alcoholic content, and the countries in which they are produced. The following are the leading wines made from native grapes: Catawba, Delaware, Concord, Norton's Virginia, Ives, Scuppernong, Iona, Claret, Port and Champagne. Of these Claret, Norton's Virginia and Ives are red dry wines. Catawba, Delaware, Iona and Scuppernong may be either dry or sweet white wines. Port is a red sweet wine.Champagne obtains its name from the fact that it is chiefly produced in the Province of Champagne in France. Its special characteristic is that during fermentation, which is usually brought about in the bottle, the carbonic acid gas generated is absorbed by the wine. When the bottle is opened the gas is disengaged and the wine effervesces or "sparkles". Good champagne requires grapes of high quality and of special adaptability; the fruit must be well ripened, free from decayed berries, and clean. The first fermentation takes place during a period of several months in the regular receptacles for this purpose after which the wine from several varieties of grapes is blended. Good champagne usually contains some old wine. After bottling, the wine is held at slightly different temperatures for varying lengths of time to secure proper fermentation in the bottle until at the end of several months it is held at a comparatively low temperature in which the bottles remain from three to four years. The bottles must then receive some treatment which will remove the sediment which has been formed by fermentation. This is usually done by placing them in racks cork down at about an angle of 45 degrees or a little more. By dexterously shaking and jarring the bottles the sediment is loosened and deposited in the neck of the bottle. Lastly the sediment is disgorged by skillfully withdrawing the cork, a small portion of the wine being wasted in the operation. The bottles are then filled with a dosage of rock-candy dissolved in an old dry wine, the amount used determining the sweetness of the champagne. The bottles are then corked, wired, capped, labelled and cased, after which the champagne is ready for the market.
THE VITICULTURE OF NEW YORK
The history of the viticulture of eastern United States shows that the regions in which grapes have been most largely grown in the past have come into prominence, had their day, and then suffered a decline. The reasons for the more or less temporary character of grape regions are becoming more and more apparent as our knowledge of grape-growing increases. The grape, more than most other domesticated plants, is profoundly influenced by climate, soil, cultural treatment, and insect and fungus pests. In any region in which the grape succeeds at all well, conditions are more favorable at the start of the industry than later; this is especially true as regards soils, and the insect and fungus pests. In a discussion of any phase of grape culture, in a broad sense, the conditions under which the fruit is grown must receive careful consideration. We therefore include in this chapter a discussion of the characters which most strongly influence grapes in vine, fruit and general adaptability; also a brief discussion of the regions in which native grapes have been successfully grown in America; and, more particularly, an account of the viticulture and the grape regions of New York.
In their wild state the various species of native grapes seem adapted to a great diversity of soils and conditions. But under successful cultivation varieties of the several species are confined to somewhat restricted regions and even localities. Often a grape variety will succeed on one shore of a lake or river and not on the other; on one slope of a hill but not another. It is difficult to point out the determinants of successful grape culture. Adaptability can be known positively in many cases only by trial; for neither conditions of soil, nor climate, nor lay of land determines with certainty the adaptability of a given locality. Oftentimes one variety of a species may not be successful while another is completely so. Many varieties reach perfection in one region or locality but not in another though the conditions may seem very similar. So great is the influence of local environment, oftentimes, that a variety grown in one locality might not be recognized as the same grape when produced under other conditions.
The chief natural factors which govern the distribution of varieties of grapes are: Latitude and altitude; temperature of air and soil; water supply; the chemical and physical properties of the soil; air currents; and insects and fungi.
Latitude and altitude very largely determine the annual temperature, the amount and intensity of sunlight, and the length of the growing season all very important factors in growing grapes. Species and varieties of grapes are usually adapted to regions having about the same latitude; northern types do not succeed in the South nor the reverse. Length of season has more to do with the adaptation of grapes than the degree of heat or cold, for some southern sorts are hardy in vine in the North but the seasons in the northern latitude are not sufficiently long for the fruit to mature. On the other hand, northern varieties mature too quickly in the South and pass through maturity to decay with too great rapidity. The metes and bounds of latitude are often set aside in grape-growing by local modifications. Thus it often happens that valleys in regions not generally adapted to viticulture are so protected from cold winds, so open to sunshine, or are so free from fogs or frosts as to furnish ideal conditions for grape-growing.
Probably the chief factor in determining the adaptability of a region to grape culture is temperature. Each of the different species and varieties of grapes requires a certain amount of warmth for its best development and can endure but a certain degree of cold. The temperature of a region is chiefly determined by latitude, altitude and proximity to large bodies of water, though variations in the surface of the country are often important modifying agents of temperature and especially influence spring and fall frosts.
The grape does best in an equable temperature and does not thrive in regions where there is a great daily range. Regions and seasons in which the temperature is comparatively low in the growing months of May, June and July and high, with much sunshine, in the maturing months of August, September and October, produce the best grapes in the latitude of New York. An average of from 550 to 650 for the first named period and of from 650 to 750 for the second are ideal temperature conditions for the grape.
This fruit is very sensitive to moisture conditions. Not only must the total rainfall for the year be taken into consideration but its distribution throughout the seasons must be considered. The grape does best with comparatively little rainfall. When the rainfall is the least possible amount for a good growth of vine the grape crop will be the largest, of best quality and most free from fungi. Wet seasons, and especially wetness during the months of maturing, are disastrous to both quantity and quality of grapes. Thus, in New York it is not possible, with most varieties, to produce good grapes if the average is above six inches each for the three growing months and five inches each for the maturing months. It is far better for the crop that it be as low as four inches for the first named period and two inches for the second period.
Superfluous moisture in the soil favors too great a growth of vine, checks and weakens the root system, prevents proper setting of fruit, and favors fungi, but hinders the multiplication of phylloxera. In particular, a comparatively dry soil is desirable for grapes because of its influence on the development of the root system. In dry soils large root systems are developed in the search for the water that the plant must have. When intense droughts occur plants that have stood in damp soils have not sufficient roots to supply the necessary water to the aerial parts and the vines suffer in consequence. Some species and varieties are better fitted for withstanding an excess of moisture than others.
The soil exercises a great influence in determining the suitability of a region for viticulture. Several factors act as soil determinants: (i) Fertility; (2) physical characters; (3) soil heat. It is necessary to study each species, and even their varieties, to discover their powers of adaptation to different soils and it is possible to indicate here the good and bad qualities of soils only in the most general way. In the discussion of species and varieties the soil preferences of the different botanical and horticultural groups will be stated more fully.
Great fertility, as a natural characteristic, is not necessary in grape regions. Fertilizers, and especially the use of stable manures and cover crops, can be made to supply very largely a lack of fertility. Soils naturally too rich produce an overdevelopment of vine. Some species, as Vitis rupestris, grow naturally in very poor soils, the habitat of the latter being dry ravines and stony places having comparatively little organic
THE GRAPES OF NEW YORK. 71
matter. The varieties of Vitis rupestris promise well for stocks upon which to grow other varieties in certain soils. In Europe calcareous or limy soils are not considered well adapted to grape-growing, but in America we often find very good vineyards on such soils.
The physical character of a soil has more to do with the welfare of the grape than fertility. Sand and clay are the two distinct types of soils usually found in general agricultural regions. As one or the other predominates soils take their character. So far as growth alone is concerned these two types of soil do not influence the vines much differently, but the fruit in quantity and quality is greatly influenced by them. According as to whether sand or clay is in excess a soil is loose or compact, retains or gives up water, and is warm or cool. A compact soil is made so by an excess of clay or of very fine sand. Grapes require a light friable soil and compactness is often a serious defect. Usually species and varieties with large, thick roots are better adapted to compact soils than those with small root systems, probably because the strong roots have greater penetrating power than the weak ones. Lightness and permeability of the soil may be influenced by subsoiling and through the use of stable manure and cover crops, but a hard soil is generally so ill adapted to grape-growing that this fruit should not be planted on it.
The heat-retaining properties of a soil must always be taken into account in growing grapes. The great preference which many varieties of grapes show for sands, loams, shales and gravels, depends largely upon the greater amount of heat found in such soils. In northern regions it is especially needful that the soil furnish an abundance of bottom heat for the grape. The removal of an excess of moisture is helpful in regulating soil heat; and, other things being equal, a well-drained soil is warmest.
Grapes grow more or less well in any soil adapted to fruit-growing. It is not true, even, that the grape is more particular as to soils than other fruits. But the necessity of having great quantity and high quality of fruit in profitable viticulture makes it very necessary to take their preferences as to soil into strict account.
Air currents are of minor importance compared with the other factors discussed yet are worthy of attention. They are chiefly of importance in grape-growing in the suppression of fungi. It has long been noticed that in regions where there are strong currents of air the dreaded black-rot and the mildew are not nearly so harmful. Winds may be beneficial, too, when they bring warm air, when moisture laden, when they keep frosty air in motion, and possibly they have an effect on some small insects as the leaf-hopper. On the contrary they may be detrimental when too dry, strong or cold. Natural or artificial windbreaks may greatly modify the effects of wind currents though their value is usually overestimated as their benefits arc often offset by the undesirable conditions caused.
Lastly, the prevalence or lack of insects and fungi in a region may decide its value for viticulture. In several instances flourishing viticultural industries have been destroyed in this country by insects or fungi, or both. In other regions the present supremacy of commercial grape-growing is almost wholly due to the fact that neither insects nor fungi are seriously troublesome. The advent of spraying and a better knowledge of the life histories of insects and fungi are lessening the importance of the parasite factor in determining the value of a region for grape-growing, but it is still of high importance.
We are now prepared to take up a discussion of the grape regions of New York.
The states in which the growing of American grapes takes the rank of an industry are, according to the census of 1900, in order of production: New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Georgia and Oklahoma. The value of the product in the leading state was $2,763,711; in the last named state, $128,500. American viticulture, so far as native grapes are concerned, is almost wholly confined to twelve states. But viticultural interests are still further localized. In New York the industry is divided into four great regions, the Chautauqua district, the Central Lakes district, the Hudson district, and the Niagara district. In Pennsylvania and Ohio grape-growing is largely confined to the shores of Lake Erie; in Michigan to a small district about the towns of Lawton and Paw Paw; in Missouri, Hermann is the representative point for grape culture.
THE CHAUTAUQUA DISTRICT.
Of the four grape regions of New York the Chautauqua district is by far the most important though, excepting the Niagara, the most recent in development. The Chautauqua grape belt lies along the southeastern shore of Lake Erie. It averages about three miles in width and is about fifty miles long. Its northeastern boundary is in Erie County but not far from the line dividing Erie and Chautauqua Counties; its western boundary, in New York, is the Pennsylvania line, an arbitrary division, for the district passes into Pennsylvania. This narrow belt passes through the towns of Hanover, Sheridan, Dunkirk, Pomfret, Portland, Westfield and Ripley in Chautauqua County. Not all, but much, of the land is suitable for grape-growing.
The topography, geology, and soils of this grape-belt have
been carefully mapped and studied.(60, 61)
The grape land is, as we have seen, a narrow strip of comparatively low land which borders the shore of Lake Erie. On the southern boundary of this low plain is a high hill or escarpment parallel to the lake and surmounting the grape belt throughout its entire length. This escarpment, the "Hill", ranges from 500 to 700 feet above the plain and from 500 to 1000 feet above the lake. The plain is gently rolling and ascends from the bluff of the lake to the escarpment with a grade of from one to two hundred feet to the mile, forming in some places well-marked foot-hills to the escarpment proper.
The bed rock, according to Tarr (60) is upper Devonian shales and sand stones in both plain and escarpment. On the face of the escarpment and on the table lands of some of the foot-hills the soil is so thin that the plough frequently touches bed rock. This seldom comes to the surface on the plain except in stream beds and in shale ridges, but is to be found in fragments of greater or less size and in more or less abundance throughout the soils of the entire district. Everywhere on the plain may be seen ancient beach lines. These rise usually in two well-defined terraces but not infrequently there are from two to five distinct terraces between the lake and the escarpment. All conditions point to the theory that these ridges are wave built and therefore of lake origin. The plain, the gravel ridges, the foot-hills and the high escarpment are the chief topographical features of the grape belt.
The grape soils of the district, as mapped by the Bureau of Soils of the United States Department of Agriculture (61), are Dunkirk clay, Dunkirk gravel, Dunkirk gravelly loam, Dunkirk sandy loam and Dunkirk shale loam. The grapes grown upon the several soils vary somewhat as to quantity per acre, as to flavor and sugar content and as to shipping quality.
The largest areas of Dunkirk clay are found running back from the lake east and west from Barcelona, in the neighborhood of Van Buren Point and about Dunkirk. In these regions the soil is a clay loam from several inches to a foot deep resting upon a stiffer and more tenacious clay. Vineyards located on this soil are very productive but the quality is not as high as in the fruit grown on the shale loam, though for most part superior to that produced on the gravel and sandy loams.
Dunkirk gravel soils are found on the ridges at the foot of the escarpment on the southern boundary of the district from Pennsylvania to the eastern boundary of the grape district. Throughout most of this distance there are from one to three parallel ridges varying from a few rods to a half mile in breadth; at many places the ridges run into each other or have been brought together by cultivation. It was upon this gravel that vines were first successfully grown. Grapes upon this soil ripen a week or more earlier than upon other soils and these lands are therefore largely planted with vineyards to supply the early market and they have a larger proportion of early varieties than vineyards on other soils. The Niagara is thought to do especially well on Dunkirk gravel.
Dunkirk gravelly loam is found running through practically the whole grape belt at the base or on the top of the gravel ridges; if at the base, to lakeward of the ridges. It is a sandy loam with much fine gravel and is underlaid at a depth of three feet with sand and shale fragments. On the surface it much resembles the gravel soils having had considerable top gravel brought there by washing and by cultivation. The grapes grown on these soils are very similar to those produced on the gravelsthough there are some minor differences. Some varieties produce larger berries on this soil, and some sorts, it is claimed, a greater amount of wood.
The Dunkirk sandy loams occur in large irregular areas bordering the lake or running from the lake bluff back to the escarpment. By far the largest of these areas is found about Fredonia and Dunkirk and running east and west of these towns. A second area is found in the neighborhood of Brocton and Portland and especially to the north and west. There are smaller areas east of Barcelona and northwest of Ripley. Nearly all of the sandy loam soils are found on undulating or rolling land. The soil is a brownish-yellow loam from a half foot to a foot in depth. There are some deviations from the type and yet the true sandy loams can be very easily recognized. The soil is of rather heavy texture making good farming land and producing large crops of grapes of slightly inferior quality.
The Dunkirk shale loams are found upon the hill or escarpment. These form the grape lands farthest removed from the lake. This soil is comparatively thin, not averaging more than a half-foot in depth and is hardly ever found a foot deep. It is brown in color with much coarse fragmentary shale on the surface and underlaid with a considerable body of heavy clay. Part of the shale loam land lies on slopes too steep and rough for cultivation but the hillside table lands of this soil are especially well adapted to grape-growing. The grapes grown here contain much sugar, therefore keep and ship well, have a high flavor, and are especially sought for in wine-making; grapes on these soils mature early, have tough skins, but are only medium-sized berries. The yields are much more variable on this soil than on the others because of the great variation in the depth of soil. On deep soils of this loam the yield is all that could be desired. Because of the lay of the land, and the nature of the soil, there is much washing and cultivation must be done judiciously.
The climate is exceptionally favorable for the grape-grower in the Chautauqua district. It is, if anything, of more importance than the land; for grape soils are not uncommon, but a grape climate as near perfection as that of this region is indeed rare. The influence of the lake in modifying the temperature of the region is the chief climatic factor. This influence need not be dwelt upon here for it is common knowledge that large bodies of water temper cold winter weather, hold back vegetation in spring, equalize night and day temperatures of summer, lengthen the growing season and ward off autumn frosts. Each of these influences is highly favorable to the growth of the grape. The escarpment on the southeastern boundary of the belt has a most decided influence on the climate chiefly because it confines the influence of the lake to a narrow belt. When the escarpment becomes low, as at the two extremities of the belt, grape-growing ceases to be profitable. When the distance between the lake and the escarpment is great, the climatic conditions are not so favorable.
The air currents and rainfall of the region are especially favorable. The in-shore breeze of the day and the off-shore breeze at night keep the air in constant motion, thus preventing frosts in spring and autumn, and probably cause in part the great degree of immunity to black-rot and mildew. Unfortunately, data to determine accurately the rainfall of the district cannot be had but such as have been taken indicate that the rainfall is comparatively light for the maturing months of August, September and October and not heavy for the three preceding growing months. Residents of the grape belt claim that most of the heavy showers pass over the hills or down the lake. The whole region is proverbially free from heavy dews. Rain and dew are favorable to black-rot and other fungi and the lack of them still further accounts for the immunity to these pests in the region.
The history of the rise of grape-growing in Chautauqua County forms an interesting chapter in the economic development of New York. The first vines in the Chautauqua district were planted by Elijah Fay in 1818, near the present town of Brocton. These were wild vines of Vitis labrusca from Deacon Fay's boyhood home in New England. The vines grew luxuriantly but the fruit was not satisfactory and in 1822 this worthy pioneer obtained at great trouble roots of Miller's Burgundy, Sweetwater and Black Hamburg. But the second experiment was even more disastrous than the first as he got no fruit. The real start was made in 1824 when Mr. Fay obtained vines of Catawba and Isabella from Prince of Flushing, Long Island. The vines were trained on trellises. The vineyard covered a plot two by eight rods in extent. From a rise of land near this spot one now sees grapes everywhere, probably a greater acreage of them than can be seen from any other spot east of the Rocky Mountains.
In 1830 Deacon Fay made ten gallons of wine, the first for the region. In 1834, Lincoln Fay, a nephew of Elijah Fay, started the sale of grape vines but not many vines were sold for commercial plantings until as late as 1850. In 1859 there were in the town of Portland but twenty acres of bearing grape vines wThere now are thousands. During the decade that followed, the Concord was generally introduced giving the viticulture of the region a great impetus. Grapes were not yet grown for table use to any great extent and a large acreage could not be used for wine-making. In 1859 a wine-cellar was built by Fay, Ryckman, and Haywood at Brocton and for a long while this company used almost the total crop of the region. It was not until the early seventies that the grape-growers sought other markets than the wine-cellars. In 1870 there were about 600 acres of vineyards in Chautauqua County.
The first table-grapes of the region were packed in twenty-pound splint baskets. Dunkirk was the primary marketing place and the fruit was shipped from here to various large cities by through freight. The transportation facilities were not satisfactory and in 1880 Jonas Martin of Brocton tried the experiment of shipping a carload of grapes to Philadelphia. This was the first carload of grapes sent from Chautauqua County. In 1906, 4690 carloads were shipped and 844 were converted into wine and grape juice, representing all told $2,482,822 (62). Until 1883 the markets were confined to nearby cities but in this year a carload was safely sent to Spokane, after which time markets were found from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from the Gulf to Upper Canada. The first grape-growers' union was formed in 1886 as the Chautauqua Grape Growers' Shipping Association and its organization marked a new epoch in the grape industry of the district.
Smaller and larger organizations have since been formed and at the present time about 80 per ct. of the entire crop is handled by a growers' union known as the Chautauqua and Erie Grape Company.
According to Mr. G. E. Ryckman, in the early days of the grape industry in this region the fruit was shipped in round paper baskets holding from three to five pounds; later these were made of wood. Sometime in the early seventies twenty-pound splint baskets, which were supposed to be returned to the owners, were introduced. These were superseded by the twelve- pound climax basket; the size of this basket was soon reduced to ten pounds, then to nine, then to eight. Meanwhile a small five-pound basket made on the same lines as the larger one came into use but soon shrunk into a four-pound receptacle. The eight and the four-pound climax baskets are now generally used throughout the region. Increasing quantities are now being shipped to large cities in trays with slatted tops holding about forty pounds each; these grapes are used by the purchaser for wine-making. The wine and grape juice industries of the region have been touched upon in the general discussion of these industries.
An actual canvass made by this Station in the winter of 1906-7 shows there are in the Chautauqua grape belt at this time 30,000 acres of grapes. The census report of 1900 gave the number of vines for the county as 11,914,706, which at the usual number of vines per acre gives about 20,000 acres for the district. This figure was probably low, though that of the Station for 1907 may be somewhat high. The acreage is distributed in towns approximately as follows: Portland 9500; Westfield 5700; Ripley 5700; Pomfret 4600; Hanover 1950; Sheridan 1950; Dunkirk 600. A correspondent writes that the grape shipments for 1907 indicate a considerably larger acreage for the towns of Hanover and Sheridan than are here given. The average yield of grapes is a little less than two tons per acre for the region. The value of vineyards varies from $100 to $400 per acre.
The crop for the past seven years calculated by The Grape Belt from figures secured from the railroads are as follows:
"Season of 1900.......................... . 8000 carloads
"Season of 1901........................... 6669 carloads
"Season of 1902.......................... 5062 carloads
"Season of 1903........................... 2952 carloads
"Season of 1904........................... 7479 carloads
"Season of 1905....................v....... 5362 carloads
"Season of 1906........................... 5634 carloads'
The seeming decrease in carloads shipped as the years progress is far more than made up by the greater use of the fruit in local wineries and grape juice factories.
According to figures gathered in the preparation of this work about 90 per ct. of the grape acreage of the region is set to Concord followed by 3 per ct. of Niagara, 2 per ct. of Worden and 1 per ct. each for Moore Early and Catawba with the remaining 3 per ct. made up of a dozen or more sorts among which Delaware leads.
The shipping season in this district begins early in September and lasts well into November though late varieties, as Catawba, and small lots of Concord are held some weeks longer. Improved storage facilities are yearly lengthening the season.
Several systems of pruning and training are in vogue in the district but the majority of the vineyards are pruned and trained in a system peculiar to Chautauqua County. The posts are from six to eight feet in height, one to each three vines; two wires complete the trellis. The lower wire is from 28 to 32 inches from the ground and the second from 22 to 36 inches above the first, the distance being changed as the vine comes to maturity. The grapes are trained according to the upright system and the vines are renewed to short horizontal arms and but few canes are taken out each year; the trunk reaches only to the lower wire. The arms are loosely tied to the lower wire and the canes and bearing shoots to the wire above. Cultivation varies greatly but the best growers practice close cultivation and make use of fertilizers; the cover crop is growing in favor. Spraying is not very general as the region has been remarkably free from pests. The chief insects now encountered are the grape-vine fidia, the flea-beetle, the grape leaf-hopper and the grape berry moth. The several fungal diseases found in this region are, about in order of importance,
THE GRAPES OF NEW YORK. 81
THE CENTRAL LAKES DISTRICT
Several important areas of vineyards are grouped about the central lakes in western New York. While there are at least three distinct localities in this district, namely, the areas about the three lakes, Keuka, Canandaigua, and Seneca, yet the soils, climate, varieties and methods of caring for vineyards and product are so nearly alike that all may be treated as one district. The vineyards are in five counties, Ontario, Yates, Schuyler, Steuben and Seneca. The Keuka area, in Yates and Steuben Counties, is by far the largest; and the region is often called the Keuka grape district. Vineyards surround Keuka Lake and all but the northern end of Canandaigua Lake, but only on the banks of the southern half of Seneca Lake are grapes grown. The somewhat extensive vineyards about Naples, south of Canandaigua Lake; Bath, south of Keuka Lake; and of Romulus between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes, belong in the Central Lakes district.
The geology of the Central or Finger Lakes has been studied by many workers and the geological history of these remarkable bodies of water is now well known (63). It is very generally agreed that these lakes fill, in part, preglacial valleys and that the valleys were transformed into lakes by glacial action. The basins of the lakes may have been and probably were deepened by the erosive action of glaciers but it is fairly certain that there were pre-existing valleys which were dammed by glacial deposit.
The topography is more or less rough and broken. The steep hillsides of the lakes were formed not only by erosion but by the tilting of the land. Beside these hillsides of the lakes to give character to the topography of the region, there are ranges of hills and the remains of some moraines, so that m general the land is very uneven. This is especially true of the parts of it devoted to grape-growing though in some grape sections there are many stretches of smooth and regular vineyards.
The soils of this great region vary much, as is always the case when land is made by glacial erosion and deposit of glacial drifts. On a single farm the soil may be thick and fertile in one part and thin and poor in another; it may consist largely of clay in one part and of sand and gravel in others. The grape soils in the Central Lakes region are, in particular, of miscellaneous types, embracing, in one place or another, nearly all of the soils in the Dunkirk series described in the discussion of the Chautauqua district. Probably the Dunkirk clay loam, often very shaly and stony, is the most common of the several soils of the region. There are also considerable areas of a shaly soil which possibly do not belong to the Dunkirk types, not having been influenced by water action as are true Dunkirk soils. On the slopes and hillsides the land is sometimes rough and stony with but a thin covering of soil and with out-croppings of bed rock. The influence of the various soils on the grape has not been studied as in the Chautauqua district but, as noted, the soils in the two districts are in many cases similar so that the discussion of the influence of the several types given for the Chautauqua district will apply in large part to the Central Lakes district.
The Central Lakes have a very perceptible influence on the climate of the region. The lakes are deep and conserve warmth. The water of Seneca Lake is so deep, and consequently warm, that it has been known to freeze over only a few times in the past hundred years. The winter climate in this region is much less severe than in adjacent territories. Not only does the water modify the severity of the winter climate but the enclosing highlands materially assist in keeping in the warmth of the valleys. Since the lakes run, generally speaking, north and south, the winds are deflected to these directions very largely. In the summer, both days and nights are cooler and the climate more equable near the lakes. These modifications of climate are all favorable to grape-growing.
The first grapes grown in this district, so far as records show, were set by the Rev. William Bostwick at Hammondsport in 1830. The varieties were Isabella and Catawba and these he succeeded in raising to perfection. From this time onward scattering vines were planted in gardens about the three lakes. About 1836 Mr. J. W. Prentiss, originator of the Prentiss grape, planted a small vineyard at Pulteney from which considerable fruit was sent to market from time to time and the vineyard was constantly enlarged. In 1853 a commercial vineyard was set out by Andrew Reisinger, a German vine-dresser, consisting of two acres of Isabella and Catawba at Harmonyville in the town of Pulteney. Reisinger trained, pruned and tilled his vines, operations unheard of before in the district, and was rewarded with crops and profits which stimulated grape culture in his and nearby neighborhoods.
In 1855 the Hon. Jacob Larrowe and Mr. Orlando Shephard planted small vineyards of Isabella and Catawba in Pleasant Valley near Hammondsport and were so successful that in 1858 their vineyards were greatly increased and others in the valley embarked in the business of vine-culture. Viticulture was now fairly started and the industry grew apace from 1858 onward. In 1860 two hundred acres of grapes were set in Pleasant Valley alone and elsewhere on Keuka Lake large plantings were made. Grapes brought from fifteen to thirty cents per pound and a bearing vineyard at this time was as good as a gold mine.
Plantings were begun in the Yates County portion of the Keuka district in 1855 when Mr. W. W. Shirland set a small vineyard of Isabella in Benton township.
There seem to be no records as to the first plantings about Seneca and Canandaigua Lakes but all available information indicates that plantings about these two lakes came in the spreading of the industry from Keuka Lake. E. A. McKay of Naples seems to have had a vineyard of some extent as early as 1848 from which he sold fruit. There must have been vineyards of considerable size about Avon in Livingston County in the early fifties; for Larrowe, Shephard and others obtained cuttings at this place in 1855 for their vineyards in Pleasant Valley. Who owned these Avon vineyards, and what their extent was, does not appear.
The first commercial shipment of any considerable amount beyond the towns nearby was made in 1854 when Mr. J. W. Prentiss shipped a ton of Isabella packed in tubs to New York City. The tubs were made by cutting apple barrels in half and were packed half full when a thin board partition was put in after which the tub was filled and covered. The consignment reached the city in fair condition and brought fifteen cents per pound but a second ton shipped in the same way "broke" the market.
John Mead of the town of Benton introduced the Concord in this region in 1861 and the same year Henry Rose of Penn Yan set the first Delaware to be planted commercially in the district. The Concord soon took the place of the Isabella but could not displace the Catawba as it did in the Chautauqua district. The Delaware grew in favor and rapidly assumed third place in the list of varieties about the three lakes, a position which it still maintains, though it is closely followed by the Niagara.
By 1860 grape-growing had become so general that the need of further outlets for the fruit was felt and the Pleasant Valley Wine Company was formed for the manufacture of wine and brandy. For several years following, this company used about one-third of the output of Pleasant Valley, helping very materially to steady the market for the whole district. A few years later another large company, the Urbana Wine Company, was formed; and when still later it was discovered that the champagne made about Keuka Lake was superior to that made in any other part of America and that, with experience in making, it rivalled the champagne in France, wine-making became an important adjunct to grape-growing in this district. Now there are about twenty- five companies making wine and champagne on or near the shores of the three lakes, the industry having its center on Keuka Lake. Wine-making is still in its infancy and because of the demand it creates for grapes, and the high prices paid by the wineries, will continue to exert a most favorable influence on the viticulture of the district. There is but little unfermented grape juice made about the Central Lakes.
A valuable asset of this district is its long range of season. Grapes ripen from one to two weeks earlier about these lakes than they do in the Chautauqua belt. Thus the Concords grown here are well out of the way of those grown in the Chautauqua district. The Catawba, which ripens late and is a " good keeper ", can be kept in fine condition until midwinter or later. The range of season in this district, then, is from the first part of September until February or even March.
Though there have been grape-growers' unions for marketing the fruit of this district at various times, most of it now goes through the hands of individual buyers. An exception is the product of the large vineyards of Niagaras in Seneca County, the fruit of which is marketed with that of the product of other Niagara vineyards of the Niagara district of western New York through a union of growers.
The grapes in this district are variously trained but the high renewal system is used chiefly. In this system the head of the trunk is from twenty to thirty inches from the ground. Usually the trellis has three wires, the lowest about twenty inches from the ground and the others at distances of eighteen inches apart. New canes are brought out from renewal stubs and once in two or three years an attempt is made to bring them directly from the head of the main trunk. This system is particularly well adapted to the Catawba and Delaware so generally grown in the lake region. Thorough cultivation is practiced and the fall cover crop of oats, barley or clover is coming into favor.
It is difficult to ascertain the acreage in this district. Taking the figures of the census of 1900 and those of a canvass made by this Station in the winter of 1906-7 the acreage in the several counties is about as follows: Yates, 7940; Steuben, 5570; Ontario, 2630; Schuyler, 1014; Seneca, 1540; total 18,694. These figures are slightly larger than the estimates of grape-growers and buyers but chiefly so because they take in scattered plantations throughout the several counties. Thus in all. of these counties there are a surprisingly large number of Niagara vineyards in out-of-the-way places, set during the Niagara boom of the eighties. To this Central Lakes district might also be added 500 acres of commercial vineyards in Livingston County; 250 in Cayuga and 250 in Tompkins Counties. The total valuation of the crop in this district in 1900 was $943,964.
Insects are not as troublesome in the Central Lakes district as in the Chautauqua district. The grape-vine fidia, or root-worm, one of the worst of the insect pests of the grape, is not yet destructive in this region. The grape leaf-hopper and the grape-vine flea-beetle are possibly the worst of the insects infesting the grapes about these lakes.
But fungi are more troublesome than in the Chautauqua district; probably because the climatic conditions are more favorable to the development of these pests about these smaller lakes than near Lake Erie. The five most troublesome diseases, named about in order of importance are black-rot, downy mildew, or "brown-rot" [not to be confused with the disease of stone fruits by the same name- ASC], powdery mildew, anthracnose, or "bird's-eye rot" and chlorosis, or " yellow-leaf ". Vineyards are very generally sprayed in this district and usually with satisfactory results. Grape-growers have learned that certain varieties are much more susceptible to some of the diseases than others and plant accordingly.
HUDSON RIVER DISTRICT.
The region along the Hudson River forms the third largest grape district in New York. According to the census of 1890 there were 13,000 acres of grapes in this district but in 1900 the returns gave less than half that acreage. The great falling off was due to the taking out of a considerable number of old vineyards which had been planted with too many varieties, or with worthless varieties, or in some other respect were poorly set plantations. It is doubtful whether the acreage in 1907 is greater than in 1900 but the industry is in a more healthful and prosperous condition now than then.
An estimate of the present acreage, and its distribution, made in the preparation of this work, gives the standing of the district as follows by counties: Columbia, 865 acres; Dutchess, 448 acres; Orange, 865 acres; Ulster, 4021 acres; total, 6199 acres. Beside the above there are, of course, some scattering vineyards. There are only two or three wine-cellars in the district and probably 95 per ct. of the product of the vineyards is sold for table grapes or to those who make wine in small quantities.
The grape lands of the Hudson River Valley are found very largely in the geological division known as the Taconic Province (63). This province is a broad valley which extends from Pennsylvania across New Jersey, taking in Orange and parts of Ulster and Dutchess and Columbia Counties, then passing out of the State. The rocks in this geological division are shales, slates, schists, and limestones; and the soil is derived from these rocks. The grape lands, for most part, are those in which there is much shale or slate and in more or less coarse fragments, the finer particles being clay or gravelly loams. The district is more or less hilly, some of the vineyards being in valleys of a few acres extent, others in broad, gently undulating plains and still others on comparatively steep hillsides.
The climate of the Hudson Valley changes rapidly as one goes up the River because of the diversity of its physical features and the wide variety of atmospheric influences to which it is subject. In the part of the Valley in which grapes are grown the summer temperature is high owing to the position between ranges of mountains and to the southerly winds which prevail at this season. In the winter the winds are northerly and the temperature is often low making the culture of tender grapes hazardous. The influence of the river, really a broad estuary in the grape regions, at all seasons is most favorable for fruit-growing.
The lowlands of the Hudson Valley receive a somewhat small amount of rainfall as compared with the rest of New York because when moisture is being carried inland from the Atlantic it is largely precipitated by the mountains and highlands of New England. This is favorable to grape-growing. Another desirable feature of the rainfall of this Valley is that the maximum summer downfall is in July whereas in many parts of the State it is in September or October. This relatively light rainfall in the maturing months is more marked in this than in any other of the grape districts of the State.
The recorded history of commercial viticulture dates back to 1827 when Mr. Robert Underhill and his two sons, R. T. and W. A. Underhill, planted a vineyard of Catawba and Isabella at Croton Point which eventually covered seventy-five acres. For some years this vineyard practically supplied the large markets of the region with grapes. In 1829, Rufus Barrett of New Paltz, began shipping Isabella grapes in small quantities to the New York market. Barrett lived in a settlement of French Huguenots, who after having experimented more or less with European sorts, early in the nineteenth century began planting native varieties. It is probable that Barrett obtained his inspiration for planting and knowledge of vine-growing from these Frenchmen.
In 1837 a French
vintner, John Jacques, set out a vineyard for wine-making at
Washingtonville, Orange County. The varieties set were Catawba and
Isabella, purchased from Prince of Long Island. Some of these vines are
still living, vigorous and thrifty at three score years and ten. The
original plantation consisted of but a half acre but in 1838 this was
increased to ten acres. This is probably the oldest vineyard of native grapes in New York. The third year from the planting of this
wine was made, and has been made at Washingtonville ever since, so that
this community may claim the oldest winery as well as the oldest
vineyard in the State. (64)
William T. Cornell planted a vineyard of Isabellas near Clintonville, Ulster County, in the year 1845. Mrs. Cornell and Mrs. William A. Underhill were sisters, so that Cornell's vines came from Croton Point. A. J. Caywood, of Marlboro, was a brother-in-law of Mr. Cornell. Thus the inspiration of this noted viticulturist to plant grapes, and to originate new sorts, may be traced directly back to the Frenchman, Parmentier, who, as we have seen, furnished the Underhills with their vines and gave them instructions for their care. The Catawba and Isabella were grown almost entirely until the introduction of the Delaware and Concord, after which the first named sorts dropped out entirely, being subject to mildew and ripening late in the season.
The Valley of the Hudson has more reason to be called the birthplace of American viticulture than any other of the grape-growing districts of the country. The grape and wine industries, as we have seen, were early started here. Prince's Linnaean Garden at the mouth of the Valley was the first distributing agency for American grapes. Its owners did more than distribute grapes, they distributed knowledge and trained men. A. J. Caywood of Marlboro, J. H. Ricketts of Newburgh, Stephen Underhill at Croton Point, Dr. A. K. Underhill at Charlton, Dr. C. W. Grant at Iona, W. D. Barns of Middlehope, Dr. William M. Culburt of Newburgh, were notable early originators and experimenters with grapes and from their vineyards have come some of the best of our native varieties. Kniffin, the Downings, and Buel are other familiar names in viticulture and horticulture of those who lived on the Hudson and who have helped to invest the region with sentiment and with interest for the grape grower.
The number of varieties grown in this region is far greater than in other parts of the State; as would be expected from its having been tile birthplace of so many and from its nearness to large markets where fancy sorts can be disposed of to advantage. The Concord leads in acreage followed in order of acreage by Delaware, Niagara, Worden, Moore Early. Bacchus, Pocklington, Campbell Early, Hartford and Vergennes after which come a great number of less well-known sorts grown in acre or less quantities. The value of the crop in this district in 1900 was $298,350.
During the early years of grape-growing along the Hudson the methods of training were essentially those used in Europe. The vines were kept well headed back and were trained to stakes of varying heights. It did not take long to discover that for our native grapes the vines must be so trained as to give the fruit and foliage the greatest possible amount of sunshine; to regulate the bearing wood; to permit them to bear just so much and no more fruit; and to control the height of the main trunk. Soon distinctive systems for native grapes arose and one of the earliest of these originated with William Kniffin of Ulster County. This system still bears his name and is most generally used either as it was first practiced or in some of its modifications. In the Kniffin system, and its' modifications, the trunk is carried to the top wire and the bearing shoots are allowed to droop; for this reason this method of training is often called the drooping system in contra-distinction to the upright systems hitherto mentioned in which the bearing shoots are tied to wires above the canes from which they grow. The Hudson Valley growers claim that the Kniffin system is especially desirable for the strong growing sorts like Concord, Worden, and Niagara but admit that for the slender shorter growing kinds like Delaware and Catawba the upright system is best.
As is always the case when fruit is grown near to the market in which it is sold, there is little uniformity in the packages in which it is shipped and the manner in which the fruit is packed. Most of the fruit from the vineyards along the Hudson goes to market in climax baskets of the two standard sizes. Some of the growers pack two, or even three varieties, in one package for the purpose of giving a range in color and quality. The shipping facilities along the river are unexcelled. Most of the grapes go by boat down the Hudson to New York City. In this case the fruit is loaded late in the evening and reaches its destination early the next morning. The rail connections to New England cities are good and large shipments go eastward by rail while smaller quantities go inland and south. The fruit is not marketed through unions nor has co-operative] selling been tried, the nearness to market obviating the necessity of co-operation.
The insect pests in this district are neither numerous nor particularly destructive, the grape leaf-hopper and the grape-vine flea-beetle being most common. Spraying for insects is not generally practiced. On the other hand the fungus troubles are serious, the black-rot having been especially destructive in some sections. The other diseases are much the same as in the districts discussed. While all of the fungi of the district are amenable to treatment yet spraying has not been generally practiced nor have the vines been kept as vigorous and healthy through cultivation and fertilization as to withstand the attacks of the several fungi. The decreased acreage of grapes along the Hudson during the past decade or two is due in some measure to the fact that the grape diseases have not been controlled. With better knowledge of the life-habits of the insects and fungi which attack vineyards, and means of combatting [sic] these pests, viticulture should regain the prestige it once held in the Hudson Valley.
THE NIAGARA DISTRICT.
The Niagara district, the smallest of the several grape areas of the State, lies along the Niagara river and the southern shore of Lake Ontario. In it are about 4700 acres distributed in counties as follows: Erie, 2100; Niagara, 1250; Orleans, 375; Monroe, 700; Wayne, 380. In the southern part of Erie County the vineyards are grown under conditions very similar to those we have described in the Chautauqua district; the treatment given is much the same; the grapes are marketed as are those in the district to the south and west; and the Concord, as in the larger district, is the variety most largely grown. But conditions in the northern and eastern part of the county more nearly approach those along Niagara river and the Ontario shore so that the county is included in the Niagara district.
In Niagara, Orleans, Monroe, and Wayne Counties the grape lands are in what is known as the Ontario plain. This plain has for its western boundary in the United States, Niagara River; for its northern boundary Lake Ontario; to the south there is a high escarpment, the Niagara escarpment, or "the mountain", separating the Ontario plain from the Erie plain which is an eastward extension of the low plain on the south shore of Lake Erie. The Niagara escarpment may be seen well at Lewiston from which point it stretches eastward toward Lockport and westward into Ontario. The escarpment may be traced to the eastern end of Lake Ontario where it disappears and the Erie and Ontario plains merge into one. In the grape-growing counties the Ontario plain varies from four to nine miles in width.
The plain is more or less rolling throughout its entire length; but in few places are the hills too steep for fruit-growing. The soils are sandy, gravelly, or clay loams varying greatly in fertility and in adaptability for the grape. In parts of the district the soils are stony and shaly. They belong, so far as they have been studied, to the Dunkirk series and are therefore quite similar to those of the Chautauqua district.
The climate, too, is much like that of the Chautauqua district. The average midwinter temperature is comparatively high; the summer temperature is equable; and the precipitation of rain and dew light as compared with inland areas. The influence of the escarpment is not so marked in the Niagara district as in the Chautauqua belt. A remarkable feature of the climate of this district is that killing frosts rarely occur before the close of October, giving a long maturing and harvesting season for the grape. In the winter the daily range of temperature is small owing not only to the influence of the water but to the fact as well that this season is a period of great cloudiness for the region.
In Erie County much of the product of the southern part is marketed with that of Chautauqua County but to the north, Buffalo makes a splendid local market. Several varieties are grown for the home market but chiefly the Concord and the Niagara. These are packed in the various styles of climax baskets and in slatted crates the latter for the home making of wine. The fruit is carted to the market by the grower, or purchased in the field, in the case of wine-making, by the consumer.
Niagara County is the home of the Niagara grape and this variety is grown here almost exclusively. The product is sold very largely by the grower in the open markets of Buffalo and Niagara Falls and is packed in the several sizes of climax baskets. In the counties to the east of Niagara the product, almost exclusively Niagaras, is sold at Rochester or neighboring towns or shipped to the large eastern cities. Much of this fruit is sold through the Niagara Grape Market Company, a co-operative union, with headquarters at Lockport, New York.
The Niagara region is the newest of the grape districts of the State. There were few plantings along the shore of Ontario until 1886 when the Niagara grape was introduced and vineyards were put out in considerable numbers throughout the whole extent of the district followed by still heavier plantings during the succeeding several years. It was soon demonstrated that the region was well adapted to grape-growing and especially for the Niagara grape but that there were many soils and locations wholly unsuitable for vineyards. Consequently during the years that followed the bearing of the first grapes, many vineyards have been abandoned so that there are now scarcely as many acres as at the close of the first period of expansion about 1900. The insect and fungus pests are much the same as in the Chautauqua district though the dreaded grape-vine fidia is not yet nearly so common, but, on the other hand, the black-rot is far more destructive, probably because the Niagara grape is very susceptible to this fungus.
INDEX TO ILLUSTRATIONS
Portrait of Edward Staniford Rogers............... Frontispiece
America............. ........................................ 168
Aminia.............. ........................................ 170
August Giant................................................ 172
Black Eagle............................................... 184
Black Hamburg (reduced size)............................... 186
Campbell Early............................................. 196
Diana...................................................... . 238
Dracut Amber............................................... 244
Early Ohio.................................................. 248
Early Victor................................................ 250
Empire State................................................ 262
Grein Golden................................................. 282
Herbert.................................................... . 292
Hybrid Franc................................................ 300
Lady Washington............................................. 326
Missouri Riesling............................................ 350
Moore Early................................................. 352
Muscat Hamburg (reduced size)...............................356
Rupestris du Lot............................................114
Vitis aestivalis, SHOOT OF.................................138
Vitis, Canes of Species of..................................... 100
Vitis, Flowers of............................................104
Vitis labrusca, Shoot of.................................... 150
Vitis riparia, Shoot of...................................... 118
Vitis rotundifolia, Shoot of............................... 108
Vitis, Seeds of Species of..................................... 102
Vitis vinifera, Shoot of...................................... 154
Wyoming, Shoot of...........................................152