Grapes have been grown in Northern Europe for millennia but the Romans really spread it to places like Britain. They are extremely hardy plants and only require a small space for growth. They are usually planted along a south facing wall in colder climates, fence or trained over an arch or pergola. They are extremely decorative plants as well being productive, specially with the appearance of cold hardy varieties. Indeed, it’s possible to plant the vines in most areas where the fruit is used for wine making or eating fresh.
Vines are planted about 1.2 to 1.5 metres (4-5 ft.) apart. Use a Gripple system to support vines if that is the method to be used.
Cultivars For The UK
Black Hamburgh – a fine dessert variety which can be seen in all its glory as the Great Vine at Hampton Court Palace. This one is the oldest vine in existence in the UK certainly. The large berries are dark red to purple. Very juicy and sweet. Can be grown in an unheated greenhouse but likes heat in cold climates. All fruit ripens in September onwards.
Phoenix – a modern white dessert and wine grape. produces a large yellow berries with a fine muscat flavour. Shows excellent mildew resistance which is always an issue during we summer seasons. An excellent choice for organic growers. ideal too for outdoor growing. Fruit ripens in early October.
Vanessa – a red seedless variety bred in Canada. Given the country it is one of the hardiest we can find. The fruit quality is comparable to the older variety called Flame. Grapes are firm, medium in size with a mild, fruity flavour. Will ripen in a cold greenhouse. All fruit ripens in October.