« AnteriorContinuar »
of France by the names of lambrusca, and lambresquiero. The wine-bearing grape is successfully cultivated in France as far north as latitude forty-nine degrees; but in Britain it seldom arrives at maturity unless protected, when grown in the open air. The most northern limit in Prussia where it can ripen, is at Königsberg, in latitude fifty-four degrees and forty-two minutes; and even at Berlin, more than two degrees farther south, the fruit is very poor. It is also successfully cultivated in Hindoostan, along the borders of the Euphrates, in Syria, Lower Egypt, Abyssinia, Barbary, the Azores, Madeiras, Canaries, and Sandwich Islands. In South America, it is cultivated at Buenos Ayres, and various parts of Brazil, Guayaquil, Pisco, northern Chili, Valparaiso, and Valdivia, in latitude forty degrees south. In North America, it perfects its fruit, in the open air, in Jamaica, Cuba, Mexico, the United States, as far north as New York, in latitude forty degrees and forty-two minutes, and at San Francisco, on the north-west coast, in latitude thirty-eight degrees north. In comparing the climates of the above-named places, it will be seen that the successful culture of the grape does not so much depend upon mean annual temperature, as upon the parallels of latitude under which they lie. For instance, the fruit will not arrive at maturity in the latitude of Edinburgh or Copenhagen, where the mean annual temperature is somewhat higher than at New York, although the latter place is situated more than fifteen degrees farther south. This is owing almost entirely to the increased length of summer, in low latitudes, which arises from the fact that, although the heats of June and July may be as great in higher latitudes, they are several degrees lower in August and September, than in places situated nearer the equator. Nor does elevation above the level of the ocean retard the maturation of the grape like an increased degree of latitude, for the summers are equally long at high altitudes, as in low places situated under the same parallels. In central Germany, the vine is cultivated at an elevation of one thousand to fifteen hundred feet above the sea; on the south side of the Alps, at two thousand feet; on the Apennines and Sicily, five thousand feet; and on the Himalayas, at an elevation of ten thousand feet.
The history of the vine, as a fruit-bearing shrub, and all that relates to its varieties, have been described at length, by Du Hamel, of France, Dr. Sickler, of Germany, and Don Roxas de Clemente y Rubio, librarian to the royal botanic garden at Madrid, in Spain.
Of the North American species and varieties, more than one hundred have already been described, and from the proneness of this genus to change from original differences, through the effects of soil, climate, and hybridation, many more will doubtless be found to exist. As varieties without end gated from seeds, it has been recommended to sow those of some of our native grapes of several successive generations, in order to produce fruit of a better and a milder quality. A seedling vine of the wine-bearing species of Europe, carefully treated, will show blossoms in its fourth or fifth year; and if it would produce perfect fruit the next year after flowering, a new generation might be obtained every sixth year.
Derirations. The specific name labrusca, according to Loudon, is derived from the Hebrew, busca, a grape, and was applicd to this species by Linnæus, from a supposed resemblance which it bore to the wild vine of Europe; hence the Italian names. The French and German appellations have reference to the down on the under side of the leaves. It is called For Grape, (or rather Northern For Grape, in contradistinction to the Fox Grape of the southern states, or the Vitis vulpina of Linnæus,) because the whole plant has sometimes a disagreeable, foxy smell. The Indian name is derived from shomin, a grape, and Qulig, a tree.
Engravings. Plumier, Description des Plantes de l'Amerique, t. 259, figure 1; Hoffy, Orchardist's Companion, ii., pl. –
"The vine too, her curling tendrils shoots,
HE Vitis labrusca is a tendriled climber,
the wine-bearing vine of Europe. The od stem is very long, sometimes running to the top of the highest trees, and the branches are clothed with a brownish pubescence. The leaves are much larger than those of the European species, being usually from four to six inches in diameter, distinctly three-lobed in some varieties, short, mucronate, and densely covered on their under sides with a whitish, or rusty down, particularly of the latter colour on the veins. The flowers, which appear in June, are of a yel
lowish-green, and are borne on somewhat compound racemes, with short, umbelliferous branches. The berries, which usually arrive at maturity in October, are half an inch or more in diameter, globose or oblong, and are generally of a dark purple, when ripe, and of a pleasant flavour, particularly when cultivated; but in some varieties, they are of an amber-colour, or greenish-white, of a strong, musky taste in a wild state, and are filled with a tough pulp. A peculiarity exists with regard to several varieties of this species, of producing a second crop of fruit on the shoots of the same year; but it seldom arrives at maturity except in a warm season, with late autumnal frosts.
Varieties. Several attempts have been made to classify the varieties of this species, but not with much success. In most cases, the form and colour of the fruit alone have been considered, and in others, the shape and clothing of the leaves; but as it will be impossible for. us to enter into all of these considerations, we shall only treat of a few of those that have successfully been brought under cultivation, which are as follows:
1. V. L. ISABELLA, Prince. Isabella Grape-vine. This variety is distinguished by its large, dark-purple fruit, of an oval form, and of a juicy, musky flavour. It possesses great vigour of growth, is a healthy and abundant bearer of fruit, and what renders it exceedingly valuable in our climate is, that it requires but little protection during winter. Concerning its origin and history, we are indebted to General Joseph Swift, of Geneva, in New York, for the following account, which we trust will be no less acceptable in coming from so respectable a source, than in the interest elicited in so valuable a production. It appears that General Smith, of Smithville, North Carolina, in 1808, procured from Dorchester, South Carolina, several roots and cuttings of a hybrid vine, which, it is said, had been originated there by some families of Huguenots, between the Burgundy grape of Europe, and the native fox grape of that vicinity. In the year 1817, a vine produced from these cuttings, was transplanted from Smithville, by Mrs. Isabella Gibbs, in honour of whom this variety was named, to the garden then owned by her husband, Colonel George Gibbs, which was situated along the southerly side of Cranberry, between Willow and Columbia streets, in Brooklyn, New York. In 1819, the garden was purchased by General Swift, who very generously distributed roots and cuttings of this vine among his neighbours and others, more especially to the late William Prince, of Flushing, Long Island, through whose efforts it became widely disseminated throughout the union, and was sent to several countries in Europe, Madeira, &c. The garden has since been divided into lots, and occupied by buildings, and the original Isabella vine, after attaining a circumference of more than a foot, was severed to the ground in 1838. Fortunately, however, several vigorous vines have since sprung up from the roots, which continue to bear fruit in abundance. From other statements, it would seem that this variety is not a hybrid, but was known in this country prior to 1800.
2. V. L. BACOIS ALBIS, Loudon. Bland's Pale-red Grape, Bland's Fox Grope, Bland's Virginia Grape, Red Scuppernong Grape, Carolina Grape, Mazzei Grape. This variety may be known by its pale-green leaves, lengthened clusters, with large berries, of a roundish or oblate form, pale-red colour, and sweet, juicy pulp, of a pleasant flavour; in some cases, however, at full maturity, the fruit is said to acquire a dark-purple or red-wine colour. It is more esteemed by some, as a table fruit, than that of the Isabella, having a thinner skin, and containing a pulp of less consistency. It was deemed for some time, as unsuitable for our northern climate; but it has been found to succeed in maturing its fruit in most seasons, in the neighborhood of New York, and may successfully be cultivated as a wall fruit in a much higher latitude, both in Europe and America. It has been contended that this variety was brought from Italy by Mazzei; but it is well known that it was cultivated by Colonel Bland, of Virginia, long before that gentleman visited this country. The original vine is said to have been found on the eastern shore of Maryland, by Mr. Bland, who presented cuttings of it to the late William Bartram and Samuel Powel, of Philadelphia, and some of the persons who received slips of it from the latter gentleman, gave it the cognomen of Powel Grape.
3. V. L. CATAWBIENSIS. Catawba Grape-vine. The fruit of this variety occurs in loose bunches, of an inconsiderable size, and of a beautiful appearance. The berries are large, and much varied in their flavour and colour, according to their exposure to the
of the sun. Those which receive the full effect of the sun, are of a bluish-purple, and a slight musky flavour, but when partially exposed, they are of a lilac hue; and those which grow entirely in the shade, are of a translucent white, sweet, and devoid of musk in their taste. The fruit is earlier in ripening than that of the preceding variety, and when allowed to remain on the vine until perfectly mature, the pulp nearly disappears. It is esteemed as a table grape, and has also been manufactured into an excellent wine. The original vine is said to have been procured from the banks of the Catawba, and planted in the garden of the late Mr. Schell, at Clarksburg, in Maryland, and has been known to bear nearly eight bushels of fruit in a single season
4. V. L. ELSINBURGENSIS, Prince. Elsanborough Grape-vine. This variety is noted for its sweet, juicy fruit, which is free from pulp, and musky taste. The clusters are of a medium size, with loose berries of a blue colour, which are said to make an agreeable wine. Its foliage is of a pale-green, and resembles that of the wine-bearing grape of Europe, more, perhaps, than that of any other American variety. It somewhat resembles the Isabella, in its bark and wood, but its fruit is thought to assimilate more nearly to that of the Meunier, of France. The original vine was found and brought under cultivation by Dr. Hulings, in Elsanborough, in New Jersey, where, undoubtedly, it was indigenous.
Geography and History. The Vitis labrusca is found in sheltered situations in woods and thickets, and sometimes near the margins of waters, from Canada to Florida, Louisiana and Texas. It was introduced into Britain in 1656. by John Tradescant, jun.; but it can only be considered, in that country, as an ornamental shrub. A plant, however, of the red-fruited variety, placed against a wall with a western aspect, in the garden of the London Horticultural Society, is said to ripen fruit every year, of an agreeable flavour. There are several varieties of this species cultivated in North America, the most celebrated and extensive of which, is the Vitis labrusca isabella. As this variety is preferred, in the middle and northern parts of the United States to all others, principally on account of the quality and abundance of its fruit, its hardihood, and the facility with which it is propagated, we shall chiefly confine our remarks to its culture, rather than to those of a less hardy nature. We would not by any means discourage the propagation and amelioration of the other varieties, whereever the soil and climate are favourable to their growth and maturity; but on the contrary, we would recommend a successive reproduction from seeds, by grafting, or inoculation, and if possible, by hybridation; and doubtless many valuable varieties would be the result.
The manufacture of wine from the American wild grape has long been a subject of contemplation, and many unsuccessful attempts were made by the early settlers of the colonies; but the want of success was not so much owing to the qualities of the fruit, as in the requisite skill and care in making the wine. It appears, however, by Holmes' “ Annals,” that, in the year 1769, the French planters on the Illinois River, made upwards of one hundred hogsheads of strong wine from the wild grapes of that country. Frequent mention is also made in Dodsley's "London Annual Register," of wine being manufactured, in small quantities, from the American grape, and in some instances, of a rich and agreeable flavour. More recently, the Swiss and German settlers of the west, especially in the valley of the Ohio, have turned their attention to this branch of industry, and their labours have been crowned with considerable success. Mr. Nicolas Longworth, of Cincinnati, Ohio, in a communication, published in the “ American Agriculturist," in December, 1842, says, “I have thirteen vineyards, and more under way. The greatest yield is at the vineyard managed by Mr. Mottier, who is well known as an intelligent, enterprising vinedresser. He made within a fraction of fifteen hundred gallons. A part of the vineyard that did not suffer by rot, yielded six hundred gallons to the acre. The next vineyard in its yield, is under the charge of Mr. Myers, an intelligent German, of much experience in the cultivation of the vine. There were some vineyards in the country that produced a more abundant crop, on the same quantity of ground than even Mr. Mottier's. Mr. Hackinger had the finest crop I have ever seen. The crop of Mr. Reser, was also abundant. The vine culture is yearly increasing with us, and the day is not distant, when the Ohio hills between the two Miamies, will rival the same extent on the Rhine. For this, we shall be chiefly indebted to our German imigrants; and they are gratified in stating that we can rival the wines of their own country. The Catawba is destined to make a dry wine, equal to hock; and one of my German tenants, Mr. Lock, has made a sparkling wine from it, equal to the best champagne. But we must not expect to succeed at first. The process of fermentation and manufacture of wine requires both experience and skill, and we shall not for years equal the wine-coopers of Europe in its manufacture. The dry hock wines require but little experience and skill, but this is not true in respect to many of the finest wines.'' The cultivation of the vine has also become an object in supplying our markets and tables with fruit. Dr. R. T. Underhill, of New York, informs us that he has nearly twenty acres of vines, at Croton Point, on the Hudson, chiefly of the Isabella and Catawba varieties, from which he annually receives a profitable return. Many other vineyards of a greater or less extent are already in progress in several states of the union, and one or more vines are thought to be an almost indispensable appendage to every garden and house lot in the country.
Soil and Situation. The Isabella grape-vine flourishes best in a soil that is neither poor nor exceedingly rich, rather loose than compact, moderately moist, instead of being wet or very dry, and is free from an excess of salts, pernicious gases, and corruption; and in general, land recently cleared of wood is preferable to that which has been for some time under tillage. The situation should be chosen on moderately rising ground rather than on that which is plain or abruptly steep, and the aspect should be inclined towards the south or east, sheltered both from the wind and intense heat of the sun, particularly during the latter half of the day, but not so much so as to impede a free circulation of air. The climate should be rather dry than moist, and warm instead of being cold. A doctrine advanced by various authors is, that the region of the maize and peach culture, is also that of the wine-bearing grape of Europe. By parity of reason, the Isabella, and several other varieties, which are equally or more hardy than the European species, may be successfully cultivated from Mexico to those parts of America where the maize, or Indian corn is to be considered a sure crop; that is, they will succeed along the shores of the Atlantic, in any parallel south ward of the forty-third degree of latitude, and much farther to the northward, west of the Rocky Mountains. The Isabella will also often prosper under circumstances considerably at variance with any of those above stated, but its fruit will not be of so fine a quality, nor so rich in its flavour.
Propagation and Management. The Vitis labrusca isabella, like all its congeners, may be propagated from seeds, by cuttings or layers, and by grafting or inoculation ; but the mode almost universally adopted is by cuttings from the branches and roots. A simple, detailed account of the growth of a vine from its separation from the parent stem to the period of perfecting its fruit, perhaps will convey the best idea of the process, and we will offer the following, as deduced from experience >
It was the opinion of L. Junius Moderatus Columella, a distinguished writer on husbandry, who flourished more than eighteen hundred years ago, and who owned an extensive vineyard in that part of Old Spain, now called Arragon, that no kind of land, whatever, can be fruitful unless it be diligently, carefully, and skilfully tilled, more especially when employed for vineyards. “For a