You may think you know grapes, but there is a lot more to this fruit than what you see in the produce department and at the wine store, given the sheer amount of variation in these juicy orbs that are eaten and pressed into drinks.
The fruit has been grown locally for several thousand years, with the trade beginning in the Middle East in places like Israel, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, and Turkey. Another interesting fact: the globe utilises 70% of grapes produced to create wine, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization. While the Vitaceae family has an approximate 10,000 different grape varieties, only approximately 1,300 are utilized in winemaking. Even if someone does not use the fruit to create wine, it’s still a delicious, nutritious snack with many possibilities.
These berries (yes, they’re berries) happen to be the sixth-biggest crop in the United States. The fruit is grown in all 50 states, with California, Washington, and New York leading the way. In 2014, the United States possessed about 1,049,600 acres of grape-growing land and collected over million tons of grapes, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.
When you consider all of the grapes available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Continue reading this article to know more about the popular varieties to start on your exciting grape tour. Some of them may be known to you, while others may sound like something out of a fantasy book, but they are all edible and tasty.
Types of Grapes
Champagne grapes, which bloom from June to September, are among the tiniest grapes produced, with a sweet and tangy flavour. The grapes are crisp and delicate, and they are tiny enough that they do not pose a choking danger to children. These grapes, ironically, aren’t used to make wine or champagne, but they’re great for nibbling and eating raw.
This purple-skinned, elongated grape just headed to the markets this year, and we are definitely glad that it happened. David Cain, a doctor, scientist, and plant-breeder, who develops new varieties for a grape-growing business named Grapery, is to credit for this variety. Cain has been growing the Moon Drop plant using a sample from the Middle East, for approximately 15 years. No, it’s not a genetically modified fruit; Cain uses traditional plant breeding techniques, hence, it took him this long to become successful. Skin is dark purple, nearly black, and has a finger-like form. The flesh of the fruit is crunchy and firm, giving this type a great snap and allowing it to last for days in the fridge. It’s sweet, but without being overly sweet, and has a grape jelly flavor.
You’ve probably had a Concord grape if you’ve ever had pure grape juice. The grapes were created in the late 1840s in Concord, Massachusetts, and have a bright, crisp taste and a bluish-purple hue. They bloom from August to September, contain big seeds, and a very skins that can be easily peeled. If you like grapes, the Concord is one type you should try. They grow in New York’s Finger Lakes area, Washington’s Yakima Valley, Michigan’s Lake Ontario, and Washington’s Yakima Valley.
The grape is traditionally used to produce wine, and although the Burgundy area of France popularised it, it is now grown by farmers all across the globe. The Willamette Valley in Oregon and the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County, California have recently produced excellent examples. This grape is also used to make sparkling wines, such as champagne (we will discuss the Champagne type of grape later on). The sleek-skinned vitis vinifera may be seen in dense clusters of rich purple fruits. Sean McKenzie, winemaker at Dreaming Tree, describes Pinot noir as having tastes and fragrances of caramel, earthiness, juicy cherry, and wild strawberry. This character may be seen in both wine and raw fruit, hence the reason that this type of grapes are so popular. Currents, rose, and black cherry may also be detected.
Cotton Candy grapes (adorable!) are white grapes with a flavour that is akin to cotton candy. They can only be produced in central California because of the hot temperature, which allows them to have such a crazily sweet flavour. From mid-August through September, they are in full flower. People are astonished at how similar they taste like cotton candy, and after you sample them, you’ll be addicted too.
This grape, which also goes by the name blaufränkisch, is used to make black, tannic wines containing mild spice aromas. This early-blooming variety originated in Germany’s Württemberg wine area, but in recent decades, the Finger Lakes of New York and the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia have had great success with these vines. These plump grapes are dusty blue in color and have an aroma of tannic berries. More dark and sweet tastes emerge when the skin is peeled aside. Pepper notes may be found in this kind, particularly when it is turned into wine.
A Crimson Seedless grape is the basic “red” fruit described before. They’ve been present since the late 1980s and are very juicy and delicious. They are typically a light crimson hue with occasional green streaks and have a solid structure and thick skin. They are grown in California and may be harvested from August through November, thus they blossom later than most other grapes.
This grape is part of the Flavor Promise line from the Grapery, and it first appeared in 2012. It’s one of their seeded varieties, but it grows so large that it is possible to cut it in much the same way you would cut an apple, while simply popping the suckers out. To add a fruity, smokey flavour to your salad, eat them sliced, raw, over a sandwich with peanut butter, or gently grilled. The big black ovals comprising a bunch will identify these grapes. They have a clear grape taste and are solid and sweet.
Fry Muscadine grapes can only be picked in September and are exclusively grown in Georgia. They’re about the same size as a cherry tomato, and as they mature, they become a beautiful yellow hue, but they start out as a golden-brown tint. Muscadine grapes, which were first introduced in 1970, are firm and crispy, with a pleasant pop when bitten.
It can’t be simple to produce grapes anywhere in Alaska, but the fast-growing variety performs well there due to its resistance to cold temperatures and tougher soil conditions. These blue and big grapes are used for jams, juicing, and to put on tables, but they may be sweeter (nearly syrupy) than other grapes. These cold-weather grapes have an a skin that can be easily removed, a flesh that is quite sugar, and a taste that is similar to Concords. They’re bigger and less astringent than regular table grapes.
These grapes, which have a season that runs from July to September, are covered in a dusty crimson exterior and have an almost transparent flesh within. They may be eaten raw or turned into white wine, which results in a hue that is nearly transparent. Gewürztraminer grapes are very juicy and clean-tasting, resembling stone fruits in flavour.
Riesling thrives in colder climes, such as Austria, Germany, and New York’s Finger Lakes. “Riesling happens to be the most flexible grape produced,” says Anthony Roads winemaker Peter Becraft, “allowing one to create wines ranging from dessert-wine to bone-dry.” “The grape’s inherent acidity gives the grape’s sugars balance, freshness, and structure. Riesling is very expressive of the grape’s origins and vintage.” They’re also delicious squeezed into any kind of non-alcoholic juices. This grape has a sweet flavor profile, with floral overtones and strong acidity. This grapes also derives the land’s terroir, so if your soil contains more minerals, the grapes will reflect that. Every one of these characteristics combine to make it an excellent grape for making wine. Riesling, according to Becraft, is “the finest meal wine ever created.”
Kyoho grapes are a hybrid variety developed in the 1930s and cultivated in Japan. These pups are one of the biggest grape varieties, with a rich and luscious colour similar to plums. The thick, bitter skin is typically peeled away, but the work involved in getting to what’s beneath is well worth it. They flower from July to August and may reach a size of a plum. They’re great for sweetening boring desserts and may be juiced to go with your morning coffee. What a multi-purpose treat!
Although Lemberger grapes originated in Germany, they are now grown in a variety of boreal regions. They are a rare variety that blooms from August to September and has a beautiful blue skin with a sweet, somewhat peppery taste. If you create wine using Lemberger grapes, you’ll detect a touch of pepper as well.
This white-seeded variety, produced by Dole, is hard to come by since it is exclusively produced within South Africa, that too, in restricted quantities. The firm wants to grow additional Moon Balls in other areas of the globe, so, in the coming years, they might be ready to circle your kitchen.
These spherical hybrid grapes are big and green as they mature, like an appetising bouncing ball. They have a fairly thick skin along with a sweet and soft flesh that is somewhat sweeter than other table grapes.
These tiny white grapes, sometimes called Thompson Seedless, originated in the Ottoman Empire. They are now a popular ingredient in commercial raisins and are a favourite among chefs. Chris Cosentino, a well-known chef, gives the tiny berries a heat blast in the kitchen. “They’re excellent blistered,” he adds, “which helps maximize the flavor.” “We’re combining them with cilantro, basil, mint, Serrano, watermelon reddish, and squid, in a delicious meal.” Sultana grapes are tiny, oval-shaped, pale green grapes with a high sugar content. The sugar starts to concentrate as it dries, giving the familiar earthy-sweet taste of raisins. Even if you come upon a darker kind of raisin, you can still safely assume that it is a Sultana.
To conclude, if you are a grape enthusiast, we hope that this blog will get you all excited and enhance your knowledge about the fruit and its characteristics.