Somerset Grape Vine
Characteristics of the tree
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The Somerset grape has a full and delightful flavour. Some detect in it a hint of strawberry, and all agree that it is very sweet and delicious, superior in flavour to those that we generally find in the grocery. It also makes excellent juice. When tasted at the end of August, the grape is pinkish in colour with a delicate flavour, turning dark red and developing further flavour until Mid-September. When it is completely ripe, it measures between 19.5 and 20 Brix.
The grape is rather small if we compare it to those we find in the grocery (it generally weighs between 1.5g and 2g), but the clusters of grapes are compact and quite large, weighing on average 150g. The skin of the grape is thin and adherent.
Although the Somerset grape is considered ‘seedless’ in reality if we observe carefully, we realise it does indeed have seeds, but they are tiny and soft, difficult to detect as one eats the grape. The Somerset grape is our favourite of all the grapes we have tasted so far, and if you can only plant one variety of grape, we recommend this one without hesitation.
The Somerset grapevine is disease-resistant, moderately vigorous, and very productive. Very hardy, it does not suffer damage from frosts as cold as -35° C. The vine has a prostrate growth habit, meaning that it grows along the ground, and that it therefore needs support in order to climb.
The Somerset grapevine was born from the work of Elmer Swenson in Wisconsin. Swenson was a pioneer in the cross-breeding of grape varieties for the northern climate, and most of the varieties of table grape that we grow exist thanks to his work. The Somerset grapevine was born from a cross between ES 5-3-64 and Petit Jewel, and its grandparents include the Thompson seedless grapevine.
When planning where to plant your grapevines and what kind of supporting structure to use, you might want to consider the possibility of laying down the vines under the snow for the winter. While all the cultivars we offer are hardy to at least zone 4, and therefore should not need extra protection for winter, we prefer to be on the safe side. Therefore, after we have pruned our grapevines in fall, we lay down the branches on the ground so that they will be insulated by the snow during the winter. We designed our fence with this in mind: you can see how we made it here. This might not be necessary in warmer zones, but is something you should consider if you are in zone 4a or colder.