There is an orchard near my house that put in four or five rows of wine grapes. Been there for a few years now. Hybrid wine grapes: don’t make awful wine like native grapes, don’t die like European grapes, left to their own devices, do around here. FochÂ and Chambourcin.Â And these grapes have been left to their own devices; orchard has better things to do, I guess, than baby finicky wine-grapes, when I am probably the only person in the county who asked after them. The following are some pictures of what grapes, even tough hybrids, left to their own devices, in a damp year, look like come harvest time, around here:
We got around to showing up to pick, fairly arbitrarily, on October 6th. The Foch had already passed, and perhaps had fared a little better, but as it was it took the two of us an hour to pick 11.5 pounds of grapes. Below is a picture of one of the better, bigger bunches (very small, indeed):
We took it home and crushed it, and measured its sugar content: 18.5 Brix, a potential alcohol level of 10.3%. Considering the conditions, I was afraid it might have come in closer to 6%, so I was pleased. I kept the juice macerating on the skins for two or three hours, to extract a little color, to make a rosÃ©. A nice, light, perhaps slightly sparkling rosÃ©, to be drunk next summer. Two bottles worth. Oh well.
Fruit review. This one is called Cream of Saskatchewan. Fairly small, short-season watermelon. I grew it this year. From Seed Savers. Wet year, bad fruit growing year, and very bad for peppers. My melon was brittle; split into pieces when I started it with a knife. Very thin rind, like the package saidâ€”hardly there at all. The flavor, fascinating. Actually a little cream-like. (The flesh is more cream-colored, by the way, it looks white in most pictures I’ve seen, even in Â my picture, it looks white.) It reminds me of eating maple snow, fresh snow with cream and maple syrup poured on it, something I grew up eating. It has a viscosity, too, that is unlike a watermelon, a thickness. It is more like a honeydew melon than most watermelon. It is a great novelty, and maybe this was a bad year for it. I will grow some other great novelty, next year.