Grape Vines

From Our Vines to Your Table.

If you drive through California’s agricultural valleys, you’ll likely see some of the nearly 900,000 acres of grapevines. Worldwide, there are approximately 47,400 square miles used to grow grapes. Over one-quarter of those are used to grow table grapes — grapes intended for eating or cooking.

Table Grapes and Their Vines

  • A ‘grapevine’ or ‘vine’ is the name of a rooted grape plant. Did you know that the grapevine is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world?
  • There are many types of vines for table grapes grown around the world, including over 60 varieties in California like Thompson Seedless, Red Globe and Autumn Royal.
  • Grapes are deciduous, woody vines. An established grapevine consists of a root system, trunk, and shoots or canes.
  • Grapes can be grown from two types of cuttings: green cuttings or dormant cuttings, also known as hardwood. Dormant cuttings are available in the fall and winter months when all the foliage has fallen from the vine and they have hardened – hence the name hardwood. These cuttings are easiest to handle, but green cuttings work for grapes that don’t root easily from dormant cuttings.
  • Grapes should always be propagated from cuttings because they do not grow from seed. And it is good to use cuttings that are at least 18 inches long because grape buds tend to grow far apart on the vine.
  • You can identify table grape plants by looking at their trellis system which lets the grapes hang independently to reduce clusters from rubbing other clusters, stems or leaves.
  • Table grapes grow in areas with the right soil for grape vines that are high in nutrients such as the Coachella and San Joaquin river valleys where Sun World grapes are grown.

Grapevine Growth Stages

  1. Dormancy – Growth and development stops temporarily during this stage and growers prune the vines with cane pruning or spur pruning.
  2. Budbreak – Appearance of the first green leaves through the bud scales is called budbreak.
  3. Flowering – After a month or so of vegetative growth, a vine will develop tight bunches of tiny flowers. Each flower has the potential to form a single grape berry.
  4. Fruit Set – As the now-pollinated flowers drop their petite petals, a tiny, green sphere begins to emerge at the end of the stem.
  5. Veraison – Veraison is a French viticulture term that means the onset of ripening. During this ripening stage, grapes change color from green to either red or black, while green varieties become a creamy greenish white. Grapes are harvested fully ripe. After they’re picked, they do not become sweeter.