Saturday, June 23, 2012

Calling All Grape Growers

Calling all table grape growers in the southern San Joaquin Valley...

Red Flame Grapes

I have some questions for successful table grape growing of Red Flame Grapes.  The vine shown here was planted in early 2009 (bare root stock).
  • How do I increase the size of the grapes?
    • Pruning/thinning was done earlier in the season to try to encourage larger grapes.
    • Fertilization was stopped and replaced with organic compost for mulch.
  • Are the grapes splitting because of over irrigation?
    • Grapes are irrigated on the same schedule as the fruit trees - 2-3 times each week.  The basin is filled and drains quickly. 
      • They were irrigated today before I noticed the splitting.
  • Is more than one crop per vine possible?
    • I noticed younger bunches forming.
Please drop me an email ( or simply comment here.  Any suggestions/advice is appreciated.


Steve said...


We have a relative in the grape business. We'll see what we can find out.


Bill Bird said...

You need Gibrellins. Gibrellic Acid. GA-3 to be more specific. Pot growers use GA-1 to root crops, but the big grape growers use GA-3 to plump up the crop. GA-3 is completely organic btw, and it can be purchased online. I'm going into Year 3 with my tablegrapes, including Red Flame, and I've done my two required applications. My grapes are blowing up to a massive size, with that familiar, teardrop shape. Some people recommend that you cut into the trunk, a practice called girdling. But I'm afraid that I'll just wreck my vines by doing this, so I don't. Plus, you're not supposed to do it until Year 5 anyway. I use a product called MegaGro, which is essentially GA-3. I dilute it with water and spray it on my grapes. Two applications is all it takes, but it must be applied at the right time: Just before bloom and again after grapes have formed and have grown a little bit. It is working wonders for me.

Lisa Paul said...

As a wine grape grower, I can tell you what we DON'T do because we want the opposite of table grapes. We want small super-concentrated grapes with a greater skin to pulp ratio. So to do that, we don't irrigate a lot. Irrigation plumps up the fruit. But with grapes, irrigation has to be slow and steady and a little bit at a time or you get splitting. I'm not sure if I would cut back the canopy, especially in Bakersfield. Typically, the French cut back the canopy to aid in ripening, but then they don't get the sun we do in California.


Lisa: I think I didn't keep the soil constant so when I did irrigate the berries split.

Blythe said...

Hi! I'm not sure if you can help me or not, but I've been thinking about growing grapes in GA, preferably red seedless. I know next to nothing at all about growing grapes, well, growing anything for that matter. I've done bell peppers, tomatoes, egg plant, onions, carrots, spices(basil, oregano, thyme ect.), and a few things extra. I'd love to hear from you if you can help! Thanks. BTW, your garden is gorgeous!

Blythe (


Blythe: Georgia and California are two different beasts. You might want to rely on information for a local nursery (not box store) like TyTy and look to the University of Georgia for a ton of information. Hope you have much success to report.