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Grape Production in Arkansas


Grape production worldwide is based on table, wine, juice and raisin production. The major effort in Arkansas has been on improving table grapes adapted to the state and region. The most common table grapes found in supermarkets are Vitis vinifera, produced mostly in California. Lacking cold hardiness and disease resistance, varieties of V. vinifera are not adapted to Arkansas or most other states east of the Rocky Mountains. 

Eastern grapes, including table grapes, are hybrids of V. vinifera and V. labrusca, with V. labrusca providing hardiness, reduced disease susceptibility and substantial fruit flavor. Pure V. labrusca fruit are very flavorful, with the most common flavor being the "foxiness" found with Concord and other eastern varieties. They have a slipskin-type texture where the pulp does not adhere to the skin. This texture is not crisp and is distinctly different than that of the non-slipskin V. vinifera varieties familiar to most consumers.

Among the University of Arkansas cultivars are both non-slipskin and slipskin choices. The Arkansas-developed cultivars, hybrids of these two species, are not resistant or immune to several devastating fungal diseases black rot, downy and powdery mildews and anthracnose. Because these cultivars were developed in a cultural system using a commercial grape fungicide program, growers of Arkansas table grapes should be familiar with the use of appropriate fungicides to control the above-listed diseases. Without controlling these diseases, Arkansas-developed cultivars will not produce reliable yields.

Although developed in the South, the University of Arkansas cultivars are not resistant to the most devastating grape disease in the deep South  - Pierce's disease. These cultivars are not recommended where Pierce's disease is a threat. 

Grape production requires selection of the appropriate trellis and training system and the knowledge to develop the vines on the trellis. Training is needed mainly in the first and second years of growth. A few clusters per vine can be borne on second-year vines if first-year growth is adequate, but the third year is more commonly the time of substantial cropping.

The University of Arkansas patented table and wine grape cultivars are available from licensed fruit propagators.

FSA-7556 Black Rot of Grapes (color)
Home Garden Grape Production website | Fruits & Nuts | Yard & Garden | Arkansas Extension Home Garden Grape Production website
Cooperative Extension Service | Division of Agriculture | University of Arkansas System
Fruit & Pest Management | Department of Entomology | University of Arkansas Table of Grape Damage Symptoms, Scouting and Pest Identification 
Dr. Donn Johnson | Department of Entomology | University of Arkansas
Fruit & Pest Management | Department of Entomology | University of Arkansas Grape Phylloxera Fact Sheet 
Dr. Donn Johnson | Department of Entomology | University of Arkansas


University of Arkansas Patented Table Grape Cultivars

* expired patent 

University of Arkansas Patented Wine Grape Cultivars