Table Grape Vines
What are table grapes?
They’re grapes grown to be eaten and cooked while fresh (rather than dried, like sultanas). The other kind of popular grape are wine grapes, which are grown specifically to make wine!
Worldwide, there are over 122,000 square kilometres dedicated to growing grapes with a sizeable portion of these grapevines in Australia. Over one-quarter of the world’s grape growing regions are dedicated to growing table grapes.
In Australia, we have over 24,000 acres of grapevines across four regions – Mundubbera, Emerald and St George in Qld and the Sunraysia region on the NSW and Vic border.
Table grape facts
A ‘grapevine’ or ‘vine’ is another name for a rooted grape plant. Did you know that the grapevine is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world? Here are some more grapevine facts you may not know:
- There many varieties of vines for table grapes grown around the world, including over 60 varieties in Australia alone, like Thompson Seedless, Red Globe and Autumn Royal and Sun World’s MIDNIGHT BEAUTY®, AUTUMNCRISP® and SCARLOTTA SEEDLESS® brand grapes.
- 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 autumn and winter months. Once all the foliage has fallen from the vine, they harden – 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 46cm long because grape buds tend to grow far apart on the vine.
- Grapevines need healthy, fertile, well-drained soil, full sun and trellis support for the long, climbing vines.
- You can identify table grape plants by looking at their trellis system. They’re set up to let 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. It needs to be high in nutrients and the Sunraysia region on the NSW and Vic border and Mundubbera, St George and Emerald in Qld, where Sun World grapes are grown, have the perfect soil for great grape growing.
Grape growing timeline
- Dormancy – Growth and development stops temporarily during this stage and growers prune the vines with cane pruning or spur pruning.
- Budbreak – Appearance of the first green leaves through the bud scales.
- Flowering – After a month or so of vegetative growth, a vine will develop tight bunches of tiny flowers which are pollinated by bees. Each flower has the potential to form a single grape berry.
- Fruit Set – As the now-pollinated flowers drop their petite petals, a tiny, green sphere begins to emerge at the end of the stem.
- Veraison – This is a French viticulture term that means the onset of ripening. During this ripening stage, grapes change colour 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.