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Grapes In The Caribbean...


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#1 JSCayman

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 08:00 PM

So I am considering the prospect of using about an acre or two of land here to grow table grapes for the local grocery stores.

The question I have is what type of grape, if any, is suitable for the Cayman Islands?

We dont have any mountains or valleys... most of the land here was swamp land that was filled in, but there is small area that is supposed to be pretty good for farming (apparently). We also have a very wet rain season (Sep-Nov) and the coldest it ever gets here is about 65 at night for a couple weeks in the winter. It is very hot in the day, but we normally have a nice breeze (not sure if that helps any smile.gif ).

Your assistance is greatly appreciated!!!

#2 gregmg

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 08:10 PM

If black rot, downy mildew, or powdery mildew exist in the Cayman Islands, you're going to have a lot of trouble growing the popular varieties of table grapes. Normally in a really wet and humid environment like yours, these issues become almost impossible to manage. I've read that on some tropical islands these diseases were never introduced, and thus, no matter how often it rains the grapes are never effected.

The other big issue is dormancy. Grape vines need some down time in the winter. Without a sufficiently long or cold dormant period grapes tend to ripen unevenly from one bunch to the next, and even within a bunch.

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#3 JSCayman

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 08:54 PM

Thanks greg... I was also considering the dormancy factor. Will probably be ok for the first few harvest, but would hate to have to prune down and start over again after only a couple years.

Not sure about the fungus issue... Dept of Agriculture is extremely strict here and all vegetation that is imported in goes through a very strict quarantine/spray session. They don't like letting any pests or critters in either, so there is a possibility that Cayman has never been hit with them.

I just found out from my dad that my kid brother has a couple vines growing at his house. Guess it is time to go check em out.

#4 gregmg

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Posted 04 October 2009 - 09:16 PM

QUOTE (JSCayman @ Oct 4 2009, 08:26 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks greg... I was also considering the dormancy factor. Will probably be ok for the first few harvest, but would hate to have to prune down and start over again after only a couple years.

Not sure about the fungus issue... Dept of Agriculture is extremely strict here and all vegetation that is imported in goes through a very strict quarantine/spray session. They don't like letting any pests or critters in either, so there is a possibility that Cayman has never been hit with them.

I just found out from my dad that my kid brother has a couple vines growing at his house. Guess it is time to go check em out.

There are efforts being made to grow table grapes and wine grapes in a variety of tropical and sub-tropical climates around the world. I have a short research paper on the subject that I picked up somewhere. I'd be happy to send to you. Please email me at greg(at)goldminemtn.com and I'll send it your way.

I've read that in Brazil they deal with the lack of winter by pruning the vines and stripping off all of the leaves once a year. This simulates a dormant period and more or less gets the fruit ripe at the same time.

Greg G.



#5 JSCayman

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 04:47 AM

That is what I have read as well... and also spraying them with a chemical which will make all the leaves fall off. There isn't a huge market for grapes here in Cayman. We only have 7 supermarkets so I am not exactly sure the investment will be worth the while.

I think I know which research paper you are talking about... I'll email you shortly.

#6 Michael A

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 08:55 AM

I know that they grow Symphony grapes in Hawaii. They make a sweet rose wine from it, but it's primarily a table grape.
My wife always professed her desire to marry a man with a body like a Greek god. Somehow I don't think she meant one shaped like Bacchus...

#7 gregmg

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 09:19 AM

QUOTE (Michael A @ Oct 5 2009, 08:27 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I know that they grow Symphony grapes in Hawaii. They make a sweet rose wine from it, but it's primarily a table grape.

A lot of Isabella, a labrusca variety, used to be grown in Hawaii as well. They made wine from it.

Greg G.



#8 Wade's Wines

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 10:19 AM

I love Isabella! Very vigorous, high producer of lots of big beautiful grapes, and beautiful dark red wine with a hint of strawberry. I have 9 vines planted about 30+ ft. apart covering 400+ ft. of fence, and they over-run each other at 3 years of age. Virtually disease free, first to green up in the Spring, last to turn and drop leaves in the Fall, trying really hard to produce a second crop in one season here! They have lots of big green grapes and I picked a month ago. I don't think they'll have time to ripen, but I may be surprised. Our average first frost is Oct. 20th.
I really wouldn't be surprised if they thrived in the Tropics, but really don't know a thing about that.
I think I'll take enough cuttings this pruning Season to start a couple 300 ft. rows. Oldjenx wants some too.
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#9 Vitruviano

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Posted 05 October 2009 - 06:53 PM

Muscadines are well suited to heat, humidity, and lots of rain. Here is another thought - sea grapes - nothing better suited to the carribean but I know of only 1 variety here in the SE. Good Luck

#10 stefano

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 03:13 PM

Hi All, my name is Stefano I am Italian from Milan but I am originally from the Region of Veneto/Friuli Venezia Giulia. I was reading in this old forum about it and for the first time I strated to think I could crown my dream. I am now living in Belize, Centralamerica and I have 36 acres of land where I have planted 1300/1400 coconut trees, 2000 plaintains and 100 cashew trees plus mangos etc

But no grapes... and of course no wine... I was reading in your forum that there are some grapes that could survive in this enviroment, like these grapes that are growing in the Hawai islands or in Brazil.

And if there is this possibility, how could I find the seats to be planted right here. Is it possible to buy them in the web? Please, I need info but this is the first time I am really dealing with the land and I only started 1 year ago.... This should be like a life dream.....

Thank you very much, all the best, Stefano

#11 bret

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 03:30 PM

Welcome to the forum, Stefano.

As far as I know, the only variety of bunch grapes suitable for the tropics is Isabella. I believe they grow it in Hawaii. I know it's big in South America, Brazil I believe, as well. I do not now if they have to take any measures to artificially induce dormancy periods, which bunch grapes need. Isabella has been made into wine and is also suitable for juice or even eating, even though it has seeds.

You cannot grow grapes from seed; at least, if it does grow, you're not guaranteed to get the same attributes as the parent. You can propagate Isabella from cuttings easily, though, and I'm doing it right now for the first time.

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#12 Tomer1

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 03:58 PM


But no grapes... and of course no wine...


Stefano you need to read our fruit wine section,
No grapes means no grape wine like back home but it doesnt mean no refreshing mango wine for the warm humid nights. luxhello.gif

Regarding grape growing,
You should consult your agricalture office and ask them for help.


You cannot grow grapes from seed

You cant if your a home grower and dont have access to advance agriculture technology.

I read about thailand recently started to develope a wine industry\wine region and they got a team from israel to assist in growing vines from seeds as part of inter country coaperation.
I assume they are going to use cutting edge DNA analysis which can determine right off the start (first few weeks) whether the plant has the right properties or not.
My advice may or may not be backed by actually personal expirience and should be treated as such. :)

#13 bigadamsoy

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 07:32 PM

I read about thailand recently started to develope a wine industry\wine region and they got a team from israel to assist in growing vines from seeds as part of inter country coaperation.


Hey Stefano, welcome to the forum.
Don't get the idea that Thailand is like Belize. Thailand has a large highland area with very good conditions for growing grapes (cool nights, arid growing season, moderate temperatures). Brazil has their viticulture concentrated in more arid regions, too.
That said, I believe it's possible to grow grapes in Belize, assuming you're not in the wettest part. You'll need disease-resistant hybrids, though, and a spray program. You can ripen two crops per year in the dry season, but it won't be easy. I would think that you'll want southern US grapes with short seasons, like University of Arkansas selections. I think you'd also want to try blanc du bois, which produces nice aromatic whites in hot climates, and Isabella, as was already mentioned, for some Fragolino wine.
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#14 Camillo Alexis

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 06:13 AM

It is possible to grow some verities in the Caribbean; I have some plants that I have gotten from Taiwan. I don't know what variety they are and what is the best trellis system to grow them on, I have posted pics in this forum to ask for help in identifying them, I find some of the information to be very useful thanks guys, Because we do not have very cold periods here in (Grenada) I have noticed that the grapes just keep growing and fruiting every time they have been pruned.

#15 bigdrums2

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 09:42 AM

I think muscadine is your best bet. After is probably some of the Florida state grown grapes - stover, Swanee, conquistador (supposedly very good against disease), blue lake, lake emerald. You can try blanc du Bois but I wouldn't bet on it. You can pull the leaves off of the vine in order to "trick" the vine into dormancy. I don't know if it will work, but have just heard about it. I know research had been done in the tropics in the past. Contact your local university ag department and they may have better suggestions.




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