A few things I never knew about grapes…

I am finding that I am getting more and more interested in wine.

It’s something that I have found intimidating in my past and something that brings back odd memories of school work (having studied Hospitality and Tourism in the early 90s we had the occaisional wine tasting at 6.30am to reduce liability of the college for people drinking and driving – those tastings were often accompanies with a coffee and a doughnut…igh).  I am recovering from the scars of my youth and still find it an incredibly daunting pursuit – so much to know and so little time…

We did however learn a few things about grapes a few weeks back that I found interesting and thought they may be worth sharing:

A few things I never knew about grapes...

  1. The space between the aisles of grapes is as wide as the grapes are tall.  This is needed in order to prevent a row of grapes covering its neighbor with perpetual shade.
  2. Sugars are developed in the grapes by sun interacting with the leaves – photosynthesis is the key to developing the sugars.
  3. Sun on the flesh of the grape (especially in the second half of the season) develops flavors in the fruit.
  4. Grapes are often culled part way through a growing season – farmers have to decide how many grapes to remove in order for the plan to properly develop the remaining grapes.  Exceptional years will have no culling – poor years can result in more than 30% being culled.

I am sure this knowledge is common to many – I found it fascinating.  Do any of you have grape secrets you’d like to share?


  1. Are the culled grapes used in any way, or just discarded as waste?

    • It’s a fair question Al and I can guess at the answers from how I understood…

      I believe the grapes are discarded/ composted… The premise is that if a vine has too many grapes to develop, some are needed to be culled to allow the vine to concentrate flavor and sugar on a fewer number – at the time of culling the grapes are not ripe and super sour (not sure if there’s a by-product that could be made with them). In a perfect year, none are culled – and that is what the farmers dream of (it happened 2 years ago).

      Hope that helps, will ask next time I am in a field of grapes (later September) and see what we learn. :)

      Thanks for taking the time to ask!


  2. Teeka Bhattarai from Kathmandu says:

    Thank you for your intuition to share. I am an amateur grape grower in the house hard. I do not know how you can do for large scale cultivation but grapes respond well to human urine!

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