Choice Of Varieties
It is a very difficult matter, in a vast country like ours, where the
soil and climate differ so much, to recommend any thing; and I think it
a mistake, into which many of our prominent grape-growers have fallen,
to recommend _any_ variety, simply because it succeeded well _with
them_, for _general_ cultivation. Grape-growing is, perhaps, more than
any other branch of horticulture or pomology, dependent upon soil,
ion and climate, and it will not do to dictate to the inhabitants
of a country, in which the "extremes meet," that they should _all_
plant one variety. Yet this has been done by some who _pretend_ to be
authorities, and it shows, more than any thing else, that they have
more arrogance than knowledge. I, for my part, have seen such widely
different results, from the same varieties, under the same treatment,
and in vineyards only a few miles apart, but with a different soil and
different aspect, that I am reluctant to recommend to my next neighbor,
what he shall plant.
But, while the task is a difficult one, yet we may lay down certain
rules, which can govern us in selection of varieties to a certain
extent. We should choose--1st. The variety which has given the most
general satisfaction in the State or county in which we live, or the
nearest locality to us. 2d--Visit the nearest accessible vineyard in
the month of August and September, observe closely which variety has
the healthiest foliage and fruit; ripens the most uniformly and
perfectly; and either sells best in market, or makes the best wine, and
which, at the same time, is of good quality, and productive enough.
Your observations, thus taken, will be a better guide than the opinion
of the most skillful grape grower a thousand miles off.
I will now name a few of the most prominent varieties which should at
least be tried by every grape grower.