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Harvesting Grape Vines

Are you ready to enjoy delicious homegrown fruit? Harvest is the time to enjoy the results of your hard work. Keep a few things in consideration as you reap the fruits of your labor: the best time to pick the fruit, and how to store your harvest.

NOTE: This is part 11 in a series of 11 articles. For a complete background on how to grow grape vines, we recommend starting from the beginning.

When to Harvest

You can start harvesting your grapes in the third season. Harvest when weather conditions are dry, wet grapes do not keep well.

Several factors will help you determine if it is time to harvest your grapes:

  • Color change, seed changes from green to brown
  • Slightly less firm to the touch
  • Birds on the vines
  • Taste is the most reliable factor for homeowners; if sweet and flavorful they’re ripe

Use a pair of sharp well-oiled easy to use shears. Gentle pull the clusters away from the vine and clip with the shears. Keep grapes out of direct sunlight.

Annual average yield per plant:

  • Most Grapes, 10-15 pounds
  • Muscadine, 8-16 quarts

Storage

The better the condition of the grape the longer they will keep. Do not wash them before storing. Remove any damaged, soft, moldy or bruised grapes before putting in a plastic bag and storing in the refrigerator. Storing in a zip lock plastic bag will help preserve their freshness and prevent the skin from drying out.

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