Grapes: They can actually grow in Alberta!

This week I experienced my first real grape harvest. Sure, I’d had managed to grow a few small clusters before – just enough to get a taste. But this year was the first year that I’ve been able to grow enough grapes to eat all I wanted fresh, plus harvest enough to make up some delicious grape jelly for the winter.

I have four different varieties growing in my yard here in central Alberta, but the two varieties that are mature enough to produce are my Valiant Grapes, and my Marechael Foch Grapes. The valiant grapes are larger than the marechael grapes (though still smaller than what you might find in the grocery store) and are packed with flavour! In fact, they are very similar in flavour to the Concord grapes that you buy in the store.

I have them growing on the south side of my garage on a trellis with my Kiwis. (Yes, you heard right… with MY KIWIS.) I’ve found this location to work great for three reasons!

  1. They get piles of sun.
  2. They are protected from the wind (and they grab a bit of extra warmth from the garage.)
  3. They get lots of water since all the rain that falls on the garage roof drips down right in front of them.

The kids love to eat them fresh – though the seed to flesh ratio is pretty high! I enjoy them too, but my wife finds them a bit too tangy for her liking.

However, I’m sure that she’ll enjoy the grape jelly that I made up yesterday. And that was a pretty simply process too.

First, my son and I took our snippers to the grape vines and gathered up about five pounds.

Then we crushed them (stems/seeds/and all) and brought them to a ten minute boil.

Next, we strained out the juice with a cheesecloth, added the sugar and Certo Pectin, and brought that to a boil for another minute.

All that was left after that was to pour it in jars and shortly thereafter, spread it on fresh bread!

And all that to say that it’s really true: Grape growing is not reserved for California or Italy. Not even British Colombia. Grapes can actually grow in Alberta! Try it – I think you’ll like it!

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13 Responses to Grapes: They can actually grow in Alberta!

  1. Benoit Roussel says:

    To protect my grape from cold winter I put over a tire with cut side off and turned let the spread out and fill the tire to the top.This save root and every thing is flat on the ground

  2. Benoit Roussel says:

    I put rainx on my fruit tree trunk as winter protection.

  3. I’m impressed. Originally from Alberta but living in the Okanagan for more years than ever, I think it’s great you are trying out things that are not supposed to grow there. More gardeners should test their wings instead of just sticking with the tried and true all the time.

  4. Janice Harris says:

    Here in Fort McMurray I’ve been growing the Valiant grape for over 15 years against the south side of the house. Tastes just like Welchs Grape juice! The only problem the last 2 years has been white fly.

  5. Salina says:

    The house we moved into in Lethbridge last year has grapes (I wish I knew the variety). We got ~50 lbs of de-stemmed grapes! They taste great too, we made grape juice and canned it.

  6. khris says:

    Would like to know were u for the plant to grow the grapes.

    • Dave says:

      Khris: I’ve bought grapes at my local nursery (Red Deer) as well as from T&T Seeds (Mail-order out of Manitoba).

  7. Dan Mclean says:

    I live in Lethbridge,Alberta and this past summer i tasted sweet cherries off of my Kristin cherry tree, this is the 3rd summer for this tree, has come thru 2 winters with no protection, I also have 2 of Sask University sour cherries trees which cross-pollinated with the Kristin cherry, am very happy with this cherry tree.

  8. Spence says:

    We planted Valiant, Minnesota and Beta grapes, two years ago all have survived here in Black Diamond Alberta I was almost ready to harvest a crop of grapes this year, but, we had heavy snowfall and an early frost(Sept 10) so didn’t get to taste a ripe grape . In this area we had lingering snow in spring so our Apricot, Pear, and Cherry tree’s never even blossomed We did however have a great crop of apples.

  9. Rosie says:

    We live just outside of Whitecourt at an elevation of over 800m above sea level. I’ve been growing Valiant grapes against the south side of the house for 4 years now. The vine gets huge and they are just like the article at the top describes. Next spring I plan to build something large for them to climb and relocate them.
    Have any of you tried growing more plants from the seeds?
    Do I have to have male and female plants or does that matter for grapes?

    • Amanda says:

      Hey! I live in fox creek and was wondering about your grapes want to plant some so bad!! What kind are they and where on earth could I find them!?! Any ideas?

  10. Naydene says:

    Should I expect to get concord grapes the first year of growth?

    • Dave says:

      Naydene: No – likely not. In fact, even if it does try to produce fruit in the first two years, you should remove it so that the plant can grow strong first. Then, by the 3rd or 4th year, I’d start expecting to see some fruit.

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