Cultivation of Grapes in India; A complete information Guide
Grape (Vitis vinifera L.) is one of the most important sub-tropical fruits in the world. The maximum production of grapes is in southern India in which Karnataka ranks first followed by Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. In these states plants do not shed the leaves but continue their growth throughout the year, bearing two crops resulting in exceptionally high yield but poor fruit quality.
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In North India, it is cultivated mainly in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh where the grapevine sheds its leaves in winter and the vegetative growth takes place only in the spring season; consequently, the fruiting is once a year during summer.
It is very delicious, refreshing, and nourishing fruit grown mainly for wine-making (82% of production), raisin making (10% of production), and rest for table purposes (8%) fruit contains about 20 percent sugar in easily digestible form besides being rich in calcium and phosphorus. Being one of the most paying fruit crops. and also widely adaptable in sub-tropical and tropical conditions, there is an immense possibility of increasing the area and production in the country.
Climate and Soil Requirement for Grape cultivation;
1) It grows well in dry climates having frostless winter and the long dry summer
2) Vines do not grow and fruit well when the temperature falls below 10 degrees celsius
3) Excessive humidity is injurious to the vine crops.
4) It may tolerate frost during the resting stage but is very susceptible during the growing period.
4) Rain or humidity at the time of ripening causes the splitting of berries and invites the attack of fungal diseases.
5) Rain or humidity is a great problem in north India that can be overcome by selecting the varieties which will ripen before the start of the monsoon.
6) It exhibits grows well on light friable loamy soil with good drainage. Soils having a pH value from 6.5 to 7.5 are most suitable
Selection of varieties in Grape Cultivation;
The commercial varieties are mentioned below:
1. Perlette. It is a promising variety of north India. Seedless and heavy yielder. It starts ripening in the first week of June.
2. Pusa seedless. It is a clonal selection from Thomson seedless. Berries are small but of good quality. Early ripening is very suitable for north India.
3. Anab-e-Shahi. The most popular variety of grape in the country which is mainly grown in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, vigorous variety, and fruits are large, greenish-yellow with excellent keeping quality, seeded, and heavy yielder. It is not suitable for North India.
4. Bangalore Blue. It is a seeded variety mainly grown in Karnataka. It is resistant to fungal diseases like anthracnose and powdery mildew. Fruits are round and of reddish blue-black colour.
5. Bhokri. It is also known as Pachadrakshai. Most suitable for tropical climates. Very heavy yielder, medium fruit quality, but keeping quality is poor. 6. Thomson seedless. It is being grown successfully in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and north India. It is also known as Sultanina and Australian seedless. It is suitable for fresh fruit, wine-making, and raisin-making. It fetches a good price in the market. It is highly susceptible to fungal diseases.
7. Beauty seedless. Dark purple, very sweet, seedless berries of low-keeping quality. It is suitable for north India. It is an early variety.
8. Arka Kanchan. It is a cross between Anab-e-Shahi and queen or Vineyard. Fruits are of golden yellow color and large. Good for table purposes as well as for winemaking.
9. Arka Shyam. It is a cross between Bangalore Blue and Black Champa. Fruits are of bluish-black color and sweet. It is resistant to diseases and is a heavy yielder. It is more suitable for juice, fresh fruits, and wine-making.
10. Arka Hans. It is a cross between Bangalore Blue and Anab-e-Shahi. Fruits of yellowish-green color and are sweet. It is resistant to diseases and is suitable for table purposes. 11. Vathi. It is a cross between Black Champa and Thomson Seedless. Fruits are of yellowish-green color, sweet and fragrant. It is suitable for table purposes and raisin making.
Commercial Varieties of Grapes Utilized for Specific Purposes are Given in the Following:
Bangalore-Blue, Thompson-Seedless, and Arka Kanchan
Grapes variety on the basis of color and seeds
Bangalore Blue, Gulabi (Muscat)
Beauty seedless and Shared Seedless
Anab-e-Shahi, Dilkhush (clone of Anab-e-Shahi)
Perlette, Pusa Seedless, Thompson Seedless and its clones (Tas-A-Ganesh, Sonaka & Manik Chaman).
Propagation method in Grape Cultivation ;
Grape is usually propagated by cutting in India. But, in the countries where Phylloxera root louse is a problem, it may be multiplied by grafting on resistant rootstocks.
In north India, cutting off 23 cm size is made from one-year-old twigs at the time of pruning in January. Cutting is tied in bundles and stored in moist sand for about 4-5 weeks for callusing. The callused cutting starts well in the nursery and becomes ready for transplanting in one year.
In the west and south India, cuttings are obtained from pruning in October and planted in the nursery for rooting, which used to be ready for transplanting in January. In south India, sometimes cutting is planted in situ to raise the plantation but it is essential to keep off termites by adding neem cake in the planting pits.
Planting Method in Grape Cultivation;
Plants raised by cutting are planted during January-February Planting should be done in the pits of 60 cm x 60 cm x 60 cm size. Planting distance varies according to the system of training to be followed.
Head system;2.10 m x 3 m
Pergola or Bower system;4.5 m x 5.5 m
Kniffin or Cordon system;3 m x 3m
Training and pruning Methods in Grape Cultivation ;
Following are the important systems of training adopted in our country.
A. Head system. It is useful for varieties like Beauty seedless which fruits on the first few buds on the cane. The plant is allowed to grow straight with the help of support and the developing shoot is cut off at a height of about one meter. It is allowed to develop 3-4 lateral branches, each about – 45 cm long. At the first dormant pruning in February, the lateral branches are shortened to spurs with two buds each. These spurs provide suitable arms for the framework. At the second dormant pruning, 8-10 arms with two spurs on each arm are retained for cropping in the third year. It is a cheaper system. B. Pergola or Bower or Pandal system. It is very suitable for vigorous varieties like Anabe-Shahi and is generally followed in south India. High yields may be obtained by this system. Plants are planted at 4.5 m x 5.5. m apart. In this system wires are stretched crosswise in all directions on the brick or iron Pillars at the height of about 2 meters, giving the appearance like a pandal. The branches are fastened to the horizontal wires of the pergola and allowed to grow on all sides of the roof. Several spurs of up to 5 buds are retained on each arm for flowering and fruiting. It is a very costly system.
C. Kniffin or Cordon system. It is also known as the espalier or cane system. It is suitable for less vigorous varieties in north India. Vines are trained horizontally along two trellis wires strung on iron support – one wire is at a height of about 90 cm and the other at 150 cm. Plants are planted 3 m x 3 m apart. One arm. about 30 cm long, is allowed to develop along each wire on either side. Thus, each vine has four arms. Long shoots developing into canes are cut back to 6-12 buds depending upon the variety. Two canes are retained on each arm and are tied along the trellis wire. At the base of each cane, another shoot on the same arm is cut back to two buds. The shoots arising from these buds form the canes in the following year. Varieties like beauty seedless or Thomson
seedless in which fruiting is on long canes are trained by this system.
Time and Method of Pruning in Grape Cultivation
The north is different from south India because plants remain dormant during winter in the north whereas in the south they continue their growth all the year-round. Pruning is done during January and February in north India. Shoots of pencil thickness are cut back to 3-5 buds. Weak and immature branches should be completely removed. There are two crops taken in south India one in October November and another in March-April. Therefore, pruning is done twice a year-first in May-June and second in December-January. However, the time of pruning determines the time of fruiting. In Maharashtra, severe pruning is done in March after harvesting to encourage new shoots. The crop from this growth matures in October, is of poor quality, and is affected by fungal diseases. This crop is, therefore, discouraged Second pruning is done in October which is lighter and produces a good crop during March.
Manuring in Grape Cultivation;
In north India, 125-150 gm N, 50-100 gm of P, and 250-300 gm of K per plant has given good results. In addition, 75 kg F.Y.M./plant is also given. They should be applied in two split doses-half part after pruning in February and the remaining half in April. In A.P. and Tamil Nadu 1000-1125 kg N, 750-875 kg P, and 750-1000 kg of K per ha have been found beneficial. These doses should be applied dividing into two equal parts after every pruning.
Harvesting and yield
Properly cared plants start fruiting after two years of planting in north India. It is better to have the fruiting in the fourth year of planting. Berries start ripening from the end of May in early varieties. However, most of the varieties are harvested by the end of June. Berries are harvested after they have a change color near the tip and have become sweet, Yield varies according to var and climatic condition, etc. An average yield of 15-20 tonnes/ha is considered good.