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I have had two big problems with the grapes, compared with Apples, pears and other fruit.

The first has been ripening them, which I may now have solved unless we have a dreadful September in coming years and even then...  A little bit of reading goes a long way, and I took some literary advice to cut back the foliage to uncover the grape, which i did about a month ago.   At the expense of some ripe fruit, more due to lack of water than lack of sunshine, I now have a splendid crop of ripe grapes with which I hope to obtain two gallons of wine. Last year's 1 gallon is still fermenting nicely.   Fermentation for Apple/cider and grape wine is completely different. Cider is nearly always very rapid, although there are ways of extending fermentation.  Wine just does not take to rapid fermentation. I just wonder which vintage it is that Bordeaux makes such a fuss about in November; probably last year's vintage trading on this year's crop!

The second problem has been the acidity both of the cider and the wine. I have been diluting my own cider for some time, with water, which is one way of reducing it, but not the best.  Very small quantities of precipitate of chalk (I presume the precipitation is for hygiene purposes) have a big effect, so much that a necessary bite to the drink can be lost with too much.

This year my Cider will be marketable on account of dealing with such acidity, although it will nearly all be for me!!

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Comment by Gareth Howell on October 20, 2015 at 20:19

Most of the grape varieties that I've got now ripen at the beginning of October, just the same as one of the two main species of Pear, so ripening is no more a problem than more local fruit. there may be some deterioration of grapes compared with pears but actually the one species of "dessert" grape, I think they may be described as, are quite resilient, hard until ripe.

Somebody was impressed by the vine climbing up a derelict pear tree, and suggested a "grape tree!"

This seemed like a good idea so I looked around for very high poles and eventually found some 13' long Horse jumping poles (cylindrical) which should stand the test of facing south to produce 3 grape trees in due course.   Whether there is enough water in the ground just there remains to be seen but it is very near the well.

Grape 11' up  !  2ft set in concrete.  Heh !Heh!

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