The Horticulturist 3: 492-493

THE DELAWARE GRAPE
A. Thomson—Delaware, Ohio

About three years ago, Mr. BATEHAM, of the Ohio Cultivator, was kind enough to send us some bunches of this grape from an Ohio Fruit Growers' Convention. We were much pleased with it, and took note of the discussions respecting its history and probable origin. At that time we determined to propagate it, but it slipped our memory, and we have heard or seen nothing of it since. Now we are favored, by A. Thomson, Esq., of Delaware, Ohio, with a box containing several well ripened, beautiful bunches; and we think more highly of it than ever. After tasting it we should say it is an American grape; but there has been gathered up considerable evidence of its foreign origin, and an old, intelligent vine-dresser, fresh from Germany, says that he should at once pronounce it the Traminer, but that it has a more musky flavor than that variety has in Germany. Its exemption from mildew is a remarkable feature in a foreign grape. The grape itself, as well as its history, is worthy of more attention. The bunch is small, very compact, sometimes shouldered. Berries — small, round. Skin — thin, of a coppery-rose color. Pulp — very little. Flavor—sweet, but sprightly and pleasant. We subjoin the communication of Mr. THOMPSON:

"I send you by express specimens of a grape that has attracted much attention in this region for a few years past, and increases in public favor as time more fully develops its S superiority. To us it is a stranger; and my object in sending it to you is to get your opinion as to its quality, and ascertain if it is known to horticulturists in your section. You will perceive that it is quite early, being now ripe, while Isabellas, more favorably situated, are just beginning to turn, and Catawbas are quite green — and that it is remarkably free from pulp, thin skinned, and of sprightly and pleasant flavor — in short, that it possesses all the characteristics of a first rate table grape. It is a prodigious bearer; bunches compact, though rather small; the berries of uniform size and quality, it being almost impossible to find one that is in any way defective. The vine is a vigorous grower — hardy, free from mildew, and ripens its wood (which is small and short-jointed) better than any with which I am acquainted. I regard it as a great acquisition, and certainly no fruit that has appeared has acquired greater popularity in the same length of time than this in the region where known.

"Being offered for sale in our streets a few years ago by persons from the country, it immediately attracted attention, and investigations instituted by myself and others showed it to be of foreign origin having been one of a lot of vines sent more than fifty years ago to a gentleman in New Jersey by his brother residing in Italy. It was procured in the garden of the gentleman referred to, and brought to this country some sixteen years ago. Though its origin is clearly traced to a foreign source, I am inclined to think that instead of being taken from the original stock, it is probably a chance seedling from one of the Italian vines, for I have never seen or heard of a foreign vine that would flourish and ripen its fruit in our climate as this does. If it does as well and produces as good fruit in New Jersey as in this State, it is surprising that it has not ere this attracted the attention of eastern horticulturists.

"Mr. Longworth regards it as a foreign grape, and in a letter to me says: 'I have upward of one hundred bunches of the Delaware grape ripening. It compels me to back out and admit there is one foreign grape that suits our climate. I have failed with one hundred varieties. I wish to give it a fair trial for wine. It is a superior table grape.' And in a subsequent letter he says the German vine-dressers in that region who have examined it are divided in opinion — some pronouncing it the Red Resling, while others think it is the Traminer, one of the most celebrated of the German wine grapes. The evidence preponderates in favor of its being the latter, and Mr. L., acting upon this evidence, has order a large number of the vines from Germany. He may be correct in supposing its identity clearly established; but if so, it is somewhat remarkable that in his former large importations (the object being to procure wine grapes) this, the most celebrated of any they cultivate, should not have been included; and it is no less remarkable that none of the Germans who have brought vines with them from the father-land, should have failed to include their favorite Traminer. A. Thomson.—Delaware, Ohio."

Delaware Grape Bibliography