This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
The 'Gardeners' Chronicle,' writing of these, says: - "True, indeed, there was no foreign competition on this occasion, but even had there been, the splendid display made by Messrs Lane was such that they would have had nothing whatever to fear. Their Muscats were simply magnificent; . . . . and doubtless, since there are many more examples of the various kinds remaining behind at Berkhamp-stead, some of the visitors to London may be tempted to go and see for themselves. The strange point is, that although drainage and heated borders are deemed essential to crack Grape-growing, and no doubt are in a general way useful aids thereto, yet Messrs Lane's Grapes are close to, and almost on a level with, perpetually running water, which must necessarily percolate among their roots and keep them constantly damp. May not shanking and shrivelling, after all, be the result of root-drought rather than root-damp?"
What say our Fowlers and our Johnstons to water percolating constantly among the roots of Vines? Our contemporary says that Messrs Lane won in a canter the gold medal for the finest collection of Grapes, as well as the medals for the best collection of White Grapes, in both of which collections were magnificent specimens of Golden Champion. The 'Journal of Horticulture' corroborates this report. It would be interesting to know when these Golden Champions were ripe, for some state that they will not keep after they are ripe. We are using it now - middle of October - of as rich a golden yellow as ever we have ripened Muscats to, and without spot or shrivel, from a Vine on its own roots. They were ripe at the end of July, and the Vines were planted in March 1870. The Madres-field Court Grape has well maintained its position at this great gathering of Grapes. There is no doubt it is an easy Grape to grow, and therefore all the more worthy of a place in all collections; and it ripens in cool vineries, although it is best in a Muscat temperature.