This section is from the book "The Gardener V3", 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.
At Speddock, near Dumfries, there is a very remarkable specimen of the Black Hamburg Vine. It is distinguished for its size, but not more so than for the splendid Grapes it bears annually. As far as we are aware, it has no equal in this country, if its size and the quality of its produce are considered. The Vine at Hampton Court, as well as those at Cumberland Lodge and Finchley, are all larger; but the produce of these is not so fine as the Speddock Vine. This Vine is about eighty years old, and until a few years ago it occupied a much smaller vinery than the one it has now nearly filled, and which is something over 60 feet long and 20 feet wide, with a lofty back wall, and consequently a long rafter. The Vine is planted at the extreme east end of the house, so that its growth is entirely to the west. Last year it bore 600 lb. of Grapes of superb quality both as to size and finish. This year it has fully 700 lb., every bunch from end to end and top to bottom being a model one; and while some are quite 3 lb. weight, they will average at least 2 lb. each. They are large in berry, conical in shape, and jet black. Mr Smith, who manages all his Vines in four vineries with great care and skill, wings all the bunches, so that they are all remarkably uniform in shape.
This grand Vine is in a most vigorous condition, and if the vinery were added to 60 feet to the east, it would soon fill it all; but the nature of the ground prevents extension in that direction. The border is liberally manured annually, very much in the manner referred to in our last issue. In another adjoining house there is a very superb crop of Gros Colmar on Vines, planted some four years since, and that are now in full bearing. In the other houses there are some remarkably vigorous and fruitful younger Vines, of such varieties as Alicante, Black Hamburg, and Muscats. The Vines are allowed plenty of room, and carry a good spread of foliage, and amply justify the practice of giving individual rods plenty of room, instead of crowding them together at the rate of 2 and 2 1/2 feet. To do such Grapes as Muscats of Alexandria and Gros Colmar justice, they should never be closer than 4 or 4 1/2 feet. They will carry as many Grapes as when planted more closely, and they have many conditions in favour of properly ripening the crop and wood, which do not exist in the crowding system.