This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V26", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
I send you by express, "charges paid through," a small box containing specimens for comparison, of the three notable white grapes, Empire State, Niagara and Pocklington. I do not think either variety is in quite its best condition; for the two first-named have been some time gathered, the stems are quite dry, and the weather has been rather warm for keeping grapes. I think, however, the three kinds are in very nearly the same condition, and a comparison of their quality and flavor will probably afford a fair estimate of their relative value in these respects.
I regard the Empire State as a remarkable production, if the statement of its originator is correct, that it is a result from crossing the Clinton and Hartford. Judging from the appearance and flavor of the first, such a claim would seem, at least, improbable; but after growing it two years, the character and habit of the vine seem to warrant the supposition that it may be as stated. The form of the leaf closely resembles the Clinton; but in texture, it is thick and downy on the underside like the Hartford, but in somewhat less degree. The vine has also the habit of forming continuous tendrils peculiar to the Labrusca class; and I had sent me in September, a bearing cane with four continuous clusters of nearly equal size, weighing a little over two pounds; and they were the handsomest four bunches of grapes I ever saw growing consecutively opposite four continuous leaves, upon any variety, in my more than forty years experience in grape-growing. The vine is also a vigorous grower, and was subjected to 320 below zero last winter, which it endured with much less injury than some of the pure Labruscas; and both last season and this, it has been entirely free from mildew or any disease of the foliage, and the wood was well ripened, nearly to the tips, in September. Its originator claimed that it ripened as early as Hartford, but I fear this will have to be taken with some grains of allowance, for I have noticed that nearly all new grapes are introduced as ripening with, or before the Hartford, and generally fail to come to time in this respect.
I believe the Empire State will be found to mature with, or a little in advance of Concord. After growing it for two years, seeing and testing the fruit several times, and comparing it with other highly extolled varieties, I am not so much surprised as when I first heard it had been purchased from the originator at the hitherto unheard-of price of $4,000. As you will observe, it has a flavor peculiar to itself, and seems not unlike a modification of what President Wilder calls "the native aroma," into a flavor suggestive of the fine foreign Muscats. I do not hesitate to say, the Empire State seems to me, all things considered, one of the most promising new grapes of recent introduction.
Delaware, Ohio. [We were pleased with the Empire. It is evidently of the Clinton class, and has that mixture of sugar and acid that is more acceptable to the majority of palates than honeyed sweetness alone. It will no doubt prove popular. - Ed. G. M].