This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
This is an important inquiry. With me, three-quarters of the seasons the Isabella does not ripen. It is poor, insipid, and worthless. There now is a sort of grape mania for some better grape. Hundreds and hundreds of seedlings will be brought forward, and the public mind is sensitive to know if we have any good varieties equal to the Isabella, and that ripen earlier. If we can get such they will be valuable. People call the Isabella ripe as soon as they become a little brownish; but the Isabella, when fully ripe, is a dead black - as black as any Concord I ever saw.
Mr. Barry would mention that old favorite the Clinton - small, but never drops, ripens early, and keeps till New Year's day. Is most easily propagated, will run and bear everywhere, whether pruned or not. If we ever turn our attention to wine-making, the Clinton will be the grape.
Mr. Covey had kept the Clinton until the last of February; and the longer they were kept, the sweeter they were.
Mr. Hoag here remarked that the Diana was an excellent keeper.
Dr. Miner, of Monroe county, had raised the Diana for five years - five hundred and more vines. In same condition, upon same trellis, had found them produce as much weight as Isabella, but far better in quality and earlier in ripening. Never got a ripe Isabella in same locations were the Diana ripened every year, and quality was far superior. Had raised Clinton longer than Diana, but considered it worthless as a table grape, by the side of the Diana.
The Society then, by a unanimous vote, recommended the Diana for general cultivation in western New York.