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.
P. Barry regarded the Isabella as the only one of established reputation that he would be willing to plant extensively in Western New York. L. F. Allen thought the Isabella would not ripen well in most localities, and he looked to earlier and newer sorts as likely to prove better. H. E. Hooker had seen other varieties he would prefer to the Isabella, but his experience had not yet been sufficient with them, and among these he named Diana. W. B. Smith, of Syracuse, and T. C. Maxwell, of Geneva, decidedly recommended the Isabella, if favorable localities could be selected. - Peck, of Bloomfield, had a vineyard of Isabella that ripened the present very unfavorable year. As commonly grown through the country, with neglect in culture and pruning, the Isabella does not ripen. He keeps his grapes for winter in as cool a place as possible, in open barrels; he finds it better to have them open to the air than if covered. He uses tubs made of barrels sawed in two, as being preferable to baskets, which, yielding, are apt to bruise the fruit; he cuts the stems in picking, and is especially careful to remove every imperfect or decayed specimen, which will taint all the rest.
To send off, he packs them closely in pasteboard boxes, packed tightly, so as not to shake or rattle; he sent them in perfect condition in this way to Iowa by express.
W. B. Smith, of Syracuse, had packed them in alternate layers of cotton batting in pasteboard boxes, in a cold cellar, and had preserved them till the 10th of Jnne in good condition, except a slight taste of cotton. C. P. Bissell had packed them without cotton, and kept them in fine condition till March. C. Parsons, of Geneseo, had kept Isabella grapes till April; had put down generally about eight bushels (only for family use), and he had plenty all through winter. He had found them to keep best in a cold place, packed tight in boxes in alternate layers. The cotton and close covers kept them from being frozen, although in one instance the thermometer in the garret where they were placed had sunk to five degrees below zero. Several members spoke of the importance of handling them as little as possible, and of avoiding the use of baskets on this account; and also the necessity of full maturity to facilitate long keeping - that a slight frost does not injure a fully ripe grape, while it would injure or destroy an immature one. Bunches with green stems were not ripe. There is no doubt that different degrees of moisture in the different apartments used for packing them away may greatly affect the success of different modes, and the wetness of the season may exert a like influence.
Several members mentioned instances where girdling, or tying cords around the bearing vines, had greatly increased the size of the grapes, and much hastened their maturity, but this portion of the vine was of course of no use afterwards; but the mode might be adopted where the renewal system is employed. This practice, however, as P. Barry stated, injured the part below the ligature, by withholding the nourishment which would otherwise descend to that part and to the root. As a proof of the importance of leaves to the plant and root, he stated that he had known of some cases where the mistaken notion of picking them off to let in the sun on the fruit had been extensively adopted, and it had destroyed the vines. Country Gentleman.