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.
Dear Sir: - I notice in the Horticulturist for the current month, a communication from R. G. Pardee, Esq., on the California Grape, in which it is stated on the authority of Capt. H - , of the U. S. army, and lady, "as far as their observation extended, and certainly in the vicinity of San Diego, there is no such thing as a native or wild growing grape to be found." Possibly in the vicinity of San Diego there may not be; but to my certain knowledge - native or wild growing grapes abound on the forks of the American river, the fruit of which I have seen and eaten. I have also been informed by Mr. Egbert Jansoif of this city who has spent a year or more in the mining districts, and ethers, that the wild grape is abundant On the Upper Sacramento and its tributaries - Feather river arid its branches, the Yuba, Bear creek, &C;
The native grape resembles somewhat our native, the Fox, having berries, however, a little larger, of a shade darker color, and being less astringent; oratory, and to us vegetable starved diggers, they were quite palatable.
But in correcting the error of Capt. H - '-s as to the native grape, I am able to confirm his statement as to the high excellence and superiority of the cultivated variety - except perhaps, as to the she of cluster and berry, which in both respects, in the specimens I saw, were rather below than above the Catawba. This was owing, perhaps, to difference of locality and culture, (mine having been grown at San Jose,) while doubtless, too, his were the better, while mine were the more indifferent specimens - which had undergone a land carriage of eighty or one hundred miles, but which were retailed readily to the miners at a dollar a pound.
I think "the California Grape*' Would be an acquisition with us - or rather, perhaps, farther south; but doubt whether it Wonld maintain its high excellence in our comparatively wet and variable climate this side of the Rocky Mountains. I agree fully with those who regard the soil and climate of California highly favorable to the culture of the grape; awl attribute much of the superiority of this grape to these Circumstances. Yours.
T. A. S.
P. 8. While visiting California, in the spring of 1849,1 took a box of the seed of the Black Hamburgh and Early White Muscat, which were planted by the side of my log cabin, and around stumpa in the vicinity. Possibly California will become celebrated at some future day, for the superiority of a new natian grape.