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.
A CORRESPONDENT of the Pacific Rural Press, writing from Napa county, estimates the value of raisins annually imported into the United States greater than the whole grape crop produced in California. Thinks there is. no reason why this demand of the country for foreign grown raisins cannot be supplied from the vineyards of that State; that more attention than hitherto should be given to the production of raisin and table grapes. Upon the best varieties of grapes for the purposes of wine, raisins and the table, and the best method for curing the fruit for raisins, the writer remarks:
"I would, not advise any one to confine himself to one kind of grape, but a grape which will admirably meet either one or all of these demands would seem to be entitled to the first place, and this I claim for the Muscat of Alexandria. It is one of the best table grapes both in flavor and keeping qualities, and as far as my experience goes, after trying some thirty different kinds, unequaled for raisins. It also commands the highest price for wine. If any one knows a better raisin grape, he will confer a favor on hundreds by publishing the fact in the Press. The Flame, Tokay and BlackMoroc co will bear transportation better than other grapes. For red wine I prefer the Zinfindel and Rose of Peru. For white wine, German Muscatel, Riesling, Berger and German Chasslas. These grapes in this valley this year brought twenty-five dollars per ton for wine, and but a small part of the demand was supplied. No reflecting man of this day will plant the Mission variety. The net profit of the foreign vines in my own vineyard this year was more than double that from my Mission vines, acre for acre.
" Now a word about making raisins. I will give you my idea, derived from experiments on a small scale, it is true, but £ think it equally applicable to a large operation. All raisins that I have seen made by artificial heat have a cooked taste. They can be made in the open air in the early part of the season, but they are exposed to great loss and damage by insects, bees, wasps, birds and squirrels, and liable to be ruined by rain.
"My plan is this: construct a building with a single glass roof sloping to the south, the lower side of the roof reaching nearly to the ground, the ends and sides boarded tight, with double doors at each end of the building, the outside doors of wood, the inside doors of wire cloth. The floor should be of earth, stone or concrete; this, with a curtain to draw over the glass roof when the sun is too hot makes the whole complete. Opening the outside doors gives the necessary ventilation in the daytime, and closing them at nighttime keeps the room warm all night without artificial heat. The room of course can be made any length or width desired. I have made raisins that have been pronounced equal to any imported ones."