Vine, the Common, or Vitis vinifera, L. a native of Japan, and the warmer regions of Asia : it has for centuries been raised in Britain; though its culture is most successful in the temperate climates, or between the 30th and 50th degree of northern latitude.
There are numerous varieties of this valuable shrub, which are cultivated for the delicious grapes they afford. Without entering into an account of their respective periods of maturation, we shall simply state the names of the most remarkable sorts ; point out such as are peculiarly serviceable; and conclude with an account of their culture.
1. The July grape, or Morillon Noir Hatif. - 2. The Royal Muscadine. - 3. The Malmsey Muscadine. - 4. The Black Muscadine. - 5. The White Muscat of Alexandria. - 6. The Red Muscat of Alexandria. - 7. The White Muscat of Lunel. - 8. The Black Muscadel. - 9. The Red Muscadel. - 10. The Black Damascus. - 11. The Black Tripoli. - 12. The Black Spanish, or Alicant. - 13. The Black Lisbon. - 14. The Black Frontiniac, or Mus cat Noir. - 15. The Red Frontiniac, or Muscat Rouge. - 16. The White Frontiniac, or Muscat Blanc. - 17. The Grizzly Frontiniac. - 18. The Red Hamburgh. - 19. The White Hamburgh. - 20. The White Morillon. - 21. The Early White Grape of Teneriffe. - 22. The Cio-tat, or White Parsley-leaved Grape. - 23. The White Corinth. - 24. The Aleppo Grape. - 25. The Red Grape of Syracuse. - 26. the Cveur, or Morocco Grape. - 27. The Black Raisin. - 28. The White Raisin. - 2g. The Malvoise, or Blue Tokay. - 30. The Genuine, or White Tokay. - 31. The Lombardy. - 32. The Smyrna. - 33.The Brick. - 34. The Claret. - 35. The Syrian Grape. - 30. The Auverna, or Genuine Burgundy. - 37. The Cat's Grape. - 38. The Greek Grape. - . 39. the Black Corinth. - 40. The Cornichon. - 41 .The Red Chaselas. - 42. The Black Prince. - 43. The Black Burgundy. - And, 44. The White Early Leipzig. - See also vol. iii. p. 311.
To these may be added, the White, or Common Muscadine, having fine, round amber-coloured berries, and a rich vinous flavour. - The White Sweet-water, which bears large, white fruit, and abounds with an agreeable juice. - The' Small Black Cluster, produces oval berries, which have a pleasant saccharine taste. - The Large Black cluster presents more bulky grapes than the preceding variety; but which, on account of their rough, harsh taste, are not edible in a fresh state, and therefore chiefly converted into Port-wine. - The Miller Grape, or New Muscat of Jerusalem, yields large, round, red fruit ; which, in prosperous seasons, attains nearly the size of goosebe ries. - The Black Hamburgh produces fine clusters of oval, black berries, that possess a sweet, vinous flavour. - All these varieties are recommended by horticultu-rists, as being eminently adapted to small gardens. - It is a remarkable historical fact, that, a few centuries since, the extensive Vale of Gloucester was industriously planted with this delightful shrub; from the grapes of which. England was then chiefly supplied with excellent native wines.
In the first case, the seed should be set toward the end of February, or early in March, in pots con-taining light rich mould ; and be plunged in hot-beds of a moderate heat. During warm weather, they ought to be gently watered in the afternoon, when the frames should be carefully closed. About the end of August, the young plants are to be gradually exposed to the air, so that they may become hardened before the approach of winter; but, in the latter season, they must be sheltered by frames, covered with mats. After having attained the height of about six inches, it will be proper to remove them into larger pots, filled with similar soil; to immerse them again in the hotbed ; and to tie them to slender sticks, or rods, in order to prevent them from trailing. Towards the end of the succeeding March, or in the beginning of April, they may be planted against the wall, at which they are intended to remain. In this situation, Mr. Forsyth directs them to be cut at the third eye, if they be vigorous ; but, in the contrary case, at the second: the lower bud, however, must be rubbed off, as soon as it appears.
If vines are designed to be raised from cuttings, these ought to be selected from strong and full grown shoots, which should be cut perfectly smooth, immediately beneath the part where they were produced, and have one or two joints of the last year's wood. The cuttings must be planted against walls, at the distance of one foot from each other, and at such depth, that the second eye may be level with the ground; but the lower eye ought to be rubbed off, on its first appearance; because, if that operation be delayed, the upper eye will be injured in removing the former. Runners and lateral shoots should likewise be cut off, excepting two which are to be trained against the wall.
Vines may also be propagated by layers. For this purpose, let the most vigorous shoots be laid in pots filled with, fresh mould, and placed about two inches beneath the surface of the ground ; the incision being made in the old wood below a joint, so as to leave one or two eyes on each. When the shoots or layers have taken root, they must be separated from the parent stock; manured with rotten dung or leaves; and watered twice a week during dry summers : all lateral excrescences should also be picked off, and the layers treated in the same manner as the cuttings. During the first year, vines will not advance rapidly; but, in the second, the strongest may be easily distinguished, and these may be suffered to stand, while the weaker ones must be transplanted to other situations.
The quality and size of grapes depend greatly on the strength of the plant on which they grow - Mr. Forsyth, therefore, recommends the vines to be cut down to two or three eyes, in the first year, if there be a superfluity of naked wood. In the following year, a considerable increase of fine wood will be obtained, when all runners, etc. must be picked off; and the main shoots be nailed to the wall, progressively as they increase in length. During fine weather, it will be advisable to examine them every second or third week, and speedily to remove every lateral shoot. No farther attention will be required, excepting that all weeds must be carefully eradicated; for otherwise the growth of the vines would be impeded. - In the month of February, in the second year, the pruning should be repeated ; and three buds be left to each of the strongest main shoots; but in those of a weaker growth, two eyes only must be permitted to remain. Mr. F. observes, that his composition (see vol. i. p. 88 ; and also p. 238 of the present vol.) ought to be applied as early as possible, after each pruning; for the vine, being very porous, speedily imbibes moisture, and thus quickly decays : should it accidentally have been cut at a late season, it will be necessary to sprinkle the powder of the preparation before quoted over the wound, till the bleeding or flow of the sap be completely checked.
Numerous insects prey upon the vine ; which, unless timely destroyed, will totally kill the plant: as we have already stated the best methods of exterminating them, in the articles Hot-house, Insects, Red Spider, Pine-apple, etc, we shall here only remark, that their depre dations may, in a great measure, he prevented by watering the vines, three times in the week ; a simple expedient by which the luxuriance of this shrub, as well as the swelling of its fruit, will be greatly promoted.
When the clusters are very large, and the grapes begin to ripen, it will be useful to cover them with ; nets ; or with buntiue, a stuff that serves for the flags of ships; and which will not exclude the sun and air from the fruit, while the latter is protected from the ravages of birds. The leaves, however, should only be plucked off in small portions, as often as the grapes are gathered ; by which method these will continue in succession for a much longer period than could be effected, by hastily removing all the foliage from their branches. Those readers, who are desirous to obtain farther information, relative to the raising of grapes, will consult Mr. SpeRchlEy's " Treatise on the Culture of the Vine, " 4to. ; and Mr. Forsyth's "Treatise on the Culture and Management of Fruit-trees." etc. in which the subject is amply discussed.
Vines are chiefly valued on account of their delirious GRapEs; but they may be made subservient to many other useful purposes : thus, the young twigs, when dried, cut into small pieces, and moistened with water, afford a wholesome food for cattle, and particularly for horses. - Dr. Darwin conjectures, that the leaves of the variety, which produces purple grapes, would impart a colour, and astringency of taste, to British wines, similar to those derived from the skin of the same grape, in foreign vinous li-quors. - The wood of vines reduced to charcoal, affords (according to Jacobi, a reputable German writer) an excellent blue colour for painting and drawing. He employed equal quantities of fixed vegetable alkali, and vine-coal: after melting the former in a crucible, he gradually introduced the latter; both were allowed to act on each other, till the ebulition ceased; when the compound was poured out, dissolved in rain-water, and precipitated with spirit of vitriol ; in consequence of which the ley, and especially the sediment, assumed a deep blue cast. After edulcorating this powder, by repeated washings in fresh water, and then calcining it, he obtained a very bright and pleasing blue pigment, which acquired a dark blackish hue, on dissolving it in oil of vitriol; though its lustre and shade were instantly re-produced, on diluting the solution with pure water. - Lastly, we learn from Binder, another German author, that the purified stones or seeds of grapes, when moderately roasted, and ground in a coffee-mill, serve as a good substitute for chocolate; which, on the proper addition of sugar, cinna-mon and a little Vanilla, is very grateful to the palate, and cannot be readily distinguished from the genuine sort prepared of cacao.