Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Vitis californica.

I once said I wouldn't "clamber through a thicket" to get a closer look at Vitis californica: I lied.  This morning I did indeed find myself fighting through some riparian habitat to get a closer look at California's wild grape.  This rather sizable vine is growing on the western bank of the Napa River, just at the point where the Oakville Crossroad passes over the watercourse.
The vines become quite visible this time of year as the leaves begin to turn yellow.  There is a wonderful specimen, teeming with grape clusters, quite close to where I live that has climbed 12 - 15 feet up through a very accommodating tree.  However, the vine is on the side of an extremely busy road and there is no possible way that I could safely get out of the car to photograph it.  So I had to be content with this Oakville vine.  But because this vine was more accessible, I was actually able to taste a wild, California grape for the first time ever.  Yummy!


Dennis Tsiorbas said...

VG: I can smell them clear-across the country:-)
Those dangerous roads cause a forfeiture of more good photos than I can count!

Thomas said...

Describe the taste, please.

I want to compare it with the Northeast natives.

Vinogirl said...

NHW: Yes, traffic can get in the way of good photographic opportunities.

Tomasso: Well, the grape was still a bit tart (ate a plump one), just grapey really...no foxy character.
What is the NE native called, Vitis Tomassii?

Thomas said...


There are four (or is it five?) Northeast natives:
Vitis labrusca, rotundifolio, aestivalis (sp), riparia...

and some of the grape varieties people know and consider natives are actually hybrids: catawba, concord, and more.