FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

  • WHERE IS YOUR FARM LOCATED?
     
  • WHEN ARE YOU OPEN?
     
  • HOW LONG DOES THE SEASON LAST?
     
  • HOW DO I CARE FOR MY PURCHASED GRAPES?
     
  • WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CONCORD AND THE NIAGARA VARIETIES OF GRAPES?
     
  • HOW DOES ONE EAT THIS TYPE OF GRAPE?
     
  • WILL GRAPES, LIKE SOME FRUITS, RIPEN FURTHER AFTER THEY ARE PICKED?
     
  • HAVE THE GRAPES BEEN SPRAYED?
     
  • DO I NEED TO WASH/RINSE THE GRAPES?
     

    WHERE IS YOUR FARM LOCATED?

    Our farm is located near Waynesboro, VA in the scenic Shenandoah Valley of Virginia - 25 miles west of Charlottesville, VA, home of the University of Virginia and Monticello. We are approximately 8 miles east of I-81 and 1½ miles south of I-64 off Exit #94 (Waynesboro/Stuarts Draft). Heading south on Route 340, look for a small vineyard by the road on the right. We sell our grapes from the garage area by the white farm house, in behind the vineyard.

    WHEN ARE YOU OPEN?

    Our season begins around the first of September when we open the home stand for customers to come pick their own or purchase ready picked grapes. We open at 8 AM, Monday through Saturday, and close at dark. WE ARE CLOSED ON SUNDAYS. For pick-your-own or small quantities of ready-picked grapes, you do not need to call. If you wish to purchase more than a bushel of ready-picked grapes, it is good to call ahead so we can have them ready.

    HOW LONG DOES THE SEASON LAST?

    The length of harvest depends on several factors - the size of the crop, the quality of the fruit, and the volume of orders. As a general rule, we have grapes through most of September.

    HOW DO I CARE FOR MY PURCHASED GRAPES?

    Concord and Niagara grapes are more perishable, due to high sugar content, than the California type grapes sold through grocery stores. Concord and Niagara grape skins are much softer. They need to be handled with care to keep skins from splitting. We do our best during harvest to pick and handle the grapes with care. They are moved to cold storage here on the farm as soon as they are picked. It is important that they be refrigerated if one is planning to keep them for a while. We've found that placing them in a sealed container in the refrigerator keeps them fresh longer than simply putting them in a bowl. They keep well for several weeks.

    We advise using the grapes fairly quickly after purchase. If one plans to work them up for jam, juice, wine, or to be eaten in a day or two, they can be kept safely in a cool dry area un-refrigerated; but, refrigeration is best.

    WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CONCORD AND THE NIAGARA VARIETIES OF GRAPES?

    The Concord and the Niagara varieties of grapes are both North American in origin. Concords are blue in color, and do not have a reddish glow in the sunlight when ripe. It is a bit more difficult to tell when a Niagara berry is ripe. The berries actually turn from a green shade to a somewhat yellow color when ripe, and they are often referred to as a "white" grape. The amount of sugar in the Concord and Niagara berries continues to rise over the month of September. Both varities are very delicious to eat, great for making juice, jams, and jellies, and for making wine. Each variety has a unique flavor of its own. It's all a matter of taste as to which variety is your favorite.

    HOW DOES ONE EAT THIS TYPE OF GRAPE?

    Concord and Niagara grapes have what is called a slip skin. The usual way of eating this type of grape is to squeeze the berry and swallow the pulp whole, including the seeds, and then throw away the skin. The pulp and skins are a bit sour tasting if chewed, and of course, there are the seeds with which to contend, if chewed. The sweetest part of the berry is the juice right under the skin, so squeeze the berry firmly. There are other preferred ways of eating this type of grape. Some folks will chew the whole grape and swallow the skin, possibly spitting out the seeds.

    WILL GRAPES, LIKE SOME FRUITS, RIPEN FURTHER AFTER THEY ARE PICKED?

    The answer is simply "No." Once the bunch is picked from the vine, all ripening ceases.

    HAVE THE GRAPES BEEN SPRAYED?

    Because of the high humidity and temperatures during the late spring and summer months here in the eastern United States, it is necessary to spray grapes to control fungal diseases. Downey Mildew, Powdery Mildew, and Black Rot are three of the primary diseases to be controlled in Niagara and Concord varieties of grapes. Also, there are a number of insects that need to be controlled as well. Among others, the Japanese Beetle and Grape Berry Moth are the primary insects that do damage to our grapes. We follow the Pest Management Guide issued by the state for our spraying. We have found over the years that watching the weather and spraying at critical times allows us to get by with spraying less often and with less spray material. We try to do a good job of spraying early in the season. When this is done, we have found that we do not need to spray a number of the later season sprays, the sprays that would result in residue buildup on the berries. Typically, our last sprays are put on at the end of July, and our harvest begins in early September, providing at least a month of rains and sunlight to the bunches before they are harvested.

    DO I NEED TO WASH/RINSE THE GRAPES?

    Unlike more firm fruit, a bunch of grapes is very difficult to wash. Rinsing of the grapes can be done, but probably won't do more than what multiple rains and sunlight already do naturally for breaking down possible pesticide residue that may be found on the berries. Again, we do not apply the later cover sprays in order to keep spray residue to a minimum. If there is still concern about ingesting the spray residue, try the typical way of eating this type of grape, as explained above, by squeezing out the middle and throwing away the skin.

    Visiting our Virginia Vineyards

    If you are interested in visiting our grape farm, please see directionsIf you have any questions not answered above, please feel free to contact us.

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