Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Sovereign Ruby Grape "It's Alive"

So we have a short row of sovereign ruby vines to see how they grow and to see just what kind of grape and juice they produce.  Have to say we've got a bit of a soft spot for those grapes created in Canada and now we have one created in each of the key wine regions in Canada. L'Acadie Blanc was created in Ontario, Evangeline created in Nova Scotia, Vandal Cliche created in Quebec, and Sovereign Ruby created in British Columbia. And you've got to love the regal name "Sovereign Ruby",  It reminds one of the "Black Prince Ruby" in the Royal Crown (which in essence is a sovereign ruby).

To be specific, Sovereign Ruby (the vine) was created at the Summerland research station in British Columbia as a cross between Bath and Pearl of Csaba and was known as Summerland 82 before being named Sovereign Ruby.  Not much is known about the grape and juice except that it was similar to its sister vine Sovereign Rose (Summerland 80) which is of the same crossing.  There is some other data that says it is a pink grape, with small clusters, that has a nice muscat aroma and good juice chemistry for wine making. Given that one parent is Pearl of Csaba these qualities fit. Not exactly a vinifera but then again the "Black Prince Ruby" is not exactly the gemstone of its' namesake (Psst - its not a ruby). Hopefully desease resistance and cold hardiness was imparted by the other parent - Bath.  Its also supposed to be quite vigorous and given the growth so far in our "sand" I would agree that it is.

It was created as part of the same Summerland Research Station breeding program from the 1970's and 1980's that produced hundreds of new varieites and created Sovereign Coronation (Patricia x Himrod) the popular seedless blue (fresh eating) grape. It also produced Sovereign Opal (Marechal Foch x Golden Muscat) the awesome white grape that is grown and vinified into outstanding white wine at Calona Vinaeyard in BC.  Really - if you have not tried Calona Vineyard's Sovereign Opal you need to keep your eye out for this one - especially for summer patio season. Unfortunately most of these grapes that were created in this program were pulled out, never got recognition and have been lost - but we're glad we found this one alive and we will see how it does.

Our vines are just into year two and they all wintered well, are growing well in our "sand"  and have produced several flower clusters on each vine. We've pinched all flowers off except 1 cluster on each vine.  Probably should just pinch them all off but I'm really curious as to the flavour and ripening time.  Although a second year vine won't really give the best example of ripened fruit, we will get a rough idea of timing and flavour.

No pictures yet but we'll cover the vines with netting and update the harvest chart with the data in the fall.