Isabella grapes are one of the few natural hybrids created by nature itself. Berries of this variety are widely used as raw materials not only for famous high-quality wine, but also for compotes or preserves.
A natural hybrid based on the Vitis labrusca species and the Vitis vinifera species has been discovered in North America and became very popular in many countries of the world, including the territory of the Soviet Union. Isabella grapes are not regionalized, grown in Georgia, Abkhazia, Azerbaijan, Dagestan, in the Krasnodar Territory, as well as in the Crimea and Moldova.
The name "Isabella" was obtained after the discovery of this form of grapes in Dorchester in 1816. The amateur Brooklyn gardener William Price gave the name to the find in honor of his friend's wife - Isabella Gibbs, who was a famous southern beauty.
Well-known synonyms of the variety are:
- "Isabelle" (also "Izabella", "Fragola") in Italy;
- "Albany Surprise" in New Zealand;
- "Seksarda," or "Bangalore-Blue," in India.
In Russia, the variety is in demand by amateur gardeners of the Chernozem Region, Moscow Region and Siberia, where it is often cultivated as a non-covering culture.
Isabella grapes: features of cultivation
The great demand for Isabella grapes among gardeners and consumers is due to the ability to use the variety not only fresh, but also for making wines, fortified juices, and tasty and healthy jams. In addition, the vine is very decorative.
Bushes can be vigorous and medium growth. The leaves are medium or large in size, almost solid. The lower part of the leaves is covered with a fairly thick, felt type of pubescence. Shoots are characterized by fairly good ripening.
Type of flowering bisexual. Bunches are formed medium in size, cylindrical in shape. Rarely can the presence of characteristic wings be observed. A ripened grape brush has medium density, but may be loose. Berries do not fit tightly together.
Technical characteristics of berries
Berries of medium size, characteristic round shape. The rather mucous pulp has a very pronounced strawberry harmonious taste, is covered with black skin, strong, but completely eaten. The peel is very easily separated from the ripe pulp.
The sugar content of juice obtained at the stage of full ripeness of berries is on average 18%. The acidity of grape juice can vary from 6 to 8 g / l. Ripe berries contain too much carbohydrate with not enough high calorie content. For 100 g of pulp of grapes of this variety are:
- proteins of the order of 0.60 g;
- fats of the order of 0.25 g;
- carbohydrates of the order of 16.63 g, which is almost 6% of the daily norm.
The calorie content of Isabella grapes is 65.88 kcal, or 275 kJ.
The famous Isabella grape variety, in addition to its versatility, has a large number of advantages, known to many amateur gardeners and experienced winegrowers from different countries:
- cultivation in root form is allowed;
- shoots ripen very well;
- increased resistance to lesions of mildew, oidium (to a lesser extent) and gray rot;
- yield up to 50 kg and more, subject to the irrigation regime;
- possesses increased resistance to the root type of phylloxera;
- increased resistance to frost in the winter.
In addition, the ripened clusters are perfectly preserved for a long time on the bushes.
Benefit and harm
Grapes are a very useful berry. The variety "Isabella" is not an exception, the ripe berries of which possess:
- the ability to normalize blood pressure;
- a significant amount of antioxidants and anthocyanins that have a beneficial effect on the human body;
- a positive effect on the blood formation and vascular system of the body;
- property to increase hemoglobin due to the high content in iron juice.
The ripe berries of this grape variety contain catechins, polyphenols, vitamins, minerals and other components that are indispensable for the human body. Eating Isabella grapes has a beneficial effect on performance and, without resorting to medication, improves immunity. Grape stem juice has the same properties as Echinacea tincture. Leaves are used as an excellent natural remedy for cough and runny nose in the cold season.
For many winemakers, the ban on the use of Isabella grapes in commercial winemaking in America was a big surprise. due to the presence of a very specific aroma, as well as the excess of permissible concentrations of methanol in wines. However, most winegrowers and winemakers still use this variety to make high-quality wines and respond to the ban as a protectionist policy of the EU.
Landing and care
Before planting seedlings, soil assessment should be carried out. Clay soil needs good drainage. The presence of a large amount of peat in the vineyard area requires the addition of sand. Manure or compost is used to improve sandy soil.
Features of planting and growing grapes "Isabella" are as follows:
- the landing area should be characterized by the absence of stagnation of cold air masses and the proximity of groundwater;
- the distance between plants in a row is one and a half meters, and in the row spacing not less than two meters;
- two weeks before planting, you should dig the soil qualitatively, adding lime if necessary at the rate of 0.2 kg per square meter;
- planting pits for grape seedlings should have dimensions of about 80 x 80 x 80 cm;
- the bottom of the pit should be sprinkled with a 10 cm thick drainage layer of small pebbles, gravel or gravel;
- in the center of the landing pit, it is necessary to install a wooden peg or a thick reinforcement rod as a support under the vine;
- a drainage layer is sprinkled with soil with manure or compost, 0.3 kg of superphosphates, 0.1 kg of potassium salts and a small amount of wood ash;
- the nutrient layer should be sprinkled with ordinary fertile soil, performing a small elevation in the center of the planting pit, on which the root system of the seedling is installed;
- Planted seedlings should be abundantly watered, after which you need to add soil or mulch the area with peat.
Further care is to comply with agricultural practices, represented by abundant watering during drought and flowering, mulching the soil and sheltering young plants during the winter frosts.
Pruning should be carried out after falling off the foliage from the shrub and the transition of the plant to the dormant phase. Isabella grapes refers to varieties in which the vines are pruned shorter, leaving 5 to 8 eyes. Experienced gardeners usually prune the vine of a given variety in early spring, approximately 30-40 days before the eyes awaken.
The best grades of wine from Isabella grapes
The Isabella grape variety is a technical tableware, which means that it is better to make table wine or juices from the berries of this variety than to use them fresh. The wines of this variety have a light structure and bright berry aromas with a characteristic strawberry tint. In Austria, a unique local wine called "Uhudler" is made from this grape.
The most famous wines from Isabella grapes are:
- semi-sweet red wine from Moldova under the brand name "Dolce Vino";
- semi-sweet pink wine "Chizay";
- dry red wine "Radeda" from "Wines and Beverages of Abkhazia";
- red sweet wine "Bouquet of Abkhazia".
Amateur winegrowers cultivate and make wonderful homemade wines from Isabella grapes on their own.
You may also be interested in an article in which we talk about grapes of the Furor variety.
Many gardeners and winegrowers began their homestead viticulture precisely with the cultivation of the problem-free and very unpretentious Isabella, and only then, having gained invaluable experience, they acquired more demanding and modern varieties or hybrids. This grape variety grows on personal plots quickly and confidently enough. With minimal care, yields are stable and high.
How to make wine from Isabella grapes
Isabella grapes quickly adapt and perfectly bear fruit in different regions according to climate and weather conditions. For its cultivation, preference should be given to poorly known fertile soils. According to gardeners, this variety shows high winter hardiness and easily withstands frosts down to -30 ° C. The Isabella grape bushes are not sensitive to high humidity and are resistant to fungal diseases, which makes this variety attractive for home viticulture.