Saturday, 11 August 2018

a high-toned, candied muskiness

We’ve just been made aware that the common North American grape variety for wines, juices and jams is called the Niagara and is a hybrid of the European species Vitis vinifera and the native Vitis labrusca—the fox grape, named for its earthy character and cause of and partial, unsatisfying rescue from the French wine blight of the 1850s due to its export overseas with a pernicious aphid in tow—through this illustration from the 1901 Woodlawn Nurseries Spring seed catalogue. The grape was first created through selective cross-breeding in 1868 and are cultivated along the eastern seaboard and in the province of Ontario. It was also nice to be reminded that there was once a convention of the mail-order seed catalogue that while by its nature is a nod to competition and proprietorship also recalls a time when barriers to entry were low and farmers and gardeners weren’t beholden to one source.