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A tasty, healthy and sophisticated dessert is grape berries: shiny, juicy, as if radiating from the inside from the sunlight accumulated by them. One of the most popular table varieties is the Cardinal grape. It seems that these grapes have collected the best features that are expected from the fruits of a generous southern vine - visual appeal and unsurpassed taste. This is exactly what its creators, Californian breeders, aspired to in the distant 30s of the last century. Two decades later, domestic scientists began to work on a promising vine with the aim of bringing out more winter-hardy bushes.
Knowing the history of the creation of the Cardinal grape variety, it is strange to understand that he is by no means an Italian guest. Its bright, picturesque vine and leaves are firmly associated with the landscapes of the Apennine Peninsula. Despite the care that must be taken to surround the bushes of this variety, in the south of Russia it still occupies a worthy place among table vines. Still, the original form of the Cardinal grapes is inimitable and is worth the increased attention of winegrowers.
Features and characteristics of the variety
A specific property of the massive bunches of the Black Cardinal is early ripening. The grapes reach ripeness 110-120 days after the start of the growing season, usually in mid-August. The heat-loving vine is distinguished by strong and fast growth under favorable conditions - up to 3 m. The bark of the Cardinal grape variety is of a characteristic bright brown color, darker at the nodes. Large, five-lobed, jagged leaves along the edge are light green in spring, then acquire a rich dark shade. The flowers of this variety are bisexual, well pollinated.
Cylinder-conical grape clusters are large - up to 25 cm, in width - up to 15 cm. Loose, on a long stem, which easily breaks off the vine, with an average weight of 400 g. On old bushes, the yield is more significant than on young ones. One shoot can produce two clusters of 0.5 kg each. When tasting the fruits of the Cardinal variety, they received an assessment of 8-9 points. They are transportable and can be stored for up to 3 months.
Dark purple or violet-red berries - the difference in description due to the mineral composition of the soil - large, oval, sometimes more rounded, covered with a noticeable waxy bloom. Sometimes they have a beveled top with a groove. The weight of one berry is 6-10 g with sizes up to 1.5-3 cm. The skin is dense, but it is easy to bite through it. The pulp is fleshy, light, pleasant to the taste, with noble notes of nutmeg. The berries of the Cardinal grapes are sweet, with a slight sourness: the sugar content to acid is 2: 1. The sugar index in berries of this variety is up to 18.0 g per 100 ml.
Advantages and disadvantages of early maturing grapes
When choosing a grape variety for their garden, everyone thinks about the merits of the bush and decides whether the harvest is worth the labor.
- The Cardinal grapes have an advantage in early maturity and large-fruited;
- Berries have an increased sugar content and an amazing taste;
- With good care, high yields are guaranteed;
- Berries are suitable for transportation and are stored for a long time.
There are also negative touches.
- Low winter hardiness up to -200C. In the conditions of the middle zone, it needs special careful care;
- The Cardinal vine is susceptible to the rapid spread of disease. In autumn, its tops are often affected by mildew, oidium, bacterial cancer, so prevention is necessary;
- In rainy weather, the berries can be covered with gray rot;
- The berries on the bunches ripen uncommonly. To solve the problem, it is necessary to carry out timely processing with iron sulfate.
Advice! Iron vitriol contributes to the development of the grape bush.
Spraying enriches the plant with iron. The shoots grow more often and become more powerful, respectively, the yield increases. The berries will be large and healthy, without peas.
Planting and caring for a grape bush
The Cardinal grape variety reproduces well by grafting and layering. If the rootstock is strong, the berries will be larger. Propagated by cuttings in the spring, using cut shoots. Autumn planting is preferable; care consists in a thorough shelter for the winter. You should seriously approach the choice of a place for a seedling of Cardinal grapes. It can only be in a southern direction, sunny, with good soil. The bush of this variety prefers black soil, but it grows on other soils.
Attention! When planning a planting site for a seedling of Cardinal grapes, it is necessary to take into account that varieties that are unstable to diseases do not grow nearby.
- Grape bushes are moisture-loving, but watering must be regulated: excess moisture leads to cracking and decay of the berries. Timely drainage will come to the rescue. The vine needs moisture when buds and ovaries appear;
- In autumn and spring, the obligatory mulching of the Cardinal grape bushes with compost or humus. Complex fertilizers are applied before and after flowering;
- Due to the instability to disease, the valuable vine must be treated with fungicides (colloidal sulfur, Ridomil and others);
- Vines of this variety tolerate short cuttings normally. From three to six eyes are left on the shoot;
- In late autumn, before frost, the Cardinal grape bushes are carefully covered with mulch, straw, hay.
Californian guest family
In many countries, on the basis of early ripe grapes Cardinal created and continue to create masterpieces of table varieties. In Russia, it has acquired numerous relatives, thanks to the efforts of breeders, scientists and amateurs. First of all, we worked to promote the valuable tasty berry to the north. The famous and popular vines of Arcadia, Anapa Cardinal, Crimean Cardinal, Nadezhda, Sofia, Transfiguration, Monarch and others were bred.
Photo of a bunch of Nadezhda AZOS
Many of the new varieties are created on the basis of Cardinal's material and the frost-resistant Criuleni grapes. This vine from Moldova with pink berries can withstand frosts down to -280 With no cover and is resistant to rot, phylloxera and spider mites. The bred varieties are triumphantly parading through amateur vineyards under the name Cardinal: Sustainable, AZOS and Lux. They were born at the Anapa Zonal Experimental Station (AZOS), where 16 hybrids were grown on the basis of the "American".
The bunches of Cardinal sustainable weigh up to 900 g, the berries are dark pink, with a light taste of nutmeg. Withstands frosts down to -220 S. Cardinal Krymsky is distinguished by the earliest ripening period - up to 100 days. But its pink berries with a clear nutmeg flavor per kilogram bunch received a reduced tasting rating - 8.1.
In grapes of the Cardinal AZOS or Lux variety (the bush has a double name), the color varies from dark pink or red-blue to dark, the weight of the bunch is stable - 0.5 kg, very often - up to 1 kg. For the table variety, the sugar content is significant, here it is increased to 22 percent. Accordingly, during the tasting, he received 8.7 points. In vigorous, high-yielding bushes, both resistance to fungal diseases and frost resistance are increased - up to -220 FROM.
Photo of a bunch of Cardinal AZOS
The future belongs to hybrid forms of grapes. Thanks to painstaking selection, amateurs are already growing this table grapes in the Volga region. And, it is quite possible that in the 21st century its bunches - a source of endorphins, hormones of joy - will appear in the gardens of the South Urals and Siberia.
Rodion S., 27 years old, Volgograd region.
My father and I have been cultivating Cardinal grape varieties for a long time. The work is very laborious, we process a lot of vines, but the costs are well paid off. Our berries ripen in the first decade of August. Bunches weigh 600-800 g, sugar content - from 16%. They tolerate transportation well. For a serious grower, this variety must definitely grow.
Svetlana Zh., 46 years old, Akhtubinsk
Cardinal grapes are the decoration of our yard. Colorful huge brushes simply delight the heart. And you even forget that there is so much care near the vine! Of course, it is unstable, there are problems, but whoever tried to grow these berries will not give up on them.
Petr Nikolaevich, 63 years old, Saratov
For me, Cardinal grapes are the standard of taste and weight of the bunch. I look up to him if I want to try some other vine. Sick, requires a lot of care, but what a taste! My berries ripen in the middle - towards the end of August. If there are many bunches, it drags on until September.