If you’re anything like me, you probably wish “good for you” food items tasted more like candy. Luckily some grape farmers have the same mind set. They have begun creating sweet, tasty, and candy-like grapes.
The days of only red or green grapes, seedless or seeded are long gone. If you’ve stopped into Nino’s recently, you’ve probably noticed our expanding grape selection. More specifically you’ve seen our black, sapphire skinned Moon Drops, chili pepper shaped Tear Drops, and the sought after Cotton Candy grapes, which actually taste like cotton candy.
To give you a better idea of what you’re going to experience with each of these three grapes, we’ve provided some information and history for each.
The Moon Drop grape grows in tight clusters. It has a very juicy, sweet interior. The grapes are so crisp they can be snapped in two, revealing the green seedless pulp. Like other black grape varieties, they are a good source of antioxidants, flavonoids and vitamins A, C and K. The history of the Moon Drop® grape starts in 1996, when Jack Pandol founded his revolutionary business, The Grapery®. With generations of family experience in the vineyards and a degree in Viticulture from UC Davis, Jack began breeding exciting new varieties through a partnership with International Fruit Genetics.
Tear Drop grapes have a peculiar elongated shape that tapers at one end, much like that of a chili pepper. They grow in tightly compacted clusters that can become quite heavy due to grapes’ larger than average size. The thin and tender skin is light red to maroon with green tinges, while the translucent inner flesh is crisp and juicy. They have a very sweet flavor that is reminiscent of plums. First grown in 2002, and formally known as Witch Fingers, they were developed through a breeding program with International Fruit Genetics and the Grapery of Bakersfield, CA. These finger-shaped grapes are now grown exclusively at only one vineyard in the San Joaquin Valley.
Cotton candy grapes are in season from August 10 to September 20.
Cotton candy grapes are becoming more popular because they actually taste like cotton candy. This is made possible because of plant breeding, meaning that farmers who cultivate these grapes cross different types of grapes together. David Cain, a horticulturist, and his team at the International Fruit Genetics in Bakersfield, California mixed two types of grapes — a Concord-like grape and seedless Vitis vineferia, which is a grape vine commonly found in the Mediterranean. Cain told NPR that the whole process takes at least six years — sometimes 15 years.