Exciting times for us in the Texas Pierce’s Disease Program as we are getting the first look at some of the new PD resistant and tolerant grape varieties. Grape harvest has started this past week with the first varieties ripening in our new variety trials at Industry, Texas. Industry is located in the old colonial capital of Texas- Austin County, is the site of one of our two evaluation sites for over 30 new and heirloom varieties that will not die from this endemic disease. Companion trials were planted in Leakey this past year and should begin bearing fruit next season. Our goal is to evaluate these new varieties for their ability to withstand fungal pathogens, and ripen with high quality under our heat and unpredictable rainfall patterns.
Pictured here is the new variety released by Texas AgriLife, the University of Arkansas and Tarkington Vineyards ‘Victoria Red’ . While actually released as a seeded table grape, ‘Victoria Red’ is also being evaluated as a neutral wine for blending. In addition to being PD tolerant, this grape reaches large size (9-11 grams) without girdling, cluster thinning or the addition of plant growth regulators. Its loose cluster architecture also makes it far less prone to rot than other varieties. ‘Victoria Red’ has been distributed to nurseries and should begin making its way to commercial trade in time for the 2013 growing season.