VITIS VINIFERA BLACK HAMBURGH A black dessert grape, with blue-black skin and juicy, richly flavoured flesh. Suitable for growing outside, against a wall, or in a greenhouse. Imported from Hamburgh by John Warner, a London merchant, in the eighteenth century. Hogg reports that ‘the largest bunch of Black Hamburgh ever grown was that shown at Belfast, in 1874, by Mr Hunter, gardener to the Earl of Durham at Lambton Castle, which weighed 21lbs 12ozs’. In 1768, Capability Brown planted one at Hampton Court Palace. It is now 12ft round, at the base. Black Hamburgh has been popular for indoor culture, as the grapes could be picked over a very long period.



VITIS VINIFERA DORNFELDER A renowned black wine grape that is also a very rich and sweet fruit for eating, though small. In autumn the leaves are an impressive dark red.



FRAGOLA Strawberry Vine. Dark pink-red grapes, with the distinctive flavour of wood strawberries. Very attractive foliage and good autumn colour. Up to 40ft.










GEWÜRZTRAMINER The famous Alsatian and German wine grape, which will ripen in southern Britain, making a spicy, fragrant wine.











LADY DOWNE'S SEEDLING A rare vine, popular in Victorian times as it could be ripened in heated vineries, and bunches of grapes would hang on the vine for months without deteriorating. Raised by Mr Foster, gardener to Lord Downe, at Beningborough Hall, near York, around 1835. A cross between Black Morocco and Sweetwater. Large grapes, with a black skin and richly flavoured, sweet flesh with a slight muscat flavour. Vigorous vines, probably best grown in a greenhouse.







LEON MILLOT A vigorous French black grape for both wine and dessert, ripening outside in Britain. Mildew resistant and a reliable cropper.










MARÉCHAL JOFFRE An early, dual-purpose black grape, which is vigorous and disease-resistant and grows well in Britain.










MUSCAT HAMBURGH Also called Black Muscat of Alexandria, it is an ancient variety. It produces generous bunches of large grapes. The skin is a dark reddish purple, covered with a thin blue bloom. The flesh is “rather melting, very juicy, rich, and sugary, and with an exquisite muscat flavour”, according to Hogg in 1884. Grapes are a bit smaller that the White Muscat of Alexandria (below) but are “equally rich in flavour and ripen more easily”.







MUSCAT OF ALEXANDRIA An ancient white grape variety, and the original muscatel raisin. Lindley in the first half of the 19th century described it thus – “justly considered as one of the very best grapes ever introduced into this country.” Generous bunches of large grapes, oval in shape, pale amber when ripe, tinged with deep amber russet in the sun. The larger grapes are usually without pips. The skin can be thick, the flesh is firm, “juice not plentiful but of a sweet, highly musky, and most delicious flavour”. To ripen fully it needs a warm situation. It can be killed in cold winters.





PINOT BLANC A good white grape for wine, often grown in eastern France and Alsace. Too sharp for dessert.










PURPUREA Teinturier Grape, Purple-Leafed Grapevine. The young leaves are greyish with downy surfaces and silvery edges. The late summer leaves are burnt red. In autumn the dark wine colour deepens. Grapes are barely edible but can look good. Vigorous but controllable.









SEYVAL A white grape making a light, fruity wine. It gives good yields in the south and is tolerant of chalky soils. Sweet and quite pleasant for eating.










SHOBDON WHITE DESSERT An old dessert grape which was rescued early last century by Alan Allen, from Shobdon Court in Herefordshire, before its destruction, and is now nameless. He was gardener there. Completely hardy, and a reliable cropper. The grapes are delicious to eat and make a good flowery wine. *








TRIOMPHE D'ALSACE A black grape, good for dessert and a good red wine grape for growing in Britain. It is best against a wall for full ripening.