Vitis Riparia is a North American perennial relative of the common grape (vitis vinifera) that it is widely used as a grafting stock for vitis vinifera. Also known as River Bank Grape, vitis riparia is integral to the winemaking process in many cases, even though the fruits are not used for fermentation. River Bank Grapes are generally considered too acidic a non-palatable to be used as a juice for wine production. But these wild grapes are much hardier than common grapes, being more resistant to cold and disease while also adapting to a wider range of soil. Some reports suggest that vitis riparia can cope with temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit! By using riparia as a grafting stock, it gives winemakers a much wider set of options, allowing grapes to thrive in conditions that might otherwise be problematic.
Growing Information: Vitis riparia usually prefers cold treatment in order to germinate. Usually a period of 3-7 months is ideal. In northern area, they can be sown outdoors in the fall for growth the following spring. In other areas, or when preferred, the seeds can be kept damp and placed in the fridge for the cold treatment period. Some growers choose to scarify, or sand down the seed coat a bit to allow moisture in more easily then soak the seeds for 24 hours. Be patient because seed can take up to a year to germinate. Riparia can tolerate a wide range of soils, although usual pH falls between about 6.1 and 8.5. These plants do well in shade, but they enjoy full sun as well. Provide structure for climbing. Little maintenance is required once the plant is established. This plant is ideal for zones 3-9.
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