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Not all grape varieties are grown for the purpose of obtaining a bountiful harvest, sometimes the quality of the fruit is more valuable than their quantity. The Zest grape is a variety that is more enjoyable to eat than to grow. This culture is capricious, requiring a special approach, constant attention and complex care. But the harvest of the Raisin is definitely pleasing: the clusters are very large and beautiful, the berries are oval, deep in color, with an excellent taste and strong aroma. This variety is not recommended for beginners, it is recommended to buy raisin cuttings for experienced growers.
A detailed description of the Izuminka grape variety, with reviews of gardeners and a photo of bunches, is in this article. Below you can read about the strong and weak qualities of a large-fruited variety, learn about how best to grow capricious grapes and how to care for them.
Features of culture
The Zest grape variety is considered a table one. It is also an early-ripening red grape. It is easy to recognize this variety by the large finger-shaped berries of a rich wine shade.
Attention! Variety Raisin is recommended for cultivation in southern regions with a warm and mild climate. In more northern areas, it is allowed to grow grapes in greenhouses and hotbeds.
The hybrid is zoned for Moldova, Ukraine and southern regions of Russia. But even in the climate of these regions, the Zest should be covered for the winter, since the variety is very thermophilic.
About the Zest grape became known only recently, because it was bred several years ago. The origin of the variety is Ukrainian, its "homeland" was the Institute of Viticulture "Magarach", located on the territory of Ukraine. The "parents" for the new hybrid were the Chaush and Cardinal varieties, and the scientific name of the species obtained as a result of the crossing was XVII-241.
The new hybrid received a more poetic name "Zest" for a reason. The growers noticed an amazing feature of the variety: if you do not rush to harvest and leave a few uncut bunches on the vine, in a couple of weeks they will turn into wonderful raisins.
Description of the variety Zest:
- the grapes ripen early - until the fruit is fully ripe, at least 110-115 days should pass from the moment the buds open;
- the bushes are very tall, the vine is distinguished by good and fast growth, ripens almost along its entire length;
- inflorescences on bushes Raisins are only female, that is, flowers do not have stamens and cannot self-pollinate (therefore, next to the variety in question, it is necessary to plant another grape with the same early ripening and bisexual or male inflorescences);
- the grapes are well pollinated, the set of bunches is normal;
- clusters Raisins are large, loose, cone-shaped;
- the average weight of one bunch is 400-500 grams;
- when pruning and rationing, one bunch is left on each shoot;
- "Pea" berries are not typical for the variety - all fruits are approximately the same in size and shape;
- the berries are very large - about three centimeters in length and weighing 10 grams;
- the shape of the fruit is oblong, strongly elongated (shown in the photo);
- the color of the berries is dark, rich, red-violet;
- the pulp is dense, crispy, marmalade structure;
- Raisin tastes wonderful, balanced, sweet;
- sugar content in grapes at the level of 15-20%;
- the peel on the berries is dense, but practically not felt during the meal;
- grape yield Zest strongly depends on the age of the vine and the care of the bush;
- it is believed that the yield of this variety is low: in the first years it is possible to remove only a few kilograms from the bush, in the subsequent figures can reach 15-18 kg from each plant;
- with proper care, the vine begins to bear fruit only in the third or fourth year after planting;
- The zest is not cut off in the first years after planting - this is how the variety differs from many others;
- frost resistance in grapes is weak - without shelter, the vine is able to withstand a temperature drop to a maximum of -12-15 degrees;
- The variety has practically no resistance to diseases and pests, so the main work of the grower will be in preventive treatments of the vine.
Important! The purpose of the raisin is table, the berries are good fresh, from them, if you wish, you can make aromatic wine or dry the fruits to get very large and sweet raisins.
Advantages and disadvantages
Laudatory reviews of the Zest variety are rare: the grower must be prepared for regular spraying of the vines and a constant struggle for the integrity and health of the bush. As mentioned above, many people like the look and taste of these grapes, but growing Zest is a dubious pleasure.
The variety has several advantages:
- excellent presentation;
- large size of bunches and berries;
- great taste and high sugar content in fruits;
- a large percentage of vitamins and valuable microelements found in fruits;
- suitability of grapes for transportation and long-term storage (in cellars or in refrigerators).
Listing the strengths of the Zest grapes, one cannot fail to mention the real possibility of increasing the yield through proper agricultural technology and intensive care.
Unfortunately, this beautiful and tasty grape also has disadvantages, and they are very significant. All the disadvantages of the variety are primarily associated with its capriciousness. The following factors upset most winegrowers:
- capriciousness to the composition of the soil and its nutritional value - on scarce soils, the Zest bears fruit very poorly, and the leaves on the vine become small;
- weak immunity, due to which, throughout the warm season, winegrowers have to fight various pests and infections;
- low frost resistance - a vine without shelter can withstand a temperature drop of only up to -12 degrees;
- late fruiting - only six years after planting you can wait for the first normal harvest;
- low yield, strongly related to the amount of fertilizer and regular maintenance.
Attention! A serious problem for winegrowers is the strong proliferation of young shoots of the Raisin.
Even more frequent pruning does not help in this situation, since trimmed bushes grow even faster and more abundantly. All this leads to depletion of the vine and a decrease in the yield of the entire vineyard.
Grapes of the Raisin variety will require the maximum return from the gardener, but in return they will delight you with very large and incredibly tasty berries on massive bunches. For beginners, it is better not to choose this variety as a first experience, Zest is more suitable for experienced winegrowers with enough time.
Grapes Zest loves warmth and sun, so it should be planted on the south side, no closer than a meter from the wall of a building or fence. Such a planting will protect the vine from the icy north wind and prevent the roots from freezing during the period of melting snow or sudden temperature jumps.
The roots of the Raisin are not too long, most of them lie at a depth of 30-40 cm - this is where the most fertile layer of the earth should be. The optimal size of the landing pit is 0.6x0.6x0.6 meters.
Important! If you plan to plant several Raisin bushes, a trench method is recommended. The width and depth of the grape trench should be 60 cm each. The distance between adjacent bushes is at least two meters, since the grapes are vigorous.
A 20-centimeter layer of broken brick or crushed stone is laid at the bottom of the pit, then fertile soil is poured, consisting of soil, sand, compost, humus, ash and mineral fertilizers.
It is recommended to install along the edges of each pit along a vertical 50-centimeter pipe section - it will be very convenient to water the grapes through these wells.
How to care
A capricious variety needs careful care - this is the only way to increase the yield of grapes and wait for at least some result.
You need to take care of a vineyard with a Zest like this:
- Watering the bushes using special systems or well pipes will have to be regular, especially during periods of drought. It is important not to overdo it with irrigation, since Zest is prone to the development of various fungal infections, and high humidity contributes to their spread.
- To protect the vineyard from infections, pests and overheating of the root system, it is recommended to use mulch. Organic mulch in the form of sawdust, peat, humus or straw will not only protect the Zest, but also become a source of nutrients for the grapes.
- It will be necessary to feed the Zest variety often and abundantly, since the culture bears fruit very poorly on scarce soils. Every three years in the fall, it is recommended to apply a large amount of cow dung (about 7 kg per square meter). During the summer season, you can feed the grapes with special mineral complexes several times or use a phosphorus-potassium mixture. In spring, Zest responds well to a small portion of nitrogen, it is applied before and after flowering.
- It is better to prune the vine twice a season: in spring and autumn. This schedule is recommended due to the rapid growth of the bush and the strong growth of young shoots. Medium or long pruning is used, leaving 5 to 8 buds on each shoot. It is better not to prune the raisin grapes before sheltering for the winter, as this will trigger an even greater growth of shoots, which can disrupt the integrity of the shelter.
- Preventive spraying should become a habit for those who planted the Izuminka variety on their plot. You will have to fight with mildew, oidium, bacterial cancer, gray rot, anthracnose, escoriasis. In addition to diseases, large-fruited grapes are also trapped by various pests (grape and spider mites, phylloxera). Bordeaux mixture can be used for spraying at least three times per season. It is recommended to start as early as possible - with the first stable heat. If the vine has become infected, you will have to remove all the ovaries and leaves and thoroughly irrigate the bush with a fungicide - this is the only way to save the Zest.
- It is imperative to cover non-frost-resistant grapes, since even in the warm Crimea, raisins freezing are not uncommon. Collecting many young and old shoots and tying them is a pleasure, but it must be done. It is effective to cover the vine with agrofibre and protect the roots with a thick layer of mulch.
I thought for a very long time about whether to start a Zest variety. First of all, the weak resistance of the variety and its low yield were embarrassing. Still, I planted one bush about five years ago. So far I have seen fruiting only twice: the bunches are really very large, and the berries are beautiful, with crunchy sweet pulp. I can say that Zest is not suitable for commercial purposes, but it is worth planting this grape for yourself - the envy of your neighbors is guaranteed!
Zest grapes cannot be called universal - they are not suitable for everyone. This culture loves warmth and sun, does not tolerate frost, is often sick, needs regular feeding, watering, careful pruning - the grower will have a lot of trouble. The reward for long efforts will be large clusters with huge berries of an interesting company and an amazing rich color.