Grape production workshop to feature breeding program tour

Contact Information:

Katie Hanshaw, Fruit Research Station,
Clarksville, 479-754-2406,
Elena Garcia, extension horticulture specialist,
John R. Clark, horticulture professor and grape breeder,
Howell Medders, Division of Agriculture communications,

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Grape production workshop

ARKANSAS GRAPES – Jupiter is one of the most widely planted of seven table grape varieties developed in the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture fruit breeding program based at the Fruit Research Station near Clarksville. It has an exceptional blend of muscat and American grape flavors. A tour of the breeding vineyards will be part of a Grape Production Workshop Aug. 12.

CLARKSVILLE, Ark. – A tour of one of the nation’s leading table grape breeding programs will be part of a table grape production workshop Aug. 12 at the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture’s Fruit Research Station, near Clarksville.

The workshop, which will begin with registration at 3 p.m., is for beginning and experienced growers, says Elena Garcia, an extension horticulture specialist with the Division of Agriculture. Table grapes are a good fit for many small-scale farmers who market fruits and vegetables at farmers markets and “U-pick” operations, she says.

Presentations will be on cultural practices, by Keith Striegler, University of Missouri viticulturist; the market for eastern table grapes, by Dennis Rak, owner of Double A Vineyards, Fredonia, N.Y.; the Arkansas table grape breeding program, by John R. Clark, Division of Agriculture fruit breeder; and insect management, by Donn T. Johnson, Division of Agriculture entomologist.

Advance registration and a $20 fee, which includes a light supper, is required by Aug. 9. To register, contact Katie Hanshaw at the Fruit Research Station, 479-754-2406, The station is six miles north of Clarksville on Hwy. 818. More information at

Clark will lead a tour from 7 to 8 p.m. of the breeding program vineyards where seven Arkansas table grape varieties have been developed. The most widely planted varieties are Jupiter and Mars. The program has a number of advanced selections being considered for release, which will be viewed at the Field Day.

The tour will include a muscadine breeding program with a goal of developing varieties with increased hardiness. Muscadines are susceptible to cold injury in the Ozarks region.

Arkansas varieties include:

Jupiter- Reddish blue, seedless, non-slipskin, highly rated for flavor, semi-crisp, high yielding, early ripening, widely grown.

Mars - Blue, seedless, slipskin, skin thickness typical of eastern table grapes, very hardy, least susceptible to common grape diseases among Arkansas varieties.

Neptune - White seedless, non-slipskin, skin thickness similar to many eastern table grapes.

Reliance – Pink, seedless, slipskin, highest rated flavor, melting texture, hardiest of Arkansas varieties, susceptible to fruit cracking.

Saturn – Red, seedless, non-slipskin, sweet and fruity flavor, crisp texture, moderately hardy.

Sunbelt – Blue, seeded juice grape, ripens more evenly than Concord under hot conditions, juice quality similar to Concord.

Venus – Blue, seedless, slipskin, earliest ripening Arkansas variety, moderate to high yield.

Vines for planting are available from licensed propagators listed at