From the seven grape vines varieties that I grow `Canadice` is the one, which really stands out. Firstly, it is very suitable for vertical gardening – this is a very fast-growing and completely cold-hardy vine. Secondly, the grapes are seedless. They are small, yellowish red when ripe (bright red, if autumn has been long and warm), transparent, arranged into medium sized, heart-shaped clusters. The first berries on a vine, planted on the southern side, start ripening by the end of August, with the rest folowing 2 to 3 weeks later. Their flavour is very pleasant, sweetly acidic, and tastes distinctly of wild strawberries.
Although it is commonly thought that `Canadice` is a disease-resistant variety, it is not quite true, at least not in Lithuania. Surely, given dry, hot summer and mild autumn, all vines are less susceptible to diseases. These plants suffer badly from excessive moisture. Last summer had been very wet, therefore all vines subjected to constant rain looked worse for wear, their foliage disfigured by disease, with grapes succumbing to rot (Botrytis). The same cultvars grown under some protection fared much better – healthier and larger berries, foliage free from disease. During dry autumn grape vines, cultivated both in the open and under some protection grow healthy and bountiful.
[banner]Just like all vines, `Canadice` does not handle waterlogged soil well. When planting in heavy, poorly drained spot, it is best to site the wines on a slope, ideally on the southern side of a house, fence or pergola, which would provide them with some shelter. It is worthwhile enriching poor, sandy soil with fertile compost, but generally wines are not too fussy. In eight year I never had to water the vines, even in droughts. Their roots go deep, looking for water, and need watering only in their first year. Do not go over the top fertilising them, an annual application in spring along with the rest of woody plants will suffice.
`Canadice` is cold resistant, however, young immature branches can be damaged by frost. Young plants should be given some winter protection in the first two years after planting. Cover plants with agricultural fleece and shredded bark the first year, while in the second simply mulch the roots thickly.
I prune vines, which are grown for producing grapes, twice a year. In August I shorten rampant current year‘s growth in order to encourage branches to mature and preserve nutrients which will be necessary for ripening of the grapes. I remove some of the canes, which overcrowd the plant and make it too dense for grapes to rippen properly. In late autumn, when plants have shed foliage , or in very early spring, before buds start swelling, I shorten even more canes, aiming for a two-tiered or bilateral cordon shape.
For the vines, which are grown for lush foliage, I simply thin out shoots lightly, removing overcrowded growth, training the remaining canes to grow as horizontally as possible.
This cultivar has only one shortcoming: some of the individual flowers self-pollinate poorly, which results in a number of tiny berries, which do not grow fully and never rippen. Depending on a year, the number of such grapes in a cluster may vary.
© Giedra Bartas, 2015