Growing Grapes in Arizona

European grape varieties, the Vitis vinifera, are most suitable for the summer heat of Arizona, as long as they receive enough water. The heat allows the grapes to produce more sugar, giving them a very sweet taste. It also slows down the coloring of the grapes, so many Arizona varieties are green even when ripe. Growers should taste them first before harvesting. There are not as many commercial wineries in Arizona as there are in its neighboring state California, but the Thompson grapes and flame seedless grapes, which are most common in this region, can also be used to make wine. They can also tolerate temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit so growers do not need to worry about grapes dying in the frost. For vintners, pruning the vines will allow a better yield. Also, grape leaf skeletonizer worms are very common in Arizona, especially in September. This problem can be solved easily, though, through manually squishing the worms with the fingers. A 20-minute search everyday should do the trick.

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