Vitis vs. Vitis (Grape)

Going Grape for Fence to Plate Edibles

With an earthquake shaking up Napa heading into fall, grapes have been on our minds! Fortunately, not only viticulturist can grow grapes. Whether you are looking for a way to cover a fence or a solid way to complement a cheese plate, there is a drought tolerant way to go grape.

Vitis sp.

Grape vines that receive an abundance of sun and starve for water are said to produce the best wine harvests. A “starved” Vitis sp., however, still needs an abundance of water. Its very cultivation translates into challenges for use of Vitis sp., even as an ornamental. Vitis sp:

  • Does not adapt well in the garden
  • Has trouble starting in the shade
  • Takes much more water than we might think
  • Has become vulnerable to pests

Vitis californica

You don’t need to farm rows of Vitis california to enjoy its beauty as a low water, pest resistant, edible! A native fruiting grape occurring naturally throughout a myriad of California plant communities, Vitis californica:

  • Can be eaten straight from the vine – one of the few edible California fruits that require no preparation
  • Produce edible foliage  – pull the newest leaves off before fall, blanch or freeze for delicious dolmas
  • Will grow upwards of 3’ per year, covering trellises and fences or sprawl and mound as a ground cover

Give it a try! A bountiful harvest is yours for the taking.