Sweet Scarlet Grape: New Variety Readied for
Growers By Marcia
March 15, 2004
A sweet, colorful red seedless grape called "Sweet Scarlet" has
a surprise inside: The crisp flesh of this new grape has a light, pleasant,
muscat flavor, an unusual treat that gives this grape a different taste than
most red seedless varieties. Developed by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the new grape also has another
distinctive feature: its attractive, raspberry-red skin is a brighter color
than that of other midseason, fresh red grapes.
Ready to harvest in late August, Sweet Scarlet resulted from
more than a decade of grape breeding and testing by ARS horticulturist David W.
Ramming and technician Ronald E. Tarailo. The grape joins a series of
top-quality red, white and black seedless grapes developed by this expert team.
Ramming and Tarailo are with the Postharvest Quality and
Genetics Research Unit, located in central California at the ARS
San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences
Center in Parlier. Sweet Scarlet grapes could start showing up in
supermarkets within three to four years, according to Ramming.
Sweet Scarlet is the offspring of two ARS-developed parent
seedless grapes. Though developed and tested in California, where most of the
nation's fresh grapes are grown, Sweet Scarlet may also be suitable for
planting in other locations where Vitis vinifera grapes can be grown.
Most grapes produced commercially in the United States are varieties of V.
The California Table Grape
Commission in Fresno, Calif., is the exclusive licensee for Sweet Scarlet,
handling its distribution to nurseries.
The average American eats about seven to eight pounds of fresh
grapes in a year. Fresh grapes are a good source of phytonutrients, healthful
compounds that may protect against cancer and heart disease. Also, fresh grapes
provide potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and thiamin.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.