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Albany Surprise Grapes
I enjoy reading SGA’s articles & thought I’d write
one after reading a recent article about grapes.
I am from NZ and ever since moving to Melbourne in the early 80′s have missed a particular grape
which is very popular in NZ. It was supposedly invented in NZ and is a very aromatic & tasty grape.
It is called Albany Surprise.
I decided rather than fly over every year in Feb/March I would import some cuttings & grow my
own. So 3 years & about $5,000 later I picked up my 2 allowable plants from the quarantine
people.So the year was 2004 & I selected the two spots to plant the vines at my smallish Caulfield
home. I took things slowly, grew the vine, chopped off all the grapes for the first 4 years or so & now
have the two original vines producing about 60 bunches each & 4 second generation vines
producing 20 or so bunches each. They are prolific croppers and I probably cut off 4 times that
So from mid January to mid February I forage everyday & eat a lot as the season draws to a close.
Unfortunately every other critter in the area has the same idea. I am gradually building up the
defenses with chicken wire & netting all around & individually wrapping each bunch in fly wire bags
& now only lose 5 or 10%.
I see a lot of vines in my area but not a lot of grapes. You have to really look after them. Checking for
pests and diseases, putting shade cloth over them if the temperature is over 32 and thinning out the
branches, leaves & bunches.
I probably spend 100′s of hours looking after them throughout the year. It is entirely worth it. Happy