The Muscat Bleu grape variety is one of the most popular blue table grapes. In our article, we show you how to grow and harvest Muscat Bleu grapes yourself. The name Vitis ‘Muscat Bleu’ describes this popular table grape very well: The intense blueberries enchant with a strong Muscat aroma. We will show you how you can cultivate the robust grape variety ‘Muscat Bleu’ in your garden.
Muscat Bleu: Wanted poster
Table of Contents
|fruit||Table grape; large; blue|
|taste||sweet, muscat flavor|
|climate||sunny, warm; also suitable for cool regions|
|Diseases and pests||little susceptible to gray mold, good tolerance to powdery mildew|
|Sensitivity to frost||low|
Origin and history of the table grape
The grape variety ‘Muscat Bleu is ideally suited for fresh consumption and is therefore counted among the table grapes, which are sometimes also referred to as wine grapes. The ‘Muscat Bleu is a new breed from Switzerland. The vine grower Garnier crossed the variety Garnier 15/6 with Seyve-Villard 20-347 in the 1930s. The variety ‘Muscat Bleu is called a hybrid because it contains not only the genetic material of the European grapevine ( Vitis vinifera ) but also the genetic material of other grapevine species. This is a popular method in breeding to cross resistance to fungi. The table grape ‘Muscat Bleu is sometimes referred to as ‘Blauer Muskateller’. However, this name is misleading, as there is already a historical grape variety with this name. The naming of grape varieties is sometimes not entirely clear.
Taste and characteristics of the Muscat Bleu grape variety
When growing grapes, powdery mildew ( Erysiphe necator ) and downy mildew ( Plasmopara viticola ) are the two most common diseases. The ‘Muscat Bleu’ grape variety shows good tolerance to powdery mildew and downy mildew. In addition, the variety has a good frost resistance down to about -20 ° C. In autumn, ‘Muscat Bleu’ offers grapes with large berries that have little seed and have a pleasant sweetness and an excellent Muscat aroma. The berries form large, loose grapes that are less susceptible to attack by gray mold ( Botrytis cinerea ).
Special features of the cultivation and care of ‘Muscat Bleu’
What does a suitable location for a table grape look like? The optimal place for the ‘Muscat Bleu’ variety is sunny, warm, and has sufficient air movement. Vines are not very demanding in terms of soil quality and soil nutrient content. If you want to cultivate the vine in a very calcareous soil with a high pH value, you should definitely pay attention to a lime-tolerant base, such as ‘1103 Paulsen’, ‘125 AA’, or ‘140 Ruggeri’. ‘1103 Paulsen’ and ‘140 Ruggeri’ are also very well suited for dry locations, while ‘125 AA’ is especially suitable for compacted and therefore less aerated soils.
You can find out how to properly plant your Muscat Bleu grape in our special article on planting grapevines. Grapevines should only be planted in a suitable location is available. Powdery mildew, gray mold, and other diseases are very common in places that are too cool, shady, and damp or in places without air movement.
For those inquisitive: vine grafting
Table grapes such as ‘Muscat Bleu’ are always offered for sale as grafted plants. But what actually is a refinement and why is it necessary? The process of grafting means that a vine serves as a so-called base. The vine is cut off at the top and the so-called Edelreiser – here ‘Muscat Bleu – is placed and fixed in such a way that the two plants grow together. The result is a plant that combines a resilient and strong root with good fruit properties.
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The vine grafting is necessary because the roots of the rootstock are tolerant of phylloxera (Daktulosphaira vitifoliae) introduced from North America. The European grape varieties such as ‘Muscat Bleu’, on the other hand, are not tolerant. The vigor of a grafted vine does not only depend on the noble rice, but also the rootstock. The table grape ‘Muscat Bleu’ tends to be a vigorous variety. Which underlay is used is not only relevant in terms of vigor. Some documents are adapted to specific locations, for example, documents can be particularly drought-stress tolerant or lime-tolerant.
A climbing aid and an annual step backward are important if you are going to use your ‘Muscat Bleu’ for many years and want a lot of berry grapes. In spring you can cut the vine back to a few buds per shoot. There are a variety of cuts, these are called educational systems. The overhead training as a pergola offers good sun protection to avoid sunburn on the grapes. In addition, ripe grapes can be easily harvested in this way.
Although vines have a very low nutrient requirement, annual fertilization in spring is still recommended. Here you should pay attention to a good supply of magnesium. We recommend that you use a predominantly organic fertilizer with a good long-term effect. Avoid mineral fertilizers containing chloride, as the vine cannot tolerate this. Organic tomato fertilizer not only supplies your vine with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium but also with magnesium. The organic tomato fertilizer is a predominantly organic fertilizer with a long-term effect of over three months. You can find more tips on fertilizing grapevines in our special article.
Harvest and use Muscat Bleu grapes
The ‘Muscat Bleu is an early-ripening variety. The deep blue grapes can be harvested from the beginning of September, depending on the location. Therefore, the ‘Muscat Bleu is also suitable for cultivation in cool regions. In October the leaves of the ‘Muscat Bleu’ turn bright yellow and decorate your autumn garden. So that you don’t have to share your harvest with uninvited guests, you can find out in our special article how to protect grapes from wasps and birds.
The low-seed grapes are ideal for fresh consumption. You can also squeeze the grapes and process them into a juice or delicious jelly. In a few regions, such as Switzerland, the ‘Muscat Bleu’ grapes are also used to make wine.