Seneca Grapes

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Seneca (Lignan Blanc x Ontario). An early release from Cornell University's Geneva, New York experiment station. The small, white oval berries of this century-old variety ripen very early, coming on at least six weeks before Concord. Though not seedless, most of the excellently sweet, spicey-flavored berries have only one seed. The quality of the fruit is somewhat offset by faults of the vine. For one, it is more susceptible to powdery mildew than any other American grape I have tried. It tends to alternate between light and heavy crops, and vigor is on the high side, Seneca must be pruned to canes as spurs are not productive. Fruit quality is so good it's still worth a try, at least for a home grower, though a few growers succeed with it for very early roadside sales. Cold hardy to between -10 and -15oF.