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All About Grapes Overview/History PDF Print E-mail
Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 05 June 2014 04:02

For more than two centuries, Californians have been cultivating grapes.

Grapes have been around a long, long time. In fact, the first grape varieties might date as far back as 6000 B.C.

But for California, the fresh grape boom hit in 1839 when a former trapper from Kentucky, William Wolfskill, planted the state’s first table grape vineyard in the Mexican colonial pueblo now known as Los Angeles. An agricultural entrepreneur, Wolfskill was the first farmer to ship fresh grapes to Northern California. R.B. Blowers expanded the idea and sent the first 22-pound box of California grapes to Chicago via the new transcontinental railroad in 1869.

The gold rush may have ended, but the grape rush continues. Today, over 99 percent of grapes commercially grown in the United States come from California. With over 80 varieties grown, California grapes come in three colors – green, red and black – and are available May through January. For the second year in a row, a record grape crop was produced, with 117.4 million boxes shipped to more than 65 countries around the world.