“Pink, it’s my new obsession” sang Aerosmith in the ‘90s. And after reading this article, pink grapes may be your new obsession, too.
There are several varieties of grapes that are pink. Some of these grapes are naturally pink by the virtue of their DNA. Others start on the red/purple side but turn pink depending on the length of their exposure to the sun. Usually falling on the sweeter side, pink grapes can be eaten as table grapes or used in wines like Rosè.
Read on to learn about some different variations of pink grapes.
1. Pink Muscatel Grapes
Pink muscatel grapes have been around nearly as long as humans. Muscat wine was discovered in a tomb in Turkey dating back to the seventh century B.C.
Today, the pink variety of muscat grapes are grown primarily in Chile and Peru, where they can take advantage of ocean-infused air to grow their distinct taste. They’re a spring pink grape variety, harvesting March through May.
The pink muscatel grape is rosy-pink in color and has a sweet, delicate taste. Baby muscatal grapes are seedless, but they eventually do grow seeds. Its skin is of medium crispness, while the juice of the flesh delivers a rush of sweet nectar to your taste buds.
Pink muscatel grapes make an outstanding addition to a charcuterie board, pairing especially well with parmigiano and aged gouda cheeses.
Their sweetness makes them an excellent choice for a snack. Pink Muscatel can be dried and turned into raisins so delicious they’ll have you dancing like the California ones.
2. Tickled Pink Grape
Tickled pink grapes are delicious, seedless grapes that will delight your tongue.
Their rosy-pink blush of color livens up gardens, while their sugar sweet flavor sends jolts of explosions throughout your mouth. They’re known for having a fizzy cream soda taste that makes them a delectable treat.
As a snack idea, you can dry them out. They are so sweet that it turns them into an all-natural candy. Their natural sugars are much healthier than processed sugars found in candy.
If you choose to grow tickled pink grapes, make sure you have fertile soil and patience. They take a few years to bear a substantial amount of fruit.
The upside is their vines are incredibly hardy and durable, able to withstand weather swings and birds picking at their wares. Vines can get up to ten feet tall and require full sun. Most pink grape vines need maximum sunlight exposure so the sun can lighten their skin.
The vines bloom in May and the subsequent grapes ripen in mid-August. Tickled pink grapes are mostly grown in the Midwest, with Michigan a popular producer.
Tickled Pink Rosè has grapefruit and strawberry aromas in its bouquet. The bouquet can shift depending on soil and water composition as well as how the wine is stored.
3. Pink Reliance Grapes
Reliance might sound like an odd name for a grape. It’s not a flower, a color, a person, a place, or a fun marketable phrase concocted by an agricultural corporation. But in this case, the name is accurate. The pink reliance grape is one of the most durable varieties of grape.
It got its name because the plant can withstand most grape diseases and cold temperatures. Pink reliance grape vines have survived twenty below temperatures. They don’t require the spraying of pesticides to protect against the elements. They’re resistant to virtually every kind of mildew and anthracnose.
Having a dry season? No problem. Pink reliance grapes are drought resistant. In their first year, they only require one inch of water per week, and then less after that. Talk with a nursery specialist to get best practices on growing them.
In addition to being stronger than a superhero, they are big producers. A pink reliance plant can produce up to fifty pink grape clusters per vine, much higher than normal levels. They’re easy to grow for home gardeners, and even basic plants in someone’s backyard can generate twenty pounds of fruit per season. I hope you have an appetite.
They ripen in late August and require more acidic soil than usual (5-6 pH is preferred) as well as direct sunlight. Be prepared for visitors as they’re popular sustenance for birds.
Fortunately, if you do produce twenty pounds of grapes, you’ll be excited to eat them because they taste great. They’re big, plump and juicy with tender skin that unleashes waves of sugary sweet juice on every bite. They’re perfect for eating right off the vine. Most varieties are seedless, but there may be tiny seeds if they’re grown in USDA zones 6 and above.
4. Flame Seedless Grape
The flame seedless grape has a fiery pinkish color it gets from its extended ripening. They require a longer growing season, but after they ripen in August, they tend to have a longer shelf life compared to other grape varieties.
The flame of their name is also an allusion to the temperature they prefer. They’re heat resistant and thrive in hotter climates. That makes them a popular variety grown in the southern United States. Unlike northern grapes like concords, they don’t fare well in cooler, damper environments.
These medium-sized seedless pink grapes produce a phenomenally flavorful taste that can satiate your need for something sweet. They’re America’s second most popular table grape for a season.
5. Cardinal Grapes
These fast-growing grapes were originally produced in California in 1939. They’re known for having a short growing cycle, ripening quickly and abundantly. Their vines are lush and thick, producing large leaves and pink grapes that can block out the sun. A single grapevine can provide cover for a trellis or pergola roof. They can give your deck a ton of shade.
Cardinal grapes are susceptible to several diseases that can destroy them. They must be tended to religiously to avoid suffering at the hands of black rot, downy mildew, grape berry moth, and flea beetle among others. However, if they’re cared for properly, they can produce grapes for fifty years.
Today, cardinal grapes are consumed as a table grape everywhere except for Thailand and Vietnam, where they’re grown for wine.
6. Koshu Grapes
Koshu grapes are grown in Japan where they were initially cultivated in the eighth century. Other Japanese grape varieties were originally imported from the West, but Koshu grapes are literally homegrown.
Koshu grapes are pink because they have a low amount of anthocyanins, the pigment responsible for giving flowers and plants darker shades. They are grown in the Koshu Valley in Yamanashi Prefecture, next to Mount Fuji. The mountain blocks wind and rain blowing in from the Pacific, and the grape’s thick skin shields it from harsh humidity.
Koshu grapes produce a clean, delicate pink wine with a fruity bouquet filled with hints of citrus, peach and jasmine. Koshu wine has a low alcohol volume, which makes it a good wine to have with meals or at social events.
7. Savagnin Rose
Savagnin rose grapes are relatively rare and used for expensive white wine. They’re found predominantly in Germany and Austria, with fields also found in Croatia and Ukraine. Forty-five hectares in the Alsace Region of France are allocated to growing them, too.
The grapes turn such a light pink that they look translucent. Those clusters that get less sun can come out as red or brown.
Savagnin rose grapes are used for making wine, which can be hard to come by itself.
Indulge Yourself With Some Pink Grapes
Expand your grape color palette by trying pink-colored grapes. They produce deliciously sweet grapes and light, crisp wines. You can even grow some pink grape varieties yourself, but the key to success is to give them direct, full sunlight exposure. That is how they get their color.
You can learn more about Koshu grapes and other varieties unique to Japan in our blog post about Japanese Grapes.