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Cellar Club
22 February 2024 | Cellar Club

The difference between Wine Grapes and Table grapes

If you’ve ever wondered why you can’t head to your local fruit and veg store, pick up some red or green grapes, bring them home, crush them and turn them into wine, you’re not alone. 

The burning question is, what’s the actual difference between table grapes and wine grapes? 

The answer? A lot, actually. 
So, let’s wander into the vineyard to unravel the age-old mystery: what sets wine grapes apart from their table grape cousins?

Upper Reach stands as a testament to the art and science that goes into crafting each bottle of wine. But before we can pour that yellow-gold or ruby-red elixir into our glasses, we need to understand the stars of the show– the grapes themselves.

First things first, let's talk about appearances. Wine grapes and table grapes may look similar at first glance, but upon closer inspection, you'll notice some distinct differences. 

Wine grapes tend to be much smaller, with thicker skins and are packed with seeds. These characteristics might not make them the ideal snack for munching on while watching Netflix, but they're perfect for producing those rich, flavourful wines.


On the other hand, table grapes are larger, juicier, and often seedless – making them the go-to choice for snacking and adding to fruit salads. The thin skins and juicy flesh make them a delight to eat fresh off the vine, but they lack the intensity and complexity needed for winemaking.

Now, let's talk taste. Wine grapes are carefully cultivated to achieve specific flavour profiles, and at Upper Reach we love the boldness of the Reserve Shiraz, the plushness of the Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot or the complexity of the Reserve Chardonnay.  The sugar, acid, and tannin levels in wine grapes are meticulously balanced to create a harmonious blend of flavours that tantalise the taste buds.

Table grapes, on the other hand, are all about sweetness. While they can be delicious, the primary goal is to provide a burst of sugary goodness with every bite. Think of them as nature's sweet treat- plump, juicy and very, very moreish.

Lastly, there's the trellising styles for the different grapes. While wine grapes tend to grow along vertical trellises to help each grape sun-ripen to perfection, table grapes often grow on wider trellises that are shaped like a Y which gives the fruit more shade. This structure gives each bunch of grapes enough protection from the sun to grow to their best potential.

But perhaps the most significant difference between wine grapes and table grapes lies in their future. Wine grapes are destined for greatness, to be transformed in the hands of our winemakers into a bottle of wine that tells a story with every sip. Table grapes, on the other hand, are destined for immediate consumption, to be enjoyed fresh or perhaps turned into jams and jellies if they're lucky.



So, the next time you find yourself wandering through the vineyards of the Swan Valley, take a moment to appreciate the humble grape – whether it's destined for your wine glass or your fruit bowl.  


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