Canyon Grape (Vitis arizonica)

I'm wondering if anyone has experience growing this grape in the outlying areas of the Valley? I'm at just over 2000' elevation and wonder how I might get this plant, perhaps a cutting or seed. But I don't know where to find it in the wild and unsure if it's available commercially (did not find it except on a list from the Desert Botanical Garden plant sale which I believe was last month).

Here's  link to more info: Canyon Grape . Maybe Mountain States Nursery grows it, I understand they grow a lot of the DBG plants for that sale. Hmmmm.... off to check.

But would still love to hear from anyone who has grown this grape or who has tasted it, made juice, wine or jam from it. I was thinking of this even though it's deciduous because we have a screening issue that is probably going to require vines and a tall trellis as there is not enough space to allow bush type plants without major pruning which really does not work with our natural desert acre.

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  • My parents have it growing wild on and near their property up around Sedona. I don't know if it would grow at 2000 foot elevations, I don't know that I've ever seen it that low. I can tell you that you have to make something with it, the grapes themselves are SOUR!!!!

    I would locate it between now and late fall (do some camping and hiking up north :) ), and then take a few cuttings once it loses it's leaves. I seem to have noticed it most at elevations between 3000-4500 feet.

    • Rachel-

       Wondering if you could try to "notice" something for us all.  When i looked at the description it said that it requires warm, sunny weather for the fruit to ripen. It's also said "small, quite luscious, which implies they should be sweet.

        You're saying it's sour... could it possibly be that the one's you're seeing don't get a lot of sun and may be the ones in the shade that animals are leaving alone? 

      We've got some property up in Pine where we'd like to get some things growing.   I'm interested in the native AZ grapes, but would be less interested if they really were always sour.

      Anyone else have experience with how they taste?



  • Back in the 70s I used to make a prize winning grape jam from this plant, using the sure-gel recipe for elderberry. The fruits are about the same size as Ohio elderberries, at least in the wild.  I taught on the Apache Reservations and enjoyed my hikes along the creeks to gather wild asparagus, grapes and plums, among other things. Under cultivation, the fruits may plump up. In the wild or on the fringes of civilization, watch out for bears, who also love the fruit. If you are looking for seed to plant, hike a creeky canyon until you find a grape vine and check the ground for scat. Bears apparently don't digest the seed, and may provide a necessary phase of heat and chemistry for seeds "passing through" to germinate on the other side. 

    • Martha! What a story, thank you so much for sharing. I would have loved to have been there with you on your adventures! I don't know when I could get to the wilds for scat collecting but you never know, so never say "never".

    • I haven't seen it at 2000' elevations but haven't hiked many of those canyons, either. The leaf is obviously a grape leaf, and it readily climbs trees or fences. If you do locate vines this summer, I recommend you try for a root cutting or two. That was how french and italian wine grapes got to California, wrapped lovingly in a little native soil and an oilcloth rag to hold in moisture, nursed in the pockets of immigrants.

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