The state of Washington offers two distinct grape-growing regions. Western Washington’s cool climate makes commercially-grown vineyards a rarity, although several grape varieties grow well in gardens there. On the east side of the state, starting in a region east of the Cascade Mountains, grapes thrive in the long sunny, hot days, offering a variety of plants for gardeners to choose from.
Leon Millot (Vitis vinifera ‘Leon Millot’)
A vigorously growing vine, Leon Millot thrives in western Washington’s cooler climate. The vines produce mature fruit 85 days after blooming in mid-spring, making it ideal for short growing seasons. The small black, juicy fruits achieve a nice balance between sugar and acid, making them ideal for wine production. The vines grow up to 20 feet in length and work well climbing on arbors or trellises.
Lynden Blue (Vitis vinifera ‘Lynden Blue’)
Producing grapes early in the season, Lynden Blue makes a great grape for fresh eating. The grape grows well in western Washington, where the fruits get used for desserts and juice. Plant the vines with a southern to western exposure and provide protection from wind. To enhance ripening, use a black mulch or white river rock under the vines to reflect heat. The vines require cane pruning.
Reliance grows in western Washington where it often gets used as a table grape as well as in making juice. The vine makes a great addition to the garden since the fruit passes through an array of colors before finally turning a deep bluish-purple color when mature. The vines grows up to 15 feet long in moist, well-drained soil in full sun. Flowers appear in June with the seedless grapes ripening in early September. Reliance vines require pruning, although the vines train easily.
Black Monukka (Vitis vinifera ‘Black Monukka’)
Grown in the warm climate of eastern Washington, the black monukka produces large, reddish-black purple fruits. Black monukka makes a great garden grape. Maturing in late August, the rich flavor of the seedless fruit makes it a great table grape or for use as raisins. The vines require cane pruning for better fruit yields.
Thompson Seedless (Vitis vinifera 'Thompson Seedless')
A popular white grape, Thompson Seedless grapes also get used for raisins. Heavy, long clusters of seedless, medium-sized, greenish-white fruit ripen in August or September. The plant thrives in eastern Washington, featuring bold foliage that looks great on arbors or screens for garden use. The vines grow 15 to 20 feet in length, preferring well-drained, slightly acidic soil.