Dating back to the late 1920’s, the table grape industry in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia has a long history and a proud heritage. The original plantings were mainly grapes from New York State that included varieties such as Sheridan, Buffalo, Fredonia, Concord, Niagara, Red Roger, Patricia and Campbell Early. A few of those early “traditional” varieties can still be found today in the original vineyards in Kelowna, British Columbia.

When the Association of B.C. Grape Growers (now the BC Grapegrowers’ Association) was registered as a society in 1961, the Board of Directors were all Fresh Market (table) grape producers. At that time, there were 14 growers from the Kelowna, B.C. area representing approximately 500 acres. Although some of that acreage was planted to hybrids for wine production most were fresh market varieties that were packed in wooden baskets and shipped to Alberta & Saskatchewan.

 

Formerly the Fresh Market Committee of the BC Grapegrowers’ Association, in 2018, the committee member’s voted to create the Okanagan Table-Grape Growers’ Association. With much of the Okanagan grape industry focussed on wine production, the timing was right to revisit the grass roots of the industry with the formation of a dedicated table-grape society.

Today, our society includes 13 growers. They farm 13 vineyards that are producing varieties such as Sovereign Coronation, Einset Seedless and Bath. Our most abundant variety is Sovereign Coronation. The Coronation grape is a genuine made in British Columbia product and really is a “Taste of Our Own”. Developed by Lyall Denby at the Agriculture Canada Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre in Summerland, B.C. in the 1970’s, the Coronation grape is a cross between native North American varieties Patricia and Himrod. Ripening in late August, Coronation grapes are often available in the market earlier than traditional varieties. Coronation grapes will appeal to those favouring grapes of the ‘Concord’ type.

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