Friday, January 30, 2009

Uva Fragola

The last three days has been extremely hot in Melbourne with temperatures soaring above 40° C (43°, 44°, 45°). For the past few weeks, I have been waiting to harvest my grapes. It looks like it has suffered from the heat. These are Uva Fragola, literally in Italian, strawberry grapes. These grapes are amazing, with intense flavour of strawberry. I was taken a back when I first tasted this grape. It is as if you have popped in a strawberry lolly in your mouth.
Though italian in name (it is also called Isabella), the grape species is originally from the Americas. It used to be grown in Italy. A dessert wine, Fragolino, is made from these grapes. However in 1999, it is outlawed to protect the local grape species.
I understand that there is a vineyard in Mytreford, Victoria (a province in Australia) that grew these grapes and produces real Fragolino (there are artificially flavoured ones). I personally have not tried this wine. Will see if I can find them here in the shop.
We planted the vine last year from cuttings. We are surprised how it grows so easily and fruiting in the first year. The cutting is from our favourite bistro River View, in Warburton, which is about 77 kilometers from Melbourne CBD at the foot of the Yarra Ranges (mountains). I will write about this bistro in my next blog.


  1. The grape vine seems to be doing really well despite the heat! The grapes still look quite edible otherwise you can make raisins out of them!

  2. Bonjour,

    I love these type of articles that take food back to its raw state. I love that you have given us all an appreciation for the art of keeping a grape vine as well as the falvours from this variety.

    Please could you write about your experience growing this vine from a cutting.

    I have a large back yard that would love to grow some grape vines in it.

    Thank you HK. Love you work.

    Monsieur RX

  3. Hi James
    It is not too difficult to plant the grapevines from cutting.

    Firstly you need to get some good cuttings with at least two possible 'buds' on each. Get yourself some rooting hormone powder. You can get it in Bunnings. Pick up a bag of special premix propagation soil.

    You can get the cutting during winter when most people will prune their vines. Plant them as the weather warms up in early spring.

    I can send you some cuttings when I prune mine.

  4. Dear Mr. Lam,

    I came across your blog while I was searching for Uva Fragola on Google. I was wondering if you are still offering any of your grapevines cutting so that I could plant some. I could not seem to find any of these grapes anywhere at all and thought the easiest way is possibly to plant them myself.

    Please let me know.


  5. Hi Julian
    Sorry for not getting back to you earlier. If you are still interested to get some cutting, pls let me know. It about the time I need to prune the vine. I hope u are in Melb, as u probably aware of the strict regulation of transferring plant material interstate.
    HK Lam

  6. hi, my mum has been looking for this grape to grow for quite awhile, can you email her and let her know where she can get it from. many thanks