Most table grape varieties native to North America—that is, grapes specifically meant for eating, rather than for making something like wine or jelly—could taste a lot better. That’s the operating philosophy behind the California-based grower Grapery, the first firm to market and sell Cotton Candy Grapes.
The name is not an exaggeration. These are very sweet grapes, with a flavor that includes hints of vanilla, thus making them taste quite a bit like the bright-pink, spun sugar confection for which they’re named.
Cotton Candy Grapes were developed by crossbreeding two different grape varieties. Which two? The breeder behind them, California’s International Fruit Genetics, won’t say, as it’s a trade secret. But due to the mechanics of seedless grapes’ sex lives, the breeders had to grow new varieties in test tubes until they found a winner to plant outside the lab. Today they license Cotton Candy Grapes to a number of growers around the world, though Grapery remains the only firm in California allowed to distribute them.
Need to Know
While worldwide production of Cotton Candy Grapes has grown substantially in recent years, quantities are still limited compared to more common table grapes, and they can be hard to find. In North America, the season lasts only five or six weeks, usually from early August to mid-September. (The season can come early or arrive late by a few months, though, and the season may vary regionally). Grapery offers a Find Our Grapes tool that may help locate a local store near you that carries them.