Jinshan District’s late-maturing grapes are ripe for picking in Shiquan Grape Garden, as the Jinshan Grape Festival is in full swing.
The festival, which began in July, runs through October 6.
Visitors can enjoy cooler weather and a bumper harvest in late September and the upcoming one-week National Day holiday to pick the last clusters of grapes.
The late-maturing varieties are among the most famous, such as Jufeng (purple-black, sweet-sour with a strawberry scent), Gold Finger (long oval, green, sweet, milky taste), Xiahei (deep-purple, seedless), big, juicy Zuijinxiang, among many others.
“Compared with Malu grapes in Jiading District (a nationally famous brand), Jinshan grapes are new to the market, but taste and quality are equal to those of Malu grapes,” says Zhang Yajun, director of the Jinshan Agricultural Committee.
Another advantage of Jinshan grapes is their price. They sell for around 20 yuan (US$3.3) per kilogram, a little bit higher than ordinary grapes but half the price of Malu grapes.
In recent years, grape growing has developed quickly in Jinshan. The planting area has expanded greatly and cultivation techniques have also improved significantly in Luxiang, Tinglin, Zhujing, Langxia and Caojing towns.
According to the Jinshan Agricultural Committee, the total area under cultivation is 688 hectares, almost 45 percent of the area for fruit trees.
“Jinshan is situated by the sea and the big day-night temperature difference is better for grapes, making them sweeter,” says Lu Yujin, director of the Shiquan Grape Association. “This year our grapes have a more beautiful color and a better taste.”
Shiquan grapes have become the district’s “flagship brand,” a strong competitor to Malu grapes. Jinshan has been supported by the Fruit Trees Research Center of the Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Jinshan Grape Center.
Shiquan grapes are all cultivated and managed organically, according to the national standards for green agricultural products, which makes each grape of uniform shape, quality and sweetness.
“Our grapes grown with these standards have 68 big grapes or 90 small grapes on a cluster,” director Zhang says. Because the grape gardens are near dairy farms, organic manure is used as fertilizer.
The brand has won many gold and silver medals in city-level grape contests since 2008. In 2012, Shiquan Grape Garden was approved as a “model base” for grape growing.
Shiquan grapes are all packed with unified QR (quick response) Code and complaint hotline. People can simply scan the code with their smartphones and get all the information about the grapes within seconds. This makes it easy to track the origin and each stop of the growing process, should any issue occur.
This year seven grape gardens in Jinshan received facelifts, each getting a tourism center and sightseeing zone.
Local farmers are trained in Mandarin to communicate better with visitors.
In order to open up the market, Shiquan grapes are not only available in vineyards, but also in downtown supermarkets including Carrefour, Buddies Convenience Store and shops in the Bailian Group.
How to get there:
• By public transport — Take Lianlang Bus Line at Metro Line 1 Lianhua Road Station. Get off at the Luxiang Town and shift to Luxiang No. 1 Bus to the Shiquan Grape Garden.
• By car — Take S20 and shift to G60 (Shanghai-Hangzhou Expressway). Change to G15 in the direction of Ningbo. Get off the highway at the Exit of Jinshan Industrial Park. Drive ahead to the Zhulu Road. Turn right to Jinshi Road. Go ahead about 2,000 meters and turn right. Drive for about 1,500 meters over the bridge. The Shiquan Grape Garden is on the right side.
Seven major Shiquan grape gardens
• Shanghai Shiquan Grape Association Base
Address: 4218-8, Baiyang Village, Luxiang Town
• Shanghai Guojuyuan Fruits Association
Address: 2022 Hongguang Rd, Baiyang Village, Luxiang Town
• Shanghai Yijingyuan Grape Association
Address: 227 Songpai Rd, Zhoushan Village, Tinglin Town
• Shanghai Jinyulan Grape Association
Address: 5002, No. 4 Team, Zhonghua Village, Langxia Town