Grapes are grown widely in the world. It is known that grapes go back to the Neolithic period; for example in 1996 a jug filled with wine-7000 years ago was discovered in northern Iran. In Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt other clues have been found pointing to the existence of grape cultivation and wine production. In 2007 the area cultivated globally with grape was estimated to be 708 million hectares with a total production of around 65 million tons of which 7.7 million tons were table grapes. Italy, France and Spain are the most important producers of grapes generally; Italy, Spain and Greece remain the most important producers of table grapes.
- V. vinifera
- Occurrence & Agricultural Importance in this Country:
- Cultivation Areas:
- Grape cultivation is spreading in Iraq mainly in Northern and central regions as well as the southern region. Grapes are widely planted in the Dahuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah governorates, where they grow well thanks to suitable soils and climate.
- Main Varieties:
Varieties of the genus Vitus Vinifera (European grape) are the most widely grown grape fruit in Iraq. Examples include Rashmiree, Rashmiree Wazha, Bae-dank-seedless, Thomson-seedless, Tre-Rash, Rash-Miow, RashMiow (Elongated) , Taefee, Kamali, Soor Ssinaee, Kazhaw, Sarquola, Zarek, Soraw, Halwani , Des-AlAnnz, Awilka, Hejazi-Spee.
Due to the economic importance of grape production in Dahuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, the Authorities are working together with farmers to improve existing vineyards, to expand the grape area and to encourage grape producers to adopt modern cultivation techniques.
- Marketing Information and Uses:
- Grapes can be used to produce syrup, raisins, vinegar, fresh grape juice and wine.
- Grape is one of the most important fresh fruits consumed in Iraq. Grapes have gained importance for their sweet taste and high nutritional value.
- Crop Management:
Cultivation conditions and methods:
- Soil Type:
- Grapes grow best in in deep and fertile soil. However, grapes can grow in a range of soils from heavy clay to sand with a high proportion of stones. Grape can also tolerate limestone soils with high proportion of calcium. Grapes can tolerate moderate salinity, both in the soil and in irrigation.
- Temperature is one of the most important climatic factors influence the success of grape cultivation. Cool temperatures are necessary in order to to break winter dormancy but temperatures below zero can damage grapes especially if prolonged. Most varieties need warm temperatures for growth and fruit setting.
- Water Requirements:
- Grapes are mostly irrigated and several techniques are used. The precise quantity and timing of irrigation depends on both climate and soil characteristics, also the variety and age of the vines.
- Nutrition Requirements:
- Precise fertilization is very important. For example, excess nitrogen can lead to heavy foliage growth and delayed maturation of fruits, whilst the increasing the susceptibility of the vines to fungal diseases and exposure to winter damage. On the other hand, lack of nitrogen leads to weak vegetative growth and smaller clusters (poor yield).
- Harvesting Period:
- Grapes mature from mid- July (in the South) until late September (in the North). Coloured varieties are harvested when the colour develops, white varieties are harvested according to client needs, on the basis of sugar content and can be defined using a “refrectometer” device.
- Harvesting Methods: