Narcos Narcos

The Process

Owner, Don Kizirian, grows his own table grapes to ensure the quality of the Raisins on the Vine.

To achieve the optimal size, sweetness, and raisin yield each year, a method of trimming and handling is done to the vine at each stage of the growing process. This method is crucial to the quality of the raisins, and includes techniques such as, pruning, dropping bunches, thinning, girdling, and leafing.

During the winter the plant lies dormant waiting for spring. As the warmth of the early desert spring takes effect, buds will form at each node. After three or four leaves have developed from each bud, flowers will start to appear. At this stage, the flowers will have feathery tips. These are the parts of the flower that need to be polynated to produce fruit. Pollination occurs by wind, so it’s important for the wind to ripple between the flowers. Plucking off all leaves along each cane below the flowers is what is called “leafing”. This also allows for the plant’s energy to go into filling out the grapes rather than into making new leaves. Vines can overproduce, which results in degradation of quality. To correct this, the process of “thinning” is done to misshapen and excess clusters.

Mature flame grapes can handle approximately 40 clusters for each vine. As the temperatures rise, the grapes begin to change in color. Depending on sugar levels, the grapes need about one to three weeks after they’ve changed color to be considered ripe for harvest. Table grapes don’t need as much sugar as raisin or wine grapes to be considered ripe. They usually reach between 16 and 18 percent before they are ready to harvest.

Our Raisins on the Vine require over 22 percent sugar for top taste and quality. Once ready for harvesting, our raisins are cut and hung on the vine for a natural sun-drying process. Once completely dry, the raisins are kept in storage as they await the hand-washed, hand-trimmed, and hand-packaged process.

The Process in PicturesSimple & Natural

Where it all begins
Bud Break
Pre-Bloom grape bunch
Prior to coloring
Mature grape bunch
Ready for harvest