Festival highlights Luxiang Town's famed grapes

Aug 13, 2015

Grapes at Shiquan Grape Garden ripen for pick. — Wang Rongjiang

SUMMER is a time for juicy refreshment. And with the mercury soaring, a grape festival is now in full swing at Luxiang Town, Jinshan District. During the three-month festival, which started last Friday, visitors can pick, taste and purchase the area's famed grapes.

Famed as one of China's great grape-growing centers, the town fosters more than 20 quality grape varieties, including Jufeng (a purple-black grape with a sweet-sour taste and a strawberry scent), Gold Finger (an oval-shaped green grape with a sweet, milky taste), Xiahei (deep-purple, seedless) and the big, juicy Zuijinxiang.

The grape-growing industry has developed quickly in Jinshan over recent years. The local planting area has expanded greatly and cultivation techniques have improved significantly in Luxiang, Tinglin, Zhujing, Langxia and Caojing towns.

According to the Jinshan Agricultural Committee, the total area under cultivation is more than 688 hectares, with almost 45 percent of the area occupied by fruit plants. And most of this area is within Luxiang.

Luxiang's Shiquan grapes have become the district's "flagship brand," 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 national standards for green agricultural products. These help ensure uniform among individual grapes in terms of their shape and taste. One cluster of grapes can contain as many as 68 large grapes or 90 small grapes, according to these standards.

Many grape gardens are near dairy farms and organic manure is used as fertilizer.

Shiquan grapes have won many gold and silver medals at city-level grape contests since 2008. In 2012, the Shiquan Grape Garden was approved as a "model base" for grape growing. This year, Shiquan grapes have been honored as one of Shanghai's Famous Trademarks.

Shiquan grapes are all packed with unified QR (quick response) codes. Shoppers and sellers can simply scan these codes with their smartphones and get information about the grapes in seconds. This makes it easy to track the origins of each batch, and each step along the growing process — should any issues occur.

This year, the Shiquan grape growing area was enlarged from Luxiang to Jinshan's 13 bases in six towns, covering almost 105 hectares. Local farmers are also given training to communicate better with visitors.

To better meet demand, Shiquan grapes are not only available in vineyards, but also in downtown supermarkets, such as those operated by the Bailian Group. They can also be purchased online or through TV shopping channels.