From £3.95Stockbridge Arrow Early summer crops. Large yields. Superb red colour when forced.
From £10.32Double flowered White flowers in February/March 20 cms tall Sold dry for planting in the autumn
From £2.05Size: 2m high Fruit: large, conical Taste: very sweet Use: eat fresh or in jams
Vitis vinifera Purpurea (also knowns as the Teinturier or claret grape) is a hardy grapevine with large, handsome, deeply lobed leaves that start off greenish-grey and downy in spring and gradually turn bronze, mauve, then gorgeous deep purple, from summer into autumn. It also has pretty, pale green racemes of flowers in May and June, which are delicately scented. The grapes mature in mid-autumn, and they're a lovely deep burgundy colour. They're not generally known as being good for eating, as the skins are thick and they're full of pips, but they do make good jellies and juice. They're also great for combining in autumnal flower arrangements or table decorations. For other grapevines and fruiting climbers, take a look at our full selection here.
Do give this climber a bit of space, if you can, and well-drained soil that's either alkaline or neutral (it's not a fan of acidity) against a wall, sturdy fence or alongside a pergola, where it will grow to provide a lovely shaded seating area, the grapes dripping down elegantly from the vine: close your eyes and imagine you're in a Greek taverna, the Mediterranean lapping at the nearby shore... It's good in a smaller courtyard garden, too, if you keep it in check a little (it should be pruned in late winter, removing as much as needed from the longer shoots; if necessary, trim again in summer). Or try using it as an airy green screen to divide the garden into separate areas, trained through a panel of trellis.
In terms of plant pairings, the purple foliage of Vitis vinifera Purpurea is a lovely contrast to yellow-flowered Clematis Bill MacKenzie, Clematis viticella varieties or the bright foliage of the golden hop Humulus lupulus aureas. A pink rose makes a pleasing planting partner, too, something like the romantic pink climber Constance Spry or deep raspberry Galway Bay.
A Teinturier grape is one whose deep purple skins will dye or colour a wine to become 'red' wine. The skin of the grapes contains anthocyanin compounds that give that prized rich red colour. The pigments have even been considered for use as dyes in meats, textiles and non-alcoholic drinks.