Wineberries

comments (19) July 19th, 2009

Pin It

Ruth Ruth Dobsevage, Web producer
thumbs up 124 users recommend

Wineberries grow in clusters.
Wineberry canes arch and root at the tips. Manage them by frequent pruning and uprooting, if necessary.
Wineberries grow in clusters.Click To Enlarge

Wineberries grow in clusters.

Photo: Ruth Dobsevage

Here’s an invasive plant you might end up liking. The wineberry, an Asian species that has taken hold here in Connecticut and elsewhere in the Northeast, is found along roadsides, at the edges of meadows, and yes, all over my yard. The canes are thorny and have a reddish-purple, somewhat furry appearance. The fruit, red when ripe, grows in clusters and looks something like a raspberry but is more luminous, and when you pick it you see a distinctive orange cone left on the cluster.

Wineberry produces fruit on second-year canes, and the fruit is surprisingly tasty served fresh or turned into a sorbet or a cooler. Try using wineberries in your favorite raspberry recipes. Wineberries are tarter than raspberries, so you might want to increase the sugar.

Wineberries ripen about the same time as raspberries and black raspberries, so if you have all three, you’re going to be busy picking. You can get away with picking wineberries every other day, but every day is better.

Like its close relatives the raspberry and black raspberry, wineberry has long arching canes that will root when they come in contact with the ground. Birds eat the berries and disperse the seeds, so one patch can turn into many patches in a few short years. The good news is that the plant is easily managed.

As with other cane fruit, remove the fruit-producing canes after they have produced, either immediately or sometime during the winter, and cut the first-year canes back to about waist height. You can get rid of unwanted plants simply by pulling them up. This can be done without gloves, but you will have battle scars.


posted in: berries

Comments (19)

santajaws writes: I live in Fairfax County Va and have located several places where wineberries thrive. One is in Ellanor Lawrence Park, where the staff discourage picking of the berries (the overall park policy is not to disturb any plants in the parks and they told me the wild animals should get them). I think this is very hypocritical as the plant is an invasive species that shouldn't be there in the first place. The other places are not park property so I've freely picked from those locations when the fruit is in season.
Posted: 1:29 am on June 24th
sweetie44 writes: These Eco Police comments below remind me of segregationist of the 50's who thought biracial offspring would cause social chaos; While the others advocating such eco laws are doing so on behalf of the crop industry. They tell us growing a fruit is harmful and against the law, threaten us with fines yet they cant seem to grasp that the suburban sprawl outside their window has just bulldozed the openland and sprang up another fast food joint.
Posted: 2:42 am on July 7th
kd51 writes: I have been noticing over the past 10 years that the wineberries seem to be displacing the wild blackberries in my area (northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia). This has me concerned. It seems like an endless battle to keep invasives away. I do like the taste of the berries, but not enough to encourage them to replace the native berries.
Posted: 7:25 am on July 6th
Ruth writes: When the color of the berries deepens and the fruit detaches easily, they're ripe. Mine are starting to ripen right now. I suggest you check every day and try one or two. You'll find out pretty quickly what a ripe one looks and tastes like.
Posted: 8:58 am on July 18th
rdjrwally writes: Ruth,

I to live in central CT. These wineberrys grow all over my back yard right at the edge of where my yard turns into my woods. I have noticed that as of today 7/15/11 they are starting come out of there shell. When should I be looking to pick these off the plants so that I can have them for eating and making jams? I see someone's comments that its in the next two weeks. is this correct. I thank you in advance for helping pick these berries at the right time for ripness.


Posted: 5:30 pm on July 15th
Ruth writes: I don't see wineberries on the Burpee Web site, and that's a good thing. I've been asked by a representative of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection to discourage people from purchasing, moving, or otherwise establishing wineberries on their property. Wineberries are classified as invasive by Connecticut and other states.
Posted: 9:52 am on August 23rd
Sadly_Wiser writes: I used to pick wild wineberries in SE Pennsylvania, generally mid July through the first week of August. My first picking I would sometimes come across late wild black raspberries, and my late picking I would find some early wild blackberries. No matter how hot I wore good socks and hiking shoes, heavy jeans, a cotton t-shirt, and a lightweight longsleeve shirt--because of various prickers and poison ivy. Then I would go swimming afterwards! I used a recipe for raspberry-peach jam (I believe it was a 50% mix), subbed wineberries and apricots (no need to remove skin), and made my family happy at Christmas with the results.

I found this after googling wineberry on the Mother Earth News (July 2009):

"In case you don't happen to live in an area where wineberries flourish, you'll be glad to know that it's possible to purchase plants by mail from seed companies. One firm that offers the wineberry is Burpee (Dept. TMEN, 300 Park Avenue, Warminster, Pennsylvania 18991). The folks there will sell you one plant for $5.25,_ five for $8.95, and ten for $14.75 . . . plus a $1.00 handling charge per order. Burpee advises that the bushes grow best in Zones 5 through 8.J"
Posted: 6:36 pm on August 21st
Ruth writes: gazaniagal, thanks for posting the link. I wonder how many other states have invasive lists and similar regulations.
Posted: 9:21 am on July 27th
gazaniagal writes: Hi,
Wineberries might produce delicious fruits, but unfortunately the this positive factor doesn’t really outweigh the damage this species causes to the environment. You should know it is illegal to “import, move, sell, purchase, transplant, cultivate, or distribute” any of the species on our state (CT) list, which is determined by the Connecticut state legislature based on recommendations from the state’s Invasive Plants Council. Wine berries are on CT's list! Plants must meet 9 criteria to be included on the state Invasive Plant List. Plants must demonstrate the ability or potential to out-compete other species, produce numerous individuals, grow rapidly, and survive without the benefits of human cultivation in areas where the species is not native, among other things. Violators may be fined up to 100 dollars PER PLANT, which gives you an idea of how important this is!

While many gardeners and growers may think they can keep the plants under control in their own yards, humans are not the only creatures eating the fruits, which can be dispersed by birds or other animals to areas away from the original garden, where they may multiply and grow quickly, negatively impacting our natural areas and our native species.

For more information, check out the CIPWG page where they have all the legislation and laws (the prohibition on moving, buying, selling, transporting, cultivating, etc. any listed invasive plant) is found in Sect. 22a-381d of the CT General Statutes, which you can access via the CIPWG site at http://www.hort.uconn.edu/cipwg/list.html.

Posted: 11:30 am on July 26th
quiltingnana writes: A friend introduced me to wineberries (that grow beautifully in VA) about 40 years ago. I happily transplanted some to grow near the creek on our farm. Now every year I have an abundance of "wild" raspberries to eat and freeze and turn into beautiful jams. I find very little difference in taste between them and the red raspberries that I bought at the nursery. The major difference is that they resist diseases and produce faithfully every year. What a delightful difference!! I have not had any bad experiences. If some grow where I don't want them, I mow them off. No big deal! We have nearly 200 acres and there has been no invasion to cause us to tremble with fear!!
Posted: 11:12 am on July 23rd
Ruth writes: Just for the record, I rip out a lot of wineberry canes each year, and I figure that each berry I eat is a berry that isn't dropping its seeds into the soil to produce more plants.
Posted: 9:53 am on July 21st
dragonmoon writes: I've never been around wineberries, but I'm in agreement with the Invasive Species issue. Just because they're currently "contained" doesn't mean it's a good idea to try to propagate them. http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov is a good site to see how widespread and difficult the fight with invasive plant species. Enjoy the berries when you find them, but do what you can to prevent their spread and to keep them from choking out native species.
Posted: 7:49 pm on July 20th
garden_for_good writes: There are two red flags at the start here: "invasive" and "Asian." Under no circumstances-- delicious fruit or not-- should you propagate and spread an alien invasive. Read "Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants" by Douglas W. Tallamy (Timber Press, 2007) to understand how an alien species undermines an entire ecosystem and becomes a biological desert in supporting native species. EVERY GARDENER SHOULD READ AND UNDERSTAND THE PRINCIPLES EXPLAINED IN THIS BOOK! Stop the wanton/ignorant destruction of perfectly tuned ecosystems that have taken thousands or millions of years to co-evolve in balance.
Posted: 2:37 pm on July 20th
Ruth writes: ewurster, I haven't been able to locate a commercial source. Where I live, though, these plants pretty much everywhere: along roadsides, at the edges of meadows, or in overgrown fields. If you're ever in Connecticut, let us know (vg@taunton.com) and I'll be more than happy to dig some for you.
Posted: 9:04 am on December 30th
ewurster writes: Thanks for the article! I have been looking for a source for wineberry plants but have been unable to find one. Do you know of any nurseries that have these available?
Posted: 8:48 am on December 30th
Ruth writes: I'll research commercial sources for you next week, when I return to the office. If I don't find any, I'd be happy to send you some first-year plants, which will bloom next year.
Posted: 6:44 pm on August 6th
JadaE writes: Great article! Do you have a source for the wineberry plants? I've checked the big seed website with no luck...Thanks! :)
Posted: 3:43 pm on August 5th
Ruth writes: I like them on granola, or just unadorned in a bowl. I'll have to try a smoothie.
Posted: 2:14 pm on July 28th
garden_pixy writes: I absolutely love wineberries. I transplanted a couple plants that were taking over in my mothers yard a few years ago. They haven't wandered outside of the berry patch too much, anything that has I removed while they were still young. I personally love adding the berries to fruit salads and smoothies, they add a nice tartness.
Posted: 1:35 pm on July 23rd
You must be logged in to post comments. Log in.