Daytona is a pink bunch grape that was bred in Florida. When released it was recommended for fresh fruit consumption, primarily by homeowners but also U-pick or roadside stands. It is not typically known to make wine. The potential exists for wine production, but yields are low. It was released in the early 1980s by Mortenson and Stover. It is currently being grown in the South, but only on a limited scale. In Poplarville, Mississippi the vine performed poorly and was removed within 5 years due to its overall lack of yield. Being from Florida, it is well adapted to the heat and humidity of the Gulf Coast area. The vine has some susceptibility to anthracnose, black rot, and other fungal diseases, but appears to be highly tolerant to Pierce’s disease and downy mildew.
Daytona vines have an upright growth habit and are vigorous. Their leaves average 18 centimeters x 18 centimeters with 5 or 7 sinuses, pointed lobes, serrated edges, a dark green adaxial surface, a light green abaxial surface, and no pubescence. Stems, petioles, and basal veins of leaves are heavily colored but not in newly opening leaves. The flowers are self-fertile, and the large, loose clusters average 201 grams with large, pink berries that average 3.8 grams. Though, berries can remain green when completely shaded. Berries tend to ripen in early August but yields average at only 1.9 tons per acre. Lack of yield was ultimately the cause of its removal within the first 5 years of being grown in Poplarville, Mississippi. While in vitro shoot propagation may not be a feasible method of supplying vines of this cultivar, it does root readily from dormant cuttings and does not require grafting when grown in well-drained soils of pH 5 to pH 6.5. For more alkaline and poorly drained soils, rootstocks such as ‘Dog Ridge’ and ‘Tampa’ may be used for grafting.
While highly tolerant to Pierce’s disease and downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola (B & C) Berl & DeT), Daytona does exhibit some susceptibility to anthracnose (Elsinoe ampelina (deBary) Shear), ripe rot (Glomerella cingulcita (Stonem) Spaulding & Schrenk), black rot (Phyllosticta ampelicida (Engelm) Aa), and powdery mildew (Erysiphe necator (Schw) Burr). Thus, a preventative fungicidal spray program is strongly recommended. Additionally, Daytona seems to be highly tolerant of grape leaffolders (Desmia funeralis (Hubner)) and grape leaf hoppers (Erythoneura comes (Say)), allowing for longer foliage retention in cooler months.
Daytona vines have grown well in USDA cold hardiness zones 8a to 10a, where it is hot and humid. It is typically trained to a bilateral cordon system, and while cane pruning has been performed in the past, yields were lower than desirable for commercial production. Spur pruning has resulted in larger yields, and thus, is recommended for this cultivar.
Even though they are seeded, Daytona berries were recommended for fresh fruit consumption upon their release due to their firm texture, adherent skins, resistance to abscission from clusters, and ‘Tokay’-like fresh fruit character. Due to low yields, it is not recommended for commercial use, but instead for dooryard, U-pick, or roadside marketing. This additionally limits its use for wine production. Though, the potential is there for small-scale production.
Mortensen, J.A. and L.H. Stover. 1983. ‘Daytona’ Grape. HortScience 18:766-767.
Mortenson, J.A. and L.H. Stover. 1983. Daytona, a table grape for Florida homeowners. Univ. Florida Agr. Expt. Sta., Inst. Food Agri. Sci. Circular S-302.
Mortensen, J.A. 1987. Grape cultivar choices for wine, juice, jelly, or fresh fruit. Proc. Viniculture Short Course Miss. State Univ. 2:10-14.
Gray, D.J. and L.C. Fisher. 1985. In vitro shoot propagation of grape species, hybrids and cultivars. Proc. Florida State Horticult. Soc. 98:172-174.