TUMPAT – The belief that a cold climate is best suited for growing grapes has been disproven by Wan Yusoff Abdul Rahman, 37, who has been cultivating them in tropical Malaysia for two years.
The former graphic artist said the 60 grapevines planted around his house in Kampung Belukar, Wakaf Bharu can yield up to one tonne of fruit per month.
Anyone who visits will be mesmerised by the range of grape colours from varieties like Ninel, Jupiter and Dixon.
“Most of the varieties come from Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Korea. What is surprising is that they grow well here and are nearly as sweet,” he said of his foray into grape growing which started as a research & development project.
“There is no denying that people are attracted to my house because they want to see and taste the grapes.
“It’s probably hard to believe, but each vine can yield 500 grape clusters weighing 500 – 700gm each,” said Wan Yusoff, while adding that he got his know-how from the Internet.
He said grapevines are hardy and have a long life, but require warm weather to thrive.
“Based on my R&D, rain is the number one enemy of the vines and they will require protection.
“After buds form, pinch off dead flowers and remove leaves to produce beautiful fruit. Usually, following a harvest, I prune the vines and they produce fruit again in 90 days,” he said.
Wan Yusoff said vines grown in Malaysia produce more fruit through three to four crops a year.
“I plan to start a vineyard over .4ha in Tumpat (Kelantan) for agrotourism. I’ll be planting 500 vines.
“The project has started, and I’m readying the site and young vines with the help of several agencies. God willing, there will be grapes in nine months,” said the father of five.
He said he has his sights on planting the Shine Muscat variety of grapes from Japan next, which are bigger, sweeter and can sell for RM500 per kg.