A new raisin grape developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in California is proving to be very popular among producers because it costs less to harvest. Unlike other grape varieties, the new “Sunpreme” variety does not require cane pruning. Usually, crews must go out about two weeks before the harvest and cut the long branches on the vines that produce the grapes. Only then will the grapes begin to wilt so they can be shaken into trays later. Cane cutting costs about $130 per acre, which is roughly 36 per cent of total harvest costs, says Craig Ledbetter, an ARS plant geneticist. The Sunpreme raisin grape could save millions of dollars in production costs as the vines only need to be spur pruned, which generally requires less skill than cane pruning, to produce grapes of comparable in size, quality and number, Ledbetter says.