Wineberries (Rubus phoenicolasius) Bid “Farewell” for Another Season

OMG- I Just popped my first wineberry of the season into my mouth.   Heavens!   How can such a small, tiny ruby-red berry taste so yummy?!

My first introduction to wineberries was not a pleasant one.  Over the years Hubby painfully  transplanted them to grace his side yard.   His side yard was right next to the kitchen door. Every time I walked by them the fine little stickers on the branches would catch on my garments.   Big time annoyed was I.   I did not have nice things to say about wineberries.

Wineberry, Rubus phoenicolasius Maxim, is an invasive plant and vigorous grower that can form dense thickets covering large areas, displacing many native plants in the process. - Photo courtesy National Park Service

Well, that house is history and we are here now.   He has been trying to convince me again to grace our surrounding property with wineberries.   No way, no how!

Well that was until last night.

I guess the recent heat and rain we have had has done wonders for the wineberries.   Daughter and friend were out walking and reported back a sighting of succulent berries…

So, after supper, in the cool of the evening (okay, cooler part of the day), Hubby and 12-year-old Granddaughter, with buckets (huge buckets) in hand head off down the road.   Now mind you, Granddaughter is not “country” but does have several years of Girl Scout camp under her belt.

Well, she just turned “all city”!

Here Hubby is trying to share nature and a FREE harvest of wonderful fruit and she (like me) can only see the pickers and the sticky bushes.  And with no appreciation for what a delicious treat awaited those, who with care and reverence, harvest this delicate and delicious fruit.   (There must be a life lesson in here somewhere.)

Well after sampling a few that came home, I marveled at the fact that they were not only sweet and plump, but unlike their cousin the raspberry, the wineberry’s tiny seeds did not get stuck in my teeth.

Oh my, we must have more of these.   Just think of, the jams and pies I could make!

I pulled out my iTouch and, like all modern day researchers, headed for Google-land.  (What an interesting name … I remember the first time I heard someone say Yahoo. I thought that they were referring to a chocolate drink – – silly me!)

Anyway, Google-ing, I found that this sweet, wonderful tasting berry brought from Asia to cross-breed for a better raspberry, is considered a danger to the local vegetation, an experiment, gone astray; a Frankenstein of nature.

Remember Kudzu? Remember learning in science class about the bunnies released on an island that had no natural predators and how they went wild?

It’s not nice to mess with Mother Nature.

Well, I have been called a ‘tree hugger’ in my life. I am all for the balance of Nature and the ‘Leave only footprints and take only memories’ saying that was printed on our tee-shirts in the 70’s.   But I am about ready to go out and relieve nature of some of these wonderful plants and see where I could place them on the FAR perimeters of our property (not next to my kitchen door–yet) for future harvesting,

I have heard that the berries make an awesome wine but I must have a hole in my bucket because I can never seem to get it full.

One for the bucket, three for me, one for the bucket, three for me.

You can Google more info about wineberries;


  1. Jason Watson says:

    What a wonderful article! I want to go find some wine berries right now. Thanks for sharing this information and I hope I find enough berries to make a pie and maybe even some of that elusive wine berry wine.

    • J.C.Coon says:

      Actually we still have some up here on the mountains ( in Clarke) and they were so Sweet I was amazed. I thought i had missed them all Together this year. Must have been the rain. But you are right, the season Is waining.

      • Good for you. We picked them like crazy a few weeks ago. The last of ours were gone a couple of weeks ago 🙁 Most people think they are raspberries.

  2. She must have written this a few weeks ago if in Clarke Co. These things have been dried up for some time. Been enjoying them for years.

    CDN Editor’s Note: Nice catch Jim, you’re both right and wrong!

    Yes, the story was written a couple of weeks ago. (The recent pace of news in Clarke County made it hard to work the story into the paper.) However, there are still wineberries (provided you know where to look.)

    Along the top of the Great Blue Ridge the growing season tends to lag about two weeks behind that of the valley. It is possible in the spring to actually follow the blossom progression of the redbuds and dogwoods up the mountain. So iIf you would like to experience the taste of one last wineberry before the season ends you have about another two to three days to do it along the top of the ridge. They’re almost gone (but not quite…)

  3. Trailbugz says:

    Very Nice Article! I was doing some research, to find out what these “weeds” were, that keep appearing among my blackberries and raspberries – thinking they were poisonous, we have been trying to rid our property of them for the past 5 years! However, we will now find them a new home in our garden (semi-controlled!) and will look forward to another year of berry picking! Thanks!