Unlike the full-size Kiwi fruit, this one has smooth, edible skin that will be light to dark green, occasionally reddish from sun exposure. The fruit grows in clusters.
Inside, the fruit looks the same as the full-size Kiwi fruit, though it has more concentrated flavour and sweetness.
Grape Kiwi plants are hardier than regular Kiwi. Regular Kiwi can survive temperatures down to -10 F (-23 C); Grape Kiwi plants can survive temperatures as low as -25 F ( -31 C.)
The main cultivar of Grape Kiwi currently (2010) in North America is “Ananasnaya” (meaning “pineapple-like, aka “Anna”.) It was developed in Russia by Ivan Michurin during the Stalin years.
Another cultivar being grown in North America is Issai, which came from Japan in 1986. It is less hardy than Anna. It is self-fertile, though larger fruits are achieved with cross-pollination.
Grape Kiwis will ripen further in storage if they were allowed to ripen on the vine until seeds have turned black.
That said, Grape Kiwis do not store well, perhaps up to 6 weeks in clamshell cases, refrigerated.
Aka: Hardy kiwifruit, Baby Kiwi, Actinidia arguta, Actinidia kolomikta
Mainland, Charles M. and Connie Fisk. Kiwifruit . Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University. 2006.
Strik, Bernadine and Helen Cahn. Growing Kiwifruit. Pacific Northwest Cooperative Extension Publications. PNW0507. February 1998.