At the heart of Welch’s are 1,000 family farmers who make everything possible. Each and every farmer is a grape growing expert, who takes great pride in the vineyards they’ve cultivated for generations. It’s our farmer’s dedication to growing the best Concord and Niagara grapes that’s allowed us to provide families with the delicious juices, jams and jellies they’ve loved for years. Our story began over 140 years ago, when Thomas Bramwell Welch decided to serve grape juice instead of wine at his church. Welch was the first to pasteurize bottled fruit juice using Concord grapes, paving the way for a future industry. After its debut at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Welch’s Grape Juice went on to become the national family favorite it is today.
The Concord grape was first cultivated in 1849 by Ephraim Wales Bull in Concord, Massachusetts. He wanted to create a grape that could withstand the colder climate of the Northeast. Using the Vitis labrusca, or “fox” grape, native to the area, he planted 22,000 seedlings. After six years he finally selected a single vine he thought worth keeping and named it after his hometown. Bull’s original vine still exists today in Concord! The first unfermented grape juice known to be processed in the United States was by a Vineland, New Jersey dentist, Dr. Thomas Welch in 1869. Dr. Welch, his wife and 17-year old son, Charles, gathered 40 pounds of Concord grapes from the trellis in front of their house.
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