CONCORD, Mass. — Welch’s brought in food historian and Food Network star Alton Brown to celebrate Ephraim Wales Bull, the man who grew the first Concord grape in the mid-19th century.
In a ceremony at the company’s new headquarters in Concord, Mass., Welch’s and Brown honored Bull with the dedication of a freshly planted vineyard, grown from his original Concord grapevine, cultivated more than 160 years ago.
“The Concord grape is one truly American fruit with a history as distinctive as its flavor and health benefits,” shared Brown. “Thanks to Ephraim Bull and the family farmers who followed in his footsteps, Concord grapes have been enjoyed by Welch’s lovers for generations.”
A cooperative of more than 1,000 family farmers owns the Welch’s brand. All the Concord vineyards harvested by these family farmers are descendants of Bull’s parent vine.
“Similar to wine, the quality of our juice is a result of where our grapes are grown,” said Dennis Rak, one of Welch’s family-farmer owners of Fredonia, N.Y. “Our vineyards continue to thrive in harsh growing conditions and unique microclimates that result in the best-tasting Concord grapes, and therefore, the memorable taste of Welch’s 100% Grape Juice.”
Bull’s original vine still bears fruit on the property where he lived, just up the road from Welch’s headquarters. When the company moved to its new offices earlier this year, employees seized the chance to propagate the original Concord grapevine.
“The town of Concord is steeped in American history,” added president and CEO Brad Irwin. “When we moved our corporate headquarters this year, we were proud to continue to stand with Concord and celebrate our legacy. We’re honored to be able to deepen and extend the connection we have to local heritage.”