Grape Planting Tips

March 13, 2014

The secret to making good wine is first harvesting the highest quality grapes. Even the best winemakers can’t overcome the effects of substandard grapes. The most important factor in growing excellent grapes is vineyard location. The climate needs to match the requirements of the grape varieties you choose; the soil needs to have excellent drainage and the proper PH, plenty of sunshine, and availability of water.

Determine the climate you live in and then you need to research grape varieties to find the ones that will grow best. If you are lucky, you live in a Mediterranean climate such as California and will be able to choose from all the most popular varietals. If you live in a colder climate, you will need to choose from a number of hybrid varieties which also can make some excellent wine. You also need to assess your micro climate. Altitude is most important since if you are in the mountains, your climate will be much colder. Also being close to water, or being on a north facing slope will change the climate parameters. Once you have a good lock on your climate conditions, decide what types of grapes will be right for you in light of your personal tastes

After picking the proper grape varieties, the next most important item is your soil. If your are searching for property, you have a lot of latitude, but most people already have their land so must find the best spot on their property. Drainage is the most important. If you don’t have good drainage, your grapes will not produce well and may even die from disease and rot. A sandy soil that has little or no clay and is low on organic matter is best since that will stress your vines and produce small grapes. Before you plant, I suggest you have the soil tested to see what varieties are most suitable for your soil.

You are ready to go. Hopefully it is fall so you can order your root stock for spring delivery and built your trellises. That way you are ready to hit the ground running in the spring. You want to deal with a nursery that specializes in grapes since they are going to be far more knowledgeable and will provide the best root stock. By ordering ahead, you will be assured of one year old plants of good quality delivered at the right time for planting.

You have now made some of the most crucial decisions regarding your vines. Of course, there are many less important steps you must take and problems to solve. I recommend you sign up for my 10 day minicourse to get so more information on all facets of grape growing and wine making. You will be on your way to starting a lifetime hobby that will keep you challenged and provide lots of fun the rest of your life. You also will be rewarded by having fine wine for your table at a low cost