Grape Planting Tips

The thing that most determines the taste of the wine is the quality of the grapes that are used to make it. Therefore the planting and growing process is a vital step in the wine making process.

What is true for real estate is true in planting your grapes vines; location. By giving your grapevines the best access to sunlight as possible aids in photosynthesis. That process fills the grapes with sugars which becomes alcohol after fermentation. The type of soil that grapevines are planted in is also important to the health of the vine. You will also want to ensure that both sides of the vine get the same amount of sun. Grapevines do not like to sit in puddles or really wet areas. Make sure there is good drainage whenever you plant your vines. Soil that is lacking in nutrients allows the vine to grow small grapes that are perfect for wine. There is no need to use compost or fertilizers on the soil. If the soil is so poor that it won’t even grow weeds on it, you can use some compost to grow your vines in.

Plant your vines about six feet apart and if you are going to be growing a large crop, the vines should be grown in rows that are eight feet wide. Each grapevine will produce about one gallon of wine. You may loose some grapes due to a small crop or pests like insects or birds so you might want to plant extra grapevines depending on how much wine you would like to produce. Since it is a vine, you will need to supply a trellis for the grapevine to grow on. Dig a larger then normal hole for the vines. This allows the soil to be loosened allowing for good drainage.

The first year that your grape vine is growing tie the strongest shoot to the trellis with a piece of string. String does not damage the shoot like wire could. Clip any other shoots that grow from the roots. When the vine is in the dormant season you will need to once again prune your vine back. In the spring when the buds have begun to grow again, select the strongest shoots from the upright shoot and tie them loosely to the wire as they grow. These shoots will become the arms of the vine where the grapes will grow in years to come.

When it comes time to harvest, it will be beneficial to purchase a hydrometer. It can be bought from a local winemaking supply shop. A Hydrometer measures the specific gravity of liquids. It will tell you the sugar content of the berries. An ideal gravity is between 1.095 and 1.105, the latter being the better one. It is then time to harvest the grapes.

The process of growing grapes can take years in order to make wine but, with the right amount of effort the process is simple and well worth the reward you will receive in the end.


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