If you really want to learn how grow grapes in your backyard, you must first appease the Gods by offering them stupendously juicy grapes which can be found at the farmer’s market.
Once the Gods’ tummies are full, you will receive their blessings and only then, will you be able to comprehend and execute the grape growing techniques that are available in this world.
So what are you waiting for? You want to know how to grow grapes at home, right? Get going to the farmer’s market like right now! Buy a bunch of stupendously juicy grapes and use them as offerings to the Gods. It’s that simple…and my joke is simply stupid.
Okay, sorry for the moronic joke. I rambled about gods and all that because grapes were once thought to be the food of the Gods, eaten by kings and queens while seated comfortably on their thrones.
Although now readily available on the market, grapes still seem to be distant from the reach of regular consumers because they come at a higher price than most fruit.
This is a sad reality, considering that grapes are proven to have health benefits such as warding off cancer and heart disease. Hence, many homeowners these days are growing grapes at home to avoid splurging by purchasing grapes and grape products, while at the same time reaping health benefits.
Before you ever start growing them, the first thing that you need to look into is the climate of your area.
Wait, wait…actually, before I talk about climate and other stuff pertaining to grape cultivation methods, I just thought I should give you a heads up about this system that I personally used as my reference guide for growing grapes in my backyard.
It’s basically a downloadable guide and I consider James—the guy who put this guide together—as my exclusive mentor in the art of growing grapes at home. The guy knows how to grow grapes even in the harshest of places.
In fact, he has years of grape growing experience in areas not conducive to cultivating these wonderful vine fruits, and his system contains all the necessary details on how he’s done it.
I honestly believe this is one of the most detailed and helpful guides ever written about how to grow grapes in your backyard and in virtually any climate. His system—which includes instructional videos—gives you step-by-step directions and methods for producing grapes in areas that are conducive as well as non-conducive to grape growing.
You know, I made many, many growing mistakes before I discovered James’s grape growing system, and those mistakes were pretty demotivating. But never give, up never surrender, right? Give yourself a pat on the back if you love Galaxy Quest!
Anyway his system helped me out a ton, and now my backyard is producing reliable crops year after year. So if you want to grow your own grapes for wine or eating without committing motivation-crushing mistakes, you might want to check out his system.
Now, where was I? Oh yeah…climate! See, as a general rule, grapes prefer to grow in areas with a four-season cycle which of course includes winter, spring, summer, and fall—with the summer season lasting at least three months long.
But if the summer-like temperature in your area lasts for more than three months, don’t fret! Most varieties of grapes enjoy growing in a warm climate so it’s not really a problem.
And if the climate in your area is mostly cold, there are a number of grapes that like it chilly. Baltica, Landot Noir, LaCrosse, Swensen Red and White, Bluebell, and Somerset Seedless are only but a few of the grape varieties that thrive in the cold.
If it rains too much in your region or it is cold and frosty all-year long, then learning how to grow grape at home may not be a good idea. It would only waste your money, time, and effort if you try growing grapes without even bothering to assess climate conditions.
After careful consideration of the climate of your area for growing grapes at home, properly select a grape variety suited for your needs.
There are certain grapes specifically bred for purposes of wining, juicing, and eating so you better be careful in making your choice. There is even a distinction between red and white grapes for these purposes.
Aligot, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris are good examples of white grapes that are used for wines. Meanwhile, Pinot Noir, Pinotage, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon are red grapes terrific for wining.
Seedless grape varieties are your best options for fresh eating, while varieties like St. Pepin and Valiant will do great for making grape jelly.
Do your research first before deciding which grape variety you will use for home growing. Once you have selected a grape variety which fits your needs as a home-grower, the next step is to soak its rootstock for a few hours.
Never leave it to soak in a bucket of water for more than a day to avoid ruining it.
If you don’t have the time to plant the grapes within a day, you can dig a shallow hole in your backyard and bury them there temporarily, making sure that you keep them moist until the time that you’re available for planting.
When you do have the time, plant each grapevine at least 8 to 10 feet from each other and ensure that the soil is rich and drains freely. Growing grapes from home may be time-consuming, but it definitely fits the saying “you reap what you sow” because of its significant contributions to human health.
Several studies show that grapes and grape wines serve as protectors of the human heart, decreasing the incidence of heart disease. Particularly in France, residents are known to have high-fat diets.
Even so, the incidence of heart disease among the French still remains low because of their high consumption of red wine. Resveratrol is another key ingredient of grapes known to inhibit both cancer and heart disease due to its antioxidant properties.
The best part about knowing how to grow grapes in your backyard is that it is a budget-friendly way of keeping you and your family healthy. Homeowners can make juices, jelly, and wines with their chosen grape varieties for home growing or even eat them after freshly being picked.
Who says grapes are only for the wealthy? By growing grapes from home, you can easily pick them for consumption right out of your backyard.
Soil for Growing Grapes at Home
Good food does not only need a good cook but the choice of good ingredients as well. The same concept applies when it comes to growing grapes wherein several factors determine the quality of grapes that you produce.
At most, these factors are within control of a grape grower as they mainly depend on his or her choices. One of which, is the selection and preparation of the grape growing soil in which the grape root stocks are to be planted and grown.
Back when you were a kid, you may have learned that there are four different soil types—sand, silt, clay, and loam. These soil type variations are set according to their different content and consistencies.
Sand is mainly made up of natural granules that came from rocks and minerals. Silt is composed of granules slightly larger than sand but made up of the same content.
Meanwhile, clay is composed only of mineral granules that are larger than those that make up sand. Loam soil is a mixture of these three basic types of soil and is said to be the richest variety of soil due to its high nutrient content.
When it comes to growing grapes, the best grape growing soil is that of sand or loam. These types of soil not only promote good drainage of water but they are also highly nutritious by nature, making them ideal for growing grapes.
A well-draining soil is a necessity when it comes to grape growing. This is because if the soil doesn’t drain water adequately, your grapes’ roots will end up “drowning” in a pool of water and ultimately affect growth and amount of your grape yields.
Also, ensure that the soil where you are going to plant your grapes isn’t too wet or too dry, as these too will affect the quantity and quality of the grapes that you grow.
Of course, even the proper selection of a good grape growing soil is not enough to ensure that you come up with a healthy bunch of grapes each and every time. You also have to put in some effort by preparing the soil prior to planting.
To prepare the soil, all you have to do is remove any weeds and add compost or long-standing manure into the soil. Grapes enjoy acidic soils with a pH of 5.0 to 5.5, and compost materials or manure may be enough to make the soil acidic and conducive to grape growing.
For every 100 square feet of soil, up to five bushels of compost or manure may be incorporated into the soil before planting. After the prompt preparation of the grape growing soil, you can then begin digging holes in the space you dedicated for growing grapes.
It is vital that you properly space each planting hole so as to prevent your grape plants from competing against each other for nutrients and water. Each planting hole should be at least six to eight feet away from each other within a row, and each planting row should be at least nine feet apart from the next.
Aside from spacing planting holes well-apart from each other, the depth of the holes that you make into the grape growing soil is also vital in determining the quality of growth of your grape vines, as well as the productivity of these vines.
Deep enough holes will allow your grape vines to reach a depth of up to 15 feet, spreading in a fan-like formation. The holes that you dig should be at least six feet deep in order to allow this downward vertical growth and to prevent roots from spreading horizontally.
By properly selecting and preparing the grape growing soil for your grape vineyard project, you have already nailed one critical component in the production of high-grade grapes in numbers.
As a grape grower, your responsibility is to incorporate other ingredients necessary in making sure that your grape vines are healthy and productive.
How to Grow Grapes in Your Backyard without Soil
Grape growing without soil? Is that even possible? Well, it may be possible via hydroponics gardening.
I’ve read bits and pieces of info from here and there about grape cultivation methods done in a hydroponics gardening system, but I have no idea whether it actually works or not.
The grape growing techniques I’ve learned (mostly from the grape growing system by James – discover his system here) and applied over the years are all conventional.
Growing grapes hydroponically is still in its infancy I believe, but I might be open to giving it a shot someday.
Wait…what’s that? You’re not familiar with the term ‘hydroponics?’ Hey, what’s the matter with you? Go back to school, why don’t you, huh? Sorry, just joking.
All right, here’s a bit of info about hydroponics in case you’re interested.
Hydroponics is a revolutionary way of growing plants with just water and nutrients. If hydroponic gardening is new to you, then this is the right time for you to learn the basics and understand the principles of how plants can grow, and even thrive without soil.
In nature, plants grow the traditional way in soil, and the roots search for moisture, nutrients, and other minerals to survive. In most hydroponic systems the roots still need to attach to something to support the plants, this is done with the use of hydroponic media.
The word hydroponics came from the Greek words “Hydro” which means water and “Phonos” which signifies labor, so working with water is the main point of hydroponics.
There are two main types of systems in hydroponics; they are the Active Systems and the Passive Systems. Examples of Active Systems are Ebb n Flow (Flood and Drain), Nutrient Film Technique, Drip System, and the Aeroponic System.
Passive Systems consist of the Water Culture, Deep Water Culture, and the Wick System. The Passive Systems are easier to build and maintain, however plants usually do much better in an Active System.
The choice is yours. Either way, you will enjoy the numerous benefits of hydroponics. Some types of hydroponics systems are the wick system, deep water culture, water culture, ebb and flow (flood and drain) nutrient film technique, aeroponic, and the drip system.
Types of hydroponic media include perlite, vermiculite, clay pellets, and rockwool. Perlite and vermiculite, work best for the wick system, rockwool will work as well, however clay pellets don’t absorb moisture well enough for the plants to get adequate water.
Clay pellets work well in the deep water culture as well as the water culture. It is probably best to start the seeds or cuttings in small rockwool cubes, and then move the cubes into clay pellets once the roots start growing through the rockwool.
The best media choice for the ebb and flow hydroponics system probably is to use rockwool cubes. The size of the cubes should depend on the size of your containers.
And then clay pellets under and around to hold the cubes in place. No media is used in the nutrient film technique; the roots just dangle in the nutrient solution.
All of these types of medium will work well in the aropenic system. A mixture of perlite and vermiculite is probably the best choice of hydroponic media for the drip system, as they are much cheaper than rockwool which will work great as well.
Let me give you a brief explanation of seven of the hydroponics systems. The wick system consists of a reservoir and a grow tray with wicks to carry moisture from the reservoir to the grow tray. The deep water culture and the water culture consist of a container such as a tote tub.
This holds both the nutrient solution and the plants. The only difference between the two is that with the deep water culture, the plants are held securely on top of the container, and with the water culture system, they float and are usually attached to Styrofoam.
The ebb n flow system also known as flood and drain, consists of a reservoir, and a grow tray filled with media or pots filled with media, or you can even place pots inside the grow tray. The nutrient film technique consists of a reservoir and a grow tray usually a tube.
The plants are usually placed in small baskets, no media is used and the roots just dangle in the circulating nutrient solution. The drip hydroponics system consists of a grow tray or other individual containers such as buckets.
The nutrient solution is pumped drip by drip through emitters to the plants. The easiest way to make an aeroponic system is with a tote tub. This acts as the reservoir and holds the plants.
The reservoir contains the nutrient solution and the roots of the plants; however the roots hang above the nutrient solution level. A mist of nutrient solution is sprayed on the roots.
Once you have learned hydroponics, you will have the opportunity to explore all of the benefits of growing crops without soil. Studies have shown that crops grown with hydroponics have a higher nutritional value and better taste than crops grown in fields.
Lastly, there are a lot of things to discover in hydroponics and in the following years it is expected that more techniques will be introduced for better growing of crops using this method.
All right, now I’m done talking about the basics of hydroponics. Let get back to the topic of how to grow grapes at home, and the next thing I want to touch on is growing grapes from cuttings.
How to Grow Grapes from Cuttings
If you’re planning to begin your grape growing venture, growing grapes from cuttings is an excellent way to go.
Though you can also choose to grow your grapes with the use of seeds, growing grapes from cuttings gives you the assurance of knowing that the cuttings were taken from a grape vine that has already grown.
You would also have an idea of the capability of your vine to bear fruit, as this is comparable to the vine where the cuttings were obtained from.
If you’ve decided on growing grapes from cuttings, the first thing you need to do is obtain the cuttings. It’s a good idea to obtain your cuttings from a healthy, established grape vine that is known for flourishing in your area.
This is to ensure that your plants will thrive and are well-suited in your area’s conditions. You can obtain these by asking your local vintners, or going to your local nursery or agricultural center to find out how you can get these vines.
These cuttings are usually taken from dormant grape vines that are only a year old. Then you need to store the cuttings properly until the time is right for planting them.
Spray the roots with water to moisten them and then pack them securely in damp peat moss or paper. Place these inside a plastic bag and store it in a refrigerator.
You can also store them in an unheated place for the winter, but make sure that the cuttings don’t freeze.
After the frost season, usually in early spring, you can now plant your cuttings. Place them in a soil that is tilled, well-drained and moist.
Also, make sure that the location gets enough sun and air circulation so the plants can flourish. You can also choose to plant the cuttings in individual pots or trays first, before moving them to their permanent location.
This is a good idea for those who live in cold, harsher climates to protect the vines in their early growth. Around two to three weeks, the cuttings will begin to take root.
The last and most vital step is caring for your grape vines. Make sure to water your plants regularly, taking care not to over-water as this can make your plants grow leaves, not fruits.
When the cuttings grow new shoots around six inches, it is important to add fertilizer to your soil. Pruning is also important so that your grape vines will grow healthily and bear fruit.
Growing grapes from cuttings will surely ensure the success of your grape growing venture. Just make sure to follow these steps, and in just a couple of years, you will be able to enjoy the fruits grown from your vineyard.
How to Grow Grapes at Home from Seeds
Whatever your reason is for why you choose growing grapes from seed instead of roots or stocking, it is vital for you to know that the process can become long and tough before you finally get good vines out of it and harvest sweet berries later.
When speaking of a long process, it means that it may take a few years before you can fully enjoy its fruits.
On the other hand, the process can be tough too because it requires a lot of extra work as compared to planting grapevines from roots or stocking. Worse, the tendency of getting the right grape’s characteristics you wish is fairly low.
Despite knowing this fact and you still want to proceed on growing grapes from seeds, you must prepare for the planting process.
You can increase your chances of reaping success granted that you know the right techniques in growing grapes successfully from seeds. Read on and find out the right tips for success:
1. Collect grape seeds. Buy and collect grape seeds from your local supermarket or you can also collect if from a grape nursery. This can be done offline or online. The best way however, is to buy from a nursery so you can get the particular grape variety you want.
2. Plant seeds in pot. In a small pot, scatter and plant the grape seeds you have purchased. Just plant it onto the soil’s top layer. Then right away, put the pot inside a plastic bag.
3. Refrigerate the seeds. Unlike planting grapes from root and stocking, grapes from seeds need to be refrigerated first. This is actually done because the seeds require cold temperature, at least below 40 degrees to end its state of dormancy.
The grape seeds must be placed inside the refrigerator for about 30 to 90 days. However, if the temperature outside is wintry, you can skip this process. But, make sure that there is no rain or wind outside. Plus, do not allow the seeds to freeze.
4. The warming process. After taking the seeds off the refrigerator, allow them to warm in room temperature. Don’t remove them from the plastic bags yet. Just leave the seeds there until they are warm enough.
5. Remove the seeds from the bag. The best time to remove the pot from the bag is when the seeds have already germinated. Once the plastic is removed, place the pot in a windowsill or in any dry location where the grapes can get enough sunlight.
6. Transfer the grapes in separate containers. When the grapes are already three inches or taller, you can transfer the seeds in separate pots. Shelter them from any rain and wind for a period of 10 days or more.
7. Place the grapes in a good location permanently. After 10 to 14 days, place the pots in a permanent location that has direct sunlight. Sunlight is what they need most in order to grow healthy and to eradicate possibilities of diseases.
There are a lot of good ways and techniques in growing grapes from seed successfully. However, if you want to have a pretty good chance to gain success in this kind of work, just be guided with these steps and surely, your hard work will pay off in the end.
How to Grow Grapes in Container
Are you a homeowner who dreams of growing grapes at home in your backyard? Don’t continuously dream for this moment to arrive.
No fairy will shower her dust to grant your wish, because if you start your research today, you will realize that you can grow deliciously juicy grapes on your own without any magic involved!
Even with a limited space at home, it is possible to harvest sweet grapes in the future. Nowadays, there is nothing to worry about when it comes to getting this long time dream of yours.
You can now grow your favorite grapes and soon harvest fruits at home no matter how undersized your extra space is. This is through the use of pots or containers.
And take note, your grapes can also be as healthy as those grown in big yards as long as you recognize the right tricks to execute. Here, take advantage of the following steps on growing a grape in containers the successful way:
1. Prepare a fairly large and deep container. When considering planting a grapevine into pots, your first task is to choose a container that is large and deep enough.
Containers that measure about 18 inches across and 15 inches deep are the best pots to use for this project.
This is necessary so that the deep and large roots of the grapes can be accommodated. But before you plant grapes in a container, make sure to put enough drain holes to prevent water from being stuck within.
2. Place the pot next to a good support system. After you have chosen your container, bring it next to a wall, fence, or trellis that is strong enough to provide support.
3. Fill container with soil. The soil is another important thing that is required for you to successfully grow grapes in a container. Hence, do not just put a simple garden soil but rather a quality coarse soil to ensure proper draining.
4. Trim broken roots. Before you proceed on covering the roots in the container, see to it first that the rootstock is free from broken roots in order for it to grow well.
Also, if you notice that the grapevine has roots that are tight or bailed up; find a way to loosen them first before you plant it all the way in the container.
5. Plant and cover. When everything from the rootstock, soil, and container is ready, you may now plant the root into the container and cover with good quality soil.
6. Water grape plant. Of course, you will need to water the vine regularly but lessen the consistency of watering once the grape grows older.
Finally, you can already harvest grapes at home no matter how small your area is! Hence, you may now say goodbye to the belief that planting grapes is not for everyone.
So now, start growing yummy grapes in an easy and comfortable manner using containers at home, and then you can enjoy them as much as you want!
Vine plants such as grape vines could not support themselves to stand like trees could. If left alone to grow, they could uncontrollably stretch horizontally across the ground and cling to the nearest standing object they could find in your garden.
They might cling to your fence or your garden gnome, or even stick to a tree to grow further. So as to prevent these from happening, you could install a grape trellis.
Since grape vines are unable to support themselves, a trellis would act as their support structure, guiding and controlling their growth within a limited and upward space.
Gardening stores sell fancy and decorated versions of these trellises but they may come at a high price. If you are merely after the function of a trellis, it would be wiser for you to make them on your own.
With a do-it-yourself grape vine trellis, you are guaranteed to save money without having to sacrifice quality. The first thing that you need to do is to assess the available space in your garden.
Ideally, grape vines are spaced eight to ten feet apart from each other within a row, which is why each grape growing trellis should be spaced just as much. Measure your garden to see how much trellises you need given your available garden space.
But if you have a much smaller garden, design the spacing in a way that you could maximize the limited space. For example, instead of arranging your grape vines in the typical, horizontal manner, you can arrange them diagonally if it is the best way that you could maximize your space.
Second, after counting how many trellises you could set up in your garden, it is now time that you purchase your materials. Using metal poles as trellises are inadvisable because their prolonged exposure to water and the outdoors makes them prone to rusting.
Purchasing just any wooden pole is also not a good idea despite its high economical value since they might easily rot. The best grape trellis materials are those that have the ability to withstand outdoor weather conditions.
One good example is bamboo. For every trellis that you will make, you will need three bamboos that are 6 ½ inches in diameter.
In illustration, if your garden is able to accommodate nine grape vines and nine trellises accordingly, you multiply nine by three to get the number of bamboo sticks that you need to purchase, which in this case is 27.
Aside from the bamboo sticks, you also need to buy a spool of paddle wire. If you don’t have any, pull the wire from its spool without cutting it off and tightly wrap it around one bamboo stick four inches down from the end.
Place the second stick beside the wired pole in alignment, then twine the paddle wire around both sticks in a figure 8 pattern.
After three or more wraps have been made in each of the two sticks, align the third stick with them and follow the same procedure as before with the second and the third stick.
Once three or more wire wraps are done between the second and third stick, twist the wire around the first stick and cut it. When done with all the trellises that you need, you can stand each one on your garden as you have initially planned and spaced.
Do not forget to spread out each trellis in a tripod. Bamboo poles take a long time before they show any signs of decay so you are assured that they are going to last long for your grape vineyard.
Imagine yourself resting beneath a pergola and watching the world go by in your very own backyard. During spring, you will see flowers in full bloom and your garden fill up with different shades of green.
In the summertime, you can watch your family set up an outdoor pool for your kids to play in. By fall, leaves with hues of orange and yellow begin falling down to the ground in the most graceful way.
And in winter, you could sit right under your homey pergola and watch the snowflakes when they first hit the land. To make your pergola even more timeless, you can transform it into an arbor for growing grapes.
In a garden, a pergola primarily acts as shade. It is a structure made up of pillars which in turn supports a series of cross-beams and an open lattice wherein grape vines and other woody vines can be grown.
Thus, when you are under a pergola, you are protected from the sun’s heat. Come to think of it, a grape growing arbor is only a pergola that has grape vines growing on its lattice.
When you are under it then, what you will see are the grapes that you are growing. What would be a more beautiful sight than seeing the fruits of your labor acting as your pergola’s roof top?
Aside from acting as shade, a growing grapes arbor also serves the actual purpose of growing grapes. Typically, grapes are grown on soil and trained on trellises that stand only a few feet above the ground.
With proper training though, you can guide grapes to grow out of the soil and move upwards to the lattices of a pergola to complete the look of a grape arbor.
It will indeed be a wonderful addition to your garden once it’s been put together. Prior to building a grape growing arbor, you have to prepare all the materials you will need.
The materials that you need include six posts which are 10 feet long and 6 inches by 6 inches, two 4×4 posts that are 12 feet long, nine round 6-foot fence posts, some concrete, a saw, shovel, hammer, and a ladder.
After preparing these, begin digging holes for the six 10-feet posts in two separate rows—3 posts must be set in each row. Each hole must be spaced 5.5 feet apart.
On the top side of all these posts, make 4×4 inch cut-outs forming L-shapes. Next, put some concrete in all of the six holes and place the six posts in each of them, with the L-shaped cutouts facing inside.
Place the two 4×4 posts above the two existing rows and nail them in place. At the end of the nine fence posts, cut notches into them so that they will fit the installed 4×4 posts.
Lastly, while leaving four to six inches of overhang on the ends of these nine posts, place the three above each pair and place the remaining six equally spaced between them.
For the completion of your grapes arbor, plant grape vines along each of the six supporting beams. You need six grape vines for this then. As the grape vines begin to grow upwards, patiently wind them around their corresponding posts and trim them as necessary.
Making a growing grapes arbor requires hard work. But once you have accomplished it as a project, not only will you have shade or a decorative ornament that will make your garden more beautiful.
You will also have a pergola that serves purposefully as a grape vine trellis. The best part of this all is that you can make use of your grapes for eating or for making wine, grape juice, or grape jelly.
Pruning Grape Vines
Pruning grape vines correctly actually removes much of the growth from the previous year, sometimes as much as 95%. That’s why, if a vine is left alone, it will retain many more buds and therefore can, in theory, produce a greater number of bunches.
This is not necessarily a good thing because what you run the risk of doing is overworking the poor vine. Think about it. Bunches of grapes don’t ripen by themselves.
It takes energy from the vine for the ripening process to occur. The more bunches exist, the more energy is needed. Too many bunches means that the vine is not going to be able to produce enough energy to ripen all.
What will eventually happen is your bunches will become straggly and you won’t have much fruit that you can actually use. Even if your grape vines are just for decorative purposes, won’t full ripe clusters look better?
That’s where pruning grape vines comes in. Once you understand the purpose that pruning grape vines serves, it won’t be a chore to you but a stimulating activity.
The main thing is learning how to achieve the process correctly, and having a great deal of patience since it can take as much as three years for a vine to begin producing fruit, depending on the variety.
It is not a good idea to introduce pruning grape vines in the first year of growth. It is much better to let the vine grow on its own. This will help to ensure that the root system is allowed to strengthen. Having said this there are still special grower secrets to consider.
During the winter of the first year, remove all the stems at the base of the plant or as close to the trunk on the main stem as possible, except the strongest and most vigorous-looking stem. This will become the trunk of the plant and should be staked, using a grape stake, or secured along a fence by means of wire.
Stems will continue to grow from the main trunk, and this should be allowed. However, in the spring of the second year, only two of the very best side shoots growing from the trunk should be retained.
Once the vine reaches the desired height you’ll need to cut back the top of the trunk. This can force new growth along the main trunk, so you’ll have to remove any branches that take away from the shape of the vine.
By the second winter, you should have the basic framework of the vine—an upright trunk and two sets of side branches. All you’ll need to do during the third spring and summer is to continue trimming in a special way.
Here comes a very crucial part. In the third winter, you’ll want to leave between 10 – 15 buds along each arm of the vine. These are what are going to produce your grape bunches once summer comes. Each of these buds is known as a ‘renewal bud’ and should have 1-2 leaf joints.
You will need to continue the practice of pruning the renewal buds so new growth is allowed during the summer, but the vine is kept under control in the dormant seasons.
That, in a nutshell, is the proper way of pruning grape vines. The most important thing to remember is that grape vine pruning is a necessary part of ensuring a high quality crop.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a commercial grower or you just like the way bunches of grapes look on your trellis, you cannot afford to overlook the importance of pruning grape vines—it’s worth the small investment to do it properly.
Choosing what kind of grapes you want for growing is important for a few reasons including the land you’re growing them in and what you want to use them for. There are literally thousands of different types out there and each one offers something special to the grower.
Some varieties include red, white, red table, white table, wine, and purple/blue table grapes, and so many more. You need to consider the kind of grape you want to grow with the land you’re growing them in and the weather conditions as well.
Some important details to consider when deciding on a good spot are looking at what each type of grape has to offer.
Other than black and white varieties there are two main families: Vitis Vinifera (mainly in Europe) and Vitis Labrusca (found in Canada and the eastern United States).
Wine grapes alone have over 5,000 varieties and I will go into a bit of detail about a few of the types there are below and what they’re used for.
Mainly grown in Luxembourg and Canada is the Auxerrois, or Malbec/Cot, and is used to create very soft and fruitlike wine. It’s blended with the Pinot Blanc grape in Alsace.
A low-tannin grape known for its tarry flavor is the Barbera. It’s planted among many places including California and there it’s equal with Merlot grape vines. Its home is in Italy and has more acerage than Sangiovese and Nebbiolo. Another place very well known for this grape is Piedmont.
Cabernet Sauvignon make good red wines when aged properly. On the vine they are small, red, and tough. The wine produced from these grapes give the taste of blackberries and cedar.
These grapes are also mixed in with Merlot and are used by Bordeaux, another type of grapes. California and Australia are where these grapes are widely grown and the tannin that’s used is what makes the great tasting red wine.
The Chardonay is a fresh and fruity grape normally grown in South Africa, Australia, California, Champagne, and Burgundy. This grape tends to taste like fruits such as melons and peaches.
Many also give an oaky flavor as well. It buds early and is grown easily and has high ripeness levels, which make it one of the most popular and easiest to grow white grapes.
Among the many grape varieties that you can grow, growing Concord grapes is one of the easiest. They are a popular choice among grape growers.
This particular variety is known for being very aromatic and has a color that ranges from dark purple to dark blue. Compared to other varieties, they are pretty easy to take care of and their vines are easily trained to grow on a trellis or fence.
Growing Concord Grapes
Similar to other grape varieties, you need good exposure to sunlight in growing Concord grapes. This variety is not very choosy when it comes to soil though, which makes it a favorite among home gardeners.
Like other grapes, you need to plant them in an area with good drainage to avoid vegetative growth. Pruning, weeding and pest control must be done for them to grow healthily. You also need to construct a trellis system to support the fruits they bear.
Another great thing about Concord grape growing is that they can easily adapt to cooler climates. The reason for this is that they typically ripen before the winter season.
It has also been discovered that they are very healthy for people; these grapes have antioxidant properties that lower the risk of having heart diseases. Each year, around 400,000 tons of Concord grapes are produced commercially.
The national market continues to increase its demand for these sweet, juicy grapes, which is why this is a great time to start planting them. For anyone wanting to start their grape growing endeavor, growing Concord grapes can be a great way to start.
With its versatility, hardiness and ability to adapt to different conditions, they are truly a popular variety. Any home grower will find them a great choice of grape to plant in their backyard.
History of the Concord Grapes
To give you a little history on this grape variety, it was Ephraim Bull who first began growing Concord grapes back in 1849 in Concord, Massachusetts. He had planted and evaluated thousands of vitis labrusca seedlings, until he found what he thought of as the perfect grape.
Up to now, it is said that the original vine continues to grow in his former home. 1854 marks the date it was first introduced to the market and it was in 1869 when Dr. Thomas Welch concocted the first Concord grape juice. Until now, Welch continues to use Concord grapes for making juice.
Typically, these grapes are used in making grape jelly, grape juice and even grape flavored soft drinks. They are occasionally used as table grapes, but because of their large seeds, they are not as popular as the seedless varieties in this aspect.
They are also used to produce wine, traditionally producing wine with a sweet finish. Dry wine can also be made from Concord grapes if they are ripened adequately.
Growing Muscadine Grapes
Not all grapes could be eaten fresh after being picked out of a grapevine, just as not all grapes could be used to make wines and grape foodstuffs like jelly and juice.
Some types of grapes are flexible enough to be eaten raw and be used to produce wine and other grape products though; one of which is the muscadine grape. It is no wonder then why many growers are looking into growing muscadine grapes.
Unlike most grape varieties, muscadines serve multiple functions. Also known as the southern fox grape, scuppernong, or bullace, muscadine grapes naturally thrive in the southeastern coasts of the United States.
They are found in the lush forests of Delaware down to the Mexican gulf. From there, its natural habitat extends westward into Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas.
Muscadine grapes flourish in these areas mainly because these places have warm and humid climates.
European and American grapes, on the contrary, could not stand the warm temperatures of southeast U.S. which is why muscadines are mass-produced commercially in these parts.
In the wild, growing muscadine grapes have vines that could stretch out to lengths of 60 to 100 feet.
And unlike European and American grape breeds which are capable of producing large and tight bunches, muscadine grapes are only able to produce three to forty small grapes in a loose cluster.
With over 300 muscadine cultivars existing these days, its fruits could come in a wide array of shades ranging from bronze and greenish bronze, to pinkish red, to purple, and to near-black.
Up to 25 percent of each fruit could contain sugar but modern cultivars have a sweeter taste than older ones that are characteristically musky in flavor. If you live in southeast U.S., growing muscadine grapes is a good idea since muscadines thrive in your region by nature.
They could also be grown in California and adjacent states such as Oregon and Washington. But if you live somewhere else other than these places, it isn’t advisable to grow them especially if the temperature in your region frequently drops below 10°F.
Muscadines have low tolerance to winter. If grown in cold areas, the muscadine grapes would most likely be smaller than usual and would lack in sweetness as well. One way of growing muscadine grapes is to grow them out of seeds.
First, select a bunch of muscadine grapes that are already ripe and get the seeds out of each grape. Muscadine grape seeds could count up to five in each fruit and are characteristically hard and oblong in shape.
Make sure that you remove any attached pulp to the seeds. Then, rinse them in lukewarm water before laying them on a paper plate. Allow them to dry on the paper plate for a full 24 hours and make sure no one touches them.
After allowing the seeds to dry, place them in a sealable sandwich plastic that’s half-filled with peat moss. Seal it and place it in the refrigerator for three months.
When the three months are over, place two to three seeds in each 4-inch pot that’s three-fourths filled with sterile potting soil. The seeds should be pushed a quarter of an inch down the soil of each pot.
Next, using lukewarm water, mist the soil and set the pots on a tray. The tray must be placed in an area where there’s bright and indirect sunlight.
If possible, maintain a 75°F temperature and moist soil throughout two to three weeks under this setting. After this, the seedlings of the growing muscadine grapes could be transferred to 6-inch pots and could be left outdoors to grow for a full year.
Once the seedlings are ready, they could be planted in large holes. Their leaves should be kept well-above the soil during planting and the holes should be spaced 20 feet apart.
Moisten the soil throughout the year especially during drought and support them by setting up trellises that will allow growing muscadine grapes to develop upward.
As soon as the muscadine grapes ripen, you can pick them out for eating or for making wine, grape juice, or grape jelly as you wish. You can even grow a whole farm and sell the grapes if you want to.
All right folks, I think I’m done for now. My fingers are tired from typing this tremendous wall of text concerning how to grow grapes in your backyard, in your home garden, in containers, from cuttings, from seeds, and heck, I was even gabbing about hydroponics at one point.
If I keep going, I’m afraid I might start typing outlandish stuff like how to grow grapes at home next to your computer desk, because I’ve been sitting at my desk for the last couple hours or so.
My laptop isn’t working; otherwise, I would’ve type this up in a Wi-Fi café near my place which is situated next to a pleasant looking park.
If you made it all the way here, then you must be either super interested in grape cultivation methods, or you have nothing better to do with your time.
Just kidding! I honestly hope you find the info on this page useful. I might update this page from time to time. Good luck folks, and if you want to substantially increase your luck in cultivating grapes at home, do check out the extremely helpful, step-by-step grape growing system I mentioned earlier.
The guide is written in lay terms so anyone can use it. And it provides you with valuable grape growing videos that will aid you in growing your own backyard grapes or vineyard.
Again, it’s a downloadable guide and if you want to know more, you can go ahead and use the link below.
See James’s grape growing system here
Latest Update: Growing Hybrid Grapes and Using Them to Make Wine
Apparently, many folks these days love to grow hybrid grapes. The reason for this is because the growers discovered that the wines produced by hybrid grapes taste utterly exquisite.
Some say they are capable of giving the highly renowned European grape varieties of Vitis vinifera a run for their money. But to make great wines from hybrid grapes means that winemakers have to vary their techniques to match the varieties they are working with.
Hybrid grape varieties are a blend of Native American grape species and V. vinifera varieties from Europe. The American species found in these hybrid grapes make them more disease resistant and winter hardy.
Unfortunately, they also tend to be higher in acid and less balanced and this presents some difficulty when making wine. This doesn’t mean that great wines can’t be made though, it just means that they are a different beast from what most winemakers are accustomed to.
They’re just different and have to be manipulated to produce wine that is acceptable. Modifications in your winemaking methods are necessary to take advantage of the hybrid grape’s characteristics.
Making Red Wine from Hybrid Grapes
Most red hybrid grape varieties tend to be more highly colored and have higher acid content than their V. vinifera counterparts.
Sugar, measured in Brix, varies among the various varieties and is often dependent upon the genetic makeup and what American species are found in their parentage.
Varieties with V. labrusca tend to have lower sugar at maturity than V. vinifera varieties while varieties with V. riparia and V. rupestris often will reach sugar contents well into the 20 Brix readings.
Acid levels can often be as high as 9-14 g/l. This is what becomes a challenge to the winemaker when making wine from these hybrids.
The fruit from many of the hybrid varieties tends to be more like their American parents—small clusters and small berries. This means that the berries often have a high skin to pulp ratio and many varieties have colored juice.
Subsequent wines have intense color, especially when compared to traditional wines made from V. vinifera varieties. Most hybrid grape varieties need only 2-5 days on the skins during the primary fermentation to product good color.
The cap should be “punched” two to three times a day to achieve this. Extending the time of contact with the skins will result in deeply intense color, but has the drawback of increasing herbaceous off flavors and other flavor compounds that are seen as unacceptable in the finished wine.
If you do get herbaceous flavors, you will need to age the wine 3-4 years to tame them. Dealing with the high levels of acids found with hybrid grapes presents the greatest challenge.
There are various means of manipulating the winemaking process to overcome this problem. The first is to ameliorate the must with water before fermentation.
Amelioration can result in a lighter bodied wine with less fruit characteristics. This also results in a flatter taste.
Some winemakers stop the fermentation before it reaches dryness or sweeten the finished wine. The residual sugar adds body and mouthfeel to the wine.
It also enhances the perception of fruit and reduces the perception of acid in the finished wine. Since most hybrid grape varieties are low in tannins, this gives palate balance to the wine.
A more traditional method for dealing with the high acidity of hybrid grapes is to encourage malolactic fermentation with a malolactic bacterial culture to reduce the acidity. This is added when the primary fermentation is nearing completion but not quite finished.
The fermenter should be kept close to 70F or slightly more to encourage the bacteria to grow and do their thing. A longer retention time of the wine on the lees will also encourage malolactic fermentation.
Deacidification with potassium bicarbonate is another method for reducing the high acids in hybrid grape wine. This can be done prior to fermentation or after completion.
Calcium carbonate is not recommended for this as it can create off flavors and are often considered unpleasant in the resulting wine. Potassium bicarbonate should be added in increments to prevent excessive deacidification or production of off flavors.
I suggest an initial deacidification prior to fermentation, then testing the acidity after malolactic fermentation and deacidification if the acid is still too high.
Cold stabilization at temperatures cooler than 40F but higher than freezing for a couple of weeks to a month is recommended for all red wines made from hybrid grapes.
This will precipitate out the “cream of tartar” from the wine and further reduce the acidity. The acidity should be checked again after cold stabilization and if too high, another addition of potassium bicarbonate should be added.
Red wines made from hybrid grape varieties can be oaked to give them more tannins. Most hybrid grapes are low in tannins and this will aid them as well as give the wine flavor.
One tip to making a good hybrid grape wine is that the best wines come from blending varieties to give balance and make up for the deficiencies of the various pure varietal wines.
Blending can be done with finished wines. Blend small amounts to get the ratio of the blend before blending bulk amounts. Once you find good blends, you can blend varieties prior to fermentation in the future.
Making Rose Wines from Hybrid Grapes
Because of the intense color that red varieties of hybrid grapes have, grapes should be immediately pressed after crushing to make a rose wine. You may even have to add some white varieties to attain the rose color you’re looking for.
All the above methods for reducing acidity should be followed to produce a balanced rose from hybrid grape varieties. Acidity is always the devil when it comes to making hybrid grape rose wines.
Making White Wines from Hybrid Grapes
White wine varieties should be crushed and pressed immediately and fermentation begun after adjusting the acidity. Many white varieties need to be harvested at a low sugar level to limit off (labrusca) flavors. Therefore they will be high in acidity.
Sugar may need to be added to bring the Brix readings up to where you want them. In very fruity varieties, amelioration with sugar water will aid with both the sugar content and relive some of the acid problem. But be careful if you do this as it may make for a flat tasting wine.
Otherwise, all the above methods for reducing acidity should be followed. Malolactic fermentation should be experimented with as you will find that in some wines it produces a beneficial softness to the wine but is objectionable in other white hybrid wines.
With the right manipulation of your winemaking parameters, you will make fine wines from your hybrid grapes that are comparable to the wines of Europe and California.
In fact, many wines from hybrid grape varieties have won awards over their V. vinifera parents. It just takes making your wines with the right adjustments and finesse.