Grape Planting Guidelines
If the most important part of making good wine is in the grape planting and development of those plants then that is where we should concentrate a lot of our effort and time.
We have all heard the phrase, “location, location, location” and it is as true for grapes as it is for any business. Grape planting is important in the over health of the vine. If you plant it where it will get some great sunlight, then the process of photosynthesis can happen. If that happens then the grapes will be full of sweetness and thus become alcohol after fermenting, which is our goal. It might seem silly but it is important that both sides of your vine get equal amounts of sun. You should make sure that there is good drainage systems for grapes do not like to sit in water.
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. For grape planting it is also important to know the soil. If it is so poor in nutrients that weeds will not grow, then that is not a good place for them or at the most you should add compost and work on the soil before the grape planting happens.
This is going to be your garden of grapes for a long time to come, so make sure you do your grape planting with care. You should space your fines out about six feet so they have room to grow, if the vineyard is to have a large crop you will want your rows to be eight feet wide. Each of the grapevine plants will give you about one gallon of wine. This will give you an idea of how many plants you will want and make sure to take into consideration the attrition from pests and such. After your grape planting is done, now is the time to put up the trellis. You should dig a bigger hole than needed for the vines so that the soil can be loosened for better drainage.
When the plant is new and just growing you should use a piece of string to tie the strongest shoot to the trellis. This is better for it than wire as wire can cause damage. You should cut off any other shoots that are growing from the roots. It is during the dormant season that you prune your vines. When the spring comes and the new buds grow you can take the strongest ones and tie them to the trellis to form the arms of the vine. This is where all the grapes will be growing from.
Harvest time is the time you will need to go to your local wine making store and purchase a good hydrometer. The hydrometer will measure the specific gravity of liquids. This will tell you the sugar content of the grapes. The most ideal gravity is between 1.095 and 1.105, the latter being the better one. This is what tells you it is time to harvest your grapes.
Grape planting and growing is a long process that will take years. All your hard work and patience will pay off though when you find you have a healthy crop ready to harvest.