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Where Wine Makers and Grape Growers Share Their Knowledge

 

Some items you will need that I strongly recommend when starting your own vineyard: 
My work is being journalized chronologically to assist in showing  the time frame from planting the grapes to the first harvest at least one year later.   This chronology is to show you everything I went through to get my first home grown batch of wine.

bulletBook - From Vines to Wines
bulletRoom for the number of vines you plan on planting
bulletPoles for you trellises
bulletwire for your trellises
bulletPruners - I recommend a higher quality over the cheap plastic ones
bulletVines suitable to your growing area or region
bulletTraining poles - I use fiberglass four foot electric fence rods
bulletBlue-X Grow Tubes
bullet"Seven - 10" Herbicide to kill bugs
bullet"Roundup" grass and weed killer
bulletString for straight rows
October 15, 2002
After I removed the grow tubes (to much confusion), the vines immediately all shriveled up from the first frost.   I was told by the grow tube people to leave them on, but was told differently by the people who sold the tubes to me.   I heard from another manufacturer to remove them to let the vines harden, and that's what I did.   Here are some photos of the vines just days after removing the grow tubes and the first frost. 

 

September 20, 2002
We finally got 1.25 inches of rain yesterday!!   Much needed, but too late for corn or soybeans.   The grape vines are coming along quite well.   I hope to be puting in a trellis system in the next two weeks or so.   I will probably have a separate page on that alone. 

September 13, 2002
Things are really looking good with the vines.   I'm about to make a trip to another vineyard to pick grapes for this year's wine.   All in all, I can hardly wait to be picking grapes from my own vines.   They are really coming along well.   I spoke with Ron Motz, the inventor of the Blue X tubes, and he suggested that I leave the Blue X grow tubes on all winter.  He definitely has  a great product, and he took the time to assist me with other questions I had as well.

 

September 1, 2002
Well, the two "spare" vines have not started to grow, and I really didn't expect them to.  That's ok, because they still may come around next spring.   Well, the latest update is that the deer are starting to eat the three vines on the far end.   I'm looking for good ideas, besides fencing the area off, to keep them away.   For now, I sprinkled the "Seven" dust on them, hoping the smell will deter them.   Also, I am greatly surprised to see how much the vines like clinging to the fiberglass rods.   Here's the pics.....

 

August 11, 2002
I ended up taking two remaining Concord vines still living in a bucket of water and planted them on the ends of the rows.   If they make it, great!  If not, that's ok.   I can also use them to replace any that may not make it through the winter.   They should be ok though.   We did get a half inch of rain last night though.   I took some grass and placed it on the dirt around the vines in order to keep the moisture in and keep the ground shaded, hoping that the sun doesn't dry the ground out.   It was drizzly and overcast.   It felt great to be out there.  So peaceful and relaxing.  It's hard to believe that it will be a couple of years before I can drink the wine from these vines, but that's ok.  Great things take time.   The pic on the left shows the vines clinging to the fiberglass poles.  Click to enlarge..

 

July 30, 2002
On a routine grass mowing out at our farm, I saw a lot of growth with about 25% of the vines growing out of the tops quite well.   Here's some pics from today:   (click on them for bigger viewing)

 

July 24, 2002
Well, a couple of weeds came back up where I sprayed a couple of weeks ago, so I got out the RoundUp again and gave them a good spraying, making sure not to get any on the vine leaves.   

July 18, 2002 
I visited the vines to freshen them up with Seven 10 and just check out their progress.  Five plants have already began growing out of the 30" Blue-X grow tubes by a couple of inches.   Some have even already began clinging or wrapping their vines around the fiberglass poles at the top.    It appears that the Japanese beetles have left or died off as well.     Later in the day, we finally received 1/2 inch of rain.   We could really use 1/2 inch for several days straight actually.

July 10, 2002
Well, it appears that the Japanese beetles and Alfalfa worms are taking a liking to the leaves of my vines.   I headed to the local hardware store and bought some powder Herbicide.  I had two of the brand "Seven" to choose from.   There was "Seven 5" and "Seven 10".   I chose "Seven 10" since it is more concentrated and has a higher killing power.   You can see the full leaves on the picture on the top compared to the picture below which has had severe Japanese beetle damage.

bulletI sprinkled "Seven 10" on the leaves of the vines in the tubes to kill the bugs.

 

 

June 21, 2002
Everything seems to be coming along nicely now.  I have been watering the vines once a week now.   I was carrying a 5 gallon bucket to a nearby ditch, however; that ditch dried up and I had to bring our local small town fire truck out there to "test run" the pump on back.    I have decided to spray roundup on the grass between the plants so I don't have to trim or drive in and out, in and out, in and out, around the vine stakes.   The grow tubes greatly helped in this by protecting the vines.

bulletSpray Roundup on grass between vines

 

June 19, 2002
After just one week, it was amazing to see the difference in growth from the vines which had the Blue-X grow tubes compared to the ones who didn't.   

bulletI ordered another 20 for the remaining 12 vines and a couple of trees I have around the house and on the farm.

June 8, 2002
My Blue-X grow tubes arrived from Double A Vineyards in NY.   I ordered 20 just to try them out. 

bulletroll up the blue plastic sheet and put sleeve over it
bulletPlace vertical pole (fiberglass) between sleeve and plastic sheet so you don't have to tie the grow tube to the pole.

May 28, 2002
Even though it was late in the year, and vines should be planted around February-April, my vines had arrived and were in the basement waiting for me to give them a new life.  I had the spot ready by having everything mowed.   That's about it.   That night, my friend Dale Brandt and I planted my 10 Catawba and 22 Concord grape vines.   It was light when we started, but by the time we ended, we were using the headlights off my lawn mower to see the holes we dug.   I have two rows.  Each row has 16 plants spaced apart 8 feet.   The two rows are spaced apart 12 feet to allow plenty of  mowing room and room to drive my truck or mower pulling my little trailer behind with my tools on.    If you were planting a full acre, this would come to roughly 454 vines per acre.

bulletSoak the vines for at least 24 hrs in a bucket of water
bulletMake your straight line using your string and two nails.   We spaced ours out roughly 130' to ensure a straight long row.
bulletDig holes between 15 and 24 inches deep and about 24 inches wide every 8 feet to provide ample horizontal space for the roots to be fanned out.
bulletTrim vines back to fit in hole and place in holes.   Be sure not to have roots overlapping or tangling each other.
bulletFirmly pack dirt around roots
bulletPrune everything back above the soil to just 3 shoots.   The poor little vine will look like a stub when you're done.   It's ok, just give it a week.

This is just how I did my vineyard.   You can do your vineyard any way you wish.   I am just offering this information to anyone who is interested in vines and wines.

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Trellising
I am currently unsure how I am going to do my trellis system.  I'd like to use a Geneva Double Curtain system, but am looking for suggestions. The project has started, but will be finished in the spring.

How Much?
It is estimated that 10 mature vines will produce between 15 and 22 gallons of wine.

Grow tubes
Grow tubes create a microclimate which keeps the the wind from blowing away the CO2 which plants thrive on.    Certain manufacturers such as Blue-X claim that their blue grow tubes also promote growth by letting in and amplifying the amount of helpful sunlight by breaking up the light spectrum.   Blue X grow tubes claim to have 150% increase in growth over plants without the grow tubes in the first year alone.  They also keep varmints such as deer and rabbits from eating the vines.

 


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