How to Winterize Grape Plants


Be ready for next year's grape harvest by winterizing your grape plants. This two-step process requires you to harden the vines and bury them. Hardening the vines gets them ready for winter dormancy. Take a hint from animals which bury their food stores during the winter. Piling dirt or straw over your grape vines will insulate them from the coldest of weather and protect them until the spring thaw.

Step 1

Decrease the amount of water you provide your grape plants by 50 to 75 percent of the amount you irrigated them before harvest. Consult with an expert to determine the exact amount to decrease watering, which depends on the variety of grape grown. Continue to water at this reduced amount from just after harvest until the first frost.

Step 2

Stop watering for four weeks following the first freeze of the winter.

Step 3

Untie the grape vines from the trellis and bend them flat to the ground.

Step 4

Cover the grape vines with 1 to 2 feet of dirt, straw or mulch depending on the harshness of your local winter season. Use more covering for colder, longer freezes.

Step 5

Wait until after the last frost before uncovering your grape plants for the new growing season.

Things You'll Need

  • Dirt, straw or mulch


  • University of Saskatchewan: Grapes
  • British Colombia Ministry of Agriculture: Grapes in Your Garden
  • Texas Wine Trails: Getting the Vineyard Ready for Winter
Keywords: winterize, grapevines, vine

About this Author

Athena Hessong began her freelance writing career in 2004. She draws upon experiences and knowledge gained from teaching all high school subjects for seven years. Hessong earned a Bachelor's in Arts in history from the University of Houston and is a current member of the Society of Professional Journalists.