Vining plants that can live and bear fruit for decades, grapes must be grown upon a trellis or other sturdy support structure. In its most basic form, a grape trellis is made of sturdy end posts, 8 feet long, sunk approximately 3 feet underground. Upright posts 7 feet long are sunk 2 feet underground and placed approximately every 3 feet along the row. Cross members of sturdy wire are generally used, but these cross members can be constructed out of other materials, as well.
Round-Poled Cross Members
Rounded poles, similar to a telephone pole but much smaller in diameter, are used as the cross members in this version of a grape trellis. They are installed and secured through cuts made in the uprights. The bottom round-poled cross member is approximately 3 feet above ground level and the top one is installed 3 feet above the bottom one, close to the top of the uprights.
Split-Rail Cross Members
A split-rail grape trellis is constructed similar to a split-rail fence, but the uprights are more securely installed into the ground. The horizontal rails are secured into corresponding cuts in the upright supports at 3 and 6 feet above ground level. This type of grape trellis has a rustic appearance that is ideal for a country house or a suburban ranch-type house.
To grow a grape vine with a minimum amount of pruning, construct a trellis using chain-link fencing in lieu of wooded upright posts and cross members. An ideal height of fencing is 6 feet, although a 5-foot high chain-link fence will work as well. Because the vines and tendrils twine around and through the chain-links, pruning is difficult and can be left undone for a full, lush look. This method is best used to create a border fence or to screen an unsightly view, rather than to maximize grape production.