Grapes will grow on almost any support. They can be found in fields growing wild along rock walls, or even growing up barn walls with the most rudimentary support systems. There are better support systems for the vines, however, that will allow the grapes to grow to their full potential. These supports can be purchased or created to suit your needs.
If you plan to grow a minimal number of grapevines, an arbor will support the vines well. The grapes will grow up and over the top of the arbor, and the whole effect makes an inviting entrance into a family garden space. A large, strong arbor that stands 7 feet tall or more will work the best. The grapevines will grow to 10 feet or more, but pruning will keep them manageable for the arbor. Grapes will grow up the arbor over time.
Other Trellis Options
Grapevines will also grow well along an inexpensive wire fence. The fence should stand 5 feet tall, at least; thick wire works best. Another option is to frame pieces of lattice about 5 feet tall and at least a few feet wide. This forms an attractive wall for the grapevines to grow up, and will provide much needed support for the grapes.
Setting up Supports
Because grapevines live for generations, the structure you choose must provide strong support for the vines over time. Dig holes about a foot deep for each of the legs. Fill the holes with cement to secure the structure. Once the cement is dry, the are is covered with dirt.
Plant the grapevines to the sides of the arbor, or in front of another support system. Grape Growing Secrets recommends planting bare root, dormant vines in the early spring, slightly bigger than the root system. Another option would be to place bottomless planters where the vines will be planted. Fill the planters with compost mixed with the dirt from the area, then plant the vines close to the support.
Train the vines by hand, weaving them in and out of the spaces in an arbor or lattice wall and secure them with string. Eventually, they will start to climb the trellis on their own. On a wire fence, train the vines straight up the vertical wires; train the offshoots along the horizontal wires. As the vines get longer, wrap them around the wires using your fingers and tie them in place with string. The vines will eventually start to wrap themselves around their support system.