Growing grape vines can be a rewarding task, whether you are doing it to beautify your landscape or to produce wine. Grape vines begin to produce fruit when they are about one year old. It is important to prune grape vines in order to encourage new growth and prevent disease.
Do not prune the grape vine during its first year. Allow the vine to grow however it pleases, so you can understand which way it makes itself most sturdy. With the abundant stems, vines and leaves, it will establish a strong, healthy system.
Pick out the strongest and most healthy stem in the first year's winter. This will be established as the "trunk" of the grape vine. Use the pruning shears to remove all the other upward-growing stems at the base of the plant. When you have finished pruning, you be left with only the main trunk. Stake this trunk with a grape stake to keep it sturdy.
During the second year's spring season, remove all the side stems and vines that grow from the trunk, except for the two strongest ones. If it isn't branching out much, pinch the top of the grape vine to encourage side growth.
Use the pruning shears during summer of the second year to cut off the top of the grape vine trunk. This will help encourage new growth along the trunk.
Use the shears to trim off any side branches that appear weak, broken or not strong. Weeding out these weaker stems will make the stronger stems even more strong. After pruning this time, you should have the main trunk, with two sets of side branches on either side.
Remove new main trunk growth during the third spring and summer. This helps to preserve the basic framework of the grape vine.
Prune the grape vine during the third winter, but leave 12 buds along each of the arms. This is very important to do to ensure grape production, as these buds will be producing the grapes during the following summer.
Prune the grape vine every year forward during the winter. You want to make sure that each of the 12 renewal buds always has one more bud growing from the tip, which will allow the fruit to develop during the summer.