Planting grapes for wine is a slightly different process than that used for table grapes. From the species selection to the location, each subtlety affects the final wine product; and though many may find it hard to believe, proper fermentation begins with proper planting. Those who take care to understand how wine grapes respond to different conditions will do better in the long run and have a more satisfying experience.
Planting Wine Grapes
Choose a proper grape variety, also known as a cultivar: This is not as simple as it may seem, as the type of wine you prefer and your growing location must be taken into account. Some wine grapes are cold resistant, whereas others will die over the winter in a colder location.
Choose a south-facing slope: Grapes, especially wine grapes, are commonly seen planted on hills for a reason. They need well-drained soil. The south side of a slope provides as much sun as possible, helping the grapes to develop the sugars later needed in the fermentation process.
Determine the spacing: Within the row, American grapes should be spaced 7 to 8 feet apart, while European varieties can be a little closer, at 6 to 7 feet apart. Leave 6 to 12 feet between rows.
Start in the spring: As soon as the frost is out of the ground is the best time to plant grapes, as this gives them the time they need to establish themselves for a growing season.
Dig a hole wide enough to accommodate the root system: This helps to ensure the roots are comfortable in the new location. Also do not plant the trunks any deeper than they were at the nursery.
Select the strongest shoot after planting, and weave it around a vertical line coming down from the main horizontal line after planting: This will generally not need to be done immediately and may take as long as year before it is needed.