How to Grow Your Own Wine Grapes

Overview

If you want to grow your own grapes and make your own wine, you must first select the right grape vines to plant. You should base your decision first upon what varieties of grape vines grow well in your climate and region, and secondly upon what kind of wine you want to make, mainly red or white wine. Your planting site is also a huge factor in growing grapes that will produce great-tasting wine. You should select a site that has full sunlight exposure, as well as slightly nutrient-poor but well-draining soil, preferably on a slope. The fairly nutrient-poor soil will ensure smaller grapes, which are best for wine making because the flavor will come from the grape skins and not the pulp or juice.

Prepare the Trellis

Step 1

Erect a trellis for each row of grape vines. Dig 2-foot deep holes for your posts into the ground where you plan to plant your grape vines, spaced 6 to 8 feet apart.

Step 2

Insert PVC or wood posts about 2 feet into the ground, so that each post stands about 6 feet above the soil surface.

Step 3

Run a galvanized steel wire along the row of posts about 3 inches from the ground and staple the wire to secure it to each post. Secure a second wire along the middle of the posts, about 3 feet from the ground, and then run a third wire in the same way along the tops of the posts.

Planting & Growing Your Wine Grapes

Step 1

Plant your grape vines in the spring, when all chance of frost has passed. Next to each post, dig a planting hole that is about three times the size of the grape vine's root ball.

Step 2

Loosen the soil in the planting hole to ensure good drainage. Set each grape vine's root ball into its planting hole and refill the hole with soil, packing it down gently.

Step 3

Tie the strongest shoot on each grape vine to the trellis with a length of soft string. Prune away all the other shoots that are growing from the roots, but don't remove any side shoots growing from the selected strong vertical shoot.

Step 4

Select the strongest two lateral shoots on each side of the grape vine in the early spring of the second year, when the buds begin to emerge. Tie these four lateral "arms" to the trellis wire using the soft string to train them as they grow. Prune away any other side shoots.

Step 5

Water your grape vines during the growing season only during dry spells or times of drought. Wait until the third year to begin using the harvested grapes for wine making. Process the grapes to make wine immediately after harvesting them.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't tie your grape vines to the trellis using wires, because the wire can cut into and damage the vines.

Things You'll Need

  • Post-hole digger (auger)
  • PVC pipes or wood posts, 8-feet long
  • Galvanized steel wire
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Shovel
  • Grape vine plants
  • Soft string
  • Hydrometer (optional)

References

  • Mother Earth News: Growing Grapes and Making Wine
  • Grape Growing Tips for Wine Making: Grape Planting

Who Can Help

  • Grow Grapes and Make Wine
Keywords: grow wine grapes, plant grape vines, make homegrown wine

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.