Grapes are known for being vigorous growers, sending out vines that can grow more than 6 feet in a season. The roots will grow as vigorously underground, making transplanting them a challenge.
You have to decide what to do with the vines, when to move them, where to move them and how to handle the root system. When the time comes for moving your grapevine, there are a few things you will want to do to keep the plant alive.
If you are growing a new plant that has been grown from a seed or a cutting, it might be as simple as removing the container from the root ball. An older vine will need to be pruned back.
Dig down in the soil and trim off the roots at 6 to 12 inches from the soil line. Above ground, trim back the vine as much as possible, keeping the main stem intact, but removing most of the new growth to just 2 or 3 buds. Keep the roots moist after removing the plant from the ground.
Get the site ready by digging a hole as deep as your roots are long and wider by a foot on either side. Work the soil that you plan to put back into the hole by adding perlite and sand to hard soil, or peat moss and compost to sandy soil.
Make sure the site has good drainage and gets full sun. If you plan on using a stake to hold the vine in place, it is easiest to put it in place now, by sinking it down into the hole about 8 to12 inches and keeping it off to the side of the hole so there is still room for the plant.
Set the vine into the hole. In plants where the roots are in soil, loosen the soil a little to make sure the roots are not crowded. Bare-roots plants should have their roots spread out at the bottom of the hole. Hold the plant so that it sits straight in the hole and centered.
Add the soil to cover the roots, tamping it down as you go, carefully with the young roots, so that any air pockets are removed. Once the hole is filled to within three inches of the top, pour in a couple of gallons of water. This will settle the soil around the roots. Let the water drain and then fill the rest of the hole with soil, firming the soil as you go.
Water the grapevine in its new location whenever the soil gets dry. Grapes do not like to sit in water, so there is no need to add more water if the soil is holding it. Do not add any fertilizer the first year.
Transplanting should be done while the plant is dormant, but can be done during the growing season, as long as the vine has enough time to establish itself before the cold weather hits. Tie it to the stake or trellis for support.